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Retiring with young kids?
Old 01-21-2011, 03:30 PM   #1
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Retiring with young kids?

Originally, my target is to RE at 55. After playing with FIRECalc and other tools, I should have options as early as 47-48, if Im lucky and a few stars align. This is only 5-6 years away. Sweet!

At 48, my kids will be 11 and 10, so still very young. I probably wont take full retirement, but semi-ER will be a strong possibility. Since I wont have retiree health benefits or large pension in the future, I will probably look for a fun career.

Im worried that my kids will think Im lazy friends parents work all day/overtime vs. me working a few hours a day or few days a week/month. I actually get ribbed now on the 40 hour work week vs. some friends that have to travel and work long hours. Given, well have conversations about education, working hard, planning/budgeting/investing, and money.

Looking for advice on how to avoid this pitfall?

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Old 01-21-2011, 03:45 PM   #2
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I'm in a similar situation. Certainly don't want to set a bad example for the kids. Mine will be between 14 and 8 when I can retire from the Navy. I'll probably work some after that, maybe part-time, but I'd like to keep that to 3 years or less. Hopefully the 9/11 GI bill is still funded when my kids get to be college age.
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Old 01-21-2011, 03:46 PM   #3
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I am planning on doing something similar. I have to say that I am not particularly concerned about how my work schedule will appear to my kids. Your kids will be happy to have you around and they will adjust.
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Old 01-21-2011, 03:52 PM   #4
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Congrats Hawkeye and Brewer on your path to ER.

I fully agree with you now as I'm a telecommute and have breakfast and most lunches with them during the day. They also see me in the home office most of the day too. But when I retire, I rather be doing something else which could be viewed as fun or non-work.

Assumption.... as teenagers, they might only want me around when they need an allowance but I really hope they are happy to have me around. They are a joy now so I hope it continues.


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I am planning on doing something similar. I have to say that I am not particularly concerned about how my work schedule will appear to my kids. Your kids will be happy to have you around and they will adjust.
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Old 01-21-2011, 04:24 PM   #5
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Retired last summer at 43 with a 12 and 14 year old. It isn't really retirement with kids. They have schedules and they tie you down. Beats working and raising kids though.

As for appearing lazy, I tell my boys that I earned my ER and if they play it smart and work hard, they could ER too someday. I think it sets an example. Your concern is contradictory. On one hand you obviously take ER seriously and think it's a good thing, but then you are concerned about how you kids will view it. If you talk with them, they should understand that that you work hard, save, etc. and you get a reward. You're teaching them that work is important, but so is retiring and following your dreams. That's a good thing.
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Old 01-21-2011, 04:48 PM   #6
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Congrats FlyFish on your ER.

Perhaps it's a contradiction. I already hear it as my wife sometimes communicate to her family that I work hard and LBOM, but the perception from them is that "It must be nice to blah blah blah..." Sometimes, I agree and say, it is nice. Sometime my wife bails them out when they need their kids picked up from daycare since she's a SAHM. I monitor this so it doesn't get out of hand. It happens once every month or two.

Sometimes during the weekend I go work on our rental property during my daughter's Saturday/Sunday nap, my 4 year old asks me if I'm going to the "dirty house"? I tuck her in and give her a kiss. This is because I have a set of clothes with paint, etc that I use.

I'm sure they will understand as I'll be reinforcing FIRE was earned, not given. Thanks for your input.

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Retired last summer at 43 with a 12 and 14 year old. It isn't really retirement with kids. They have schedules and they tie you down. Beats working and raising kids though.

As for appearing lazy, I tell my boys that I earned my ER and if they play it smart and work hard, they could ER too someday. I think it sets an example. Your concern is contradictory. On one hand you obviously take ER seriously and think it's a good thing, but then you are concerned about how you kids will view it. If you talk with them, they should understand that that you work hard, save, etc. and you get a reward. You're teaching them that work is important, but so is retiring and following your dreams. That's a good thing.
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Old 01-21-2011, 04:53 PM   #7
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As for appearing lazy, I tell my boys that I earned my ER and if they play it smart and work hard, they could ER too someday. I think it sets an example.
+1

I think this is the way to go. Explain how the finances work. That way the kids will see FI/RE as a possibility as well. I think too many parents keep their financial situation hidden from their kids who consequentially only see what their parents do and make their own assumptions when it comes to filling in the missing information.
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Old 01-21-2011, 05:15 PM   #8
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I'm still trying to figure out what pitfall the OP was writing about.
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Old 01-21-2011, 05:17 PM   #9
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Looking like a lazy guy in ER to my young kids.... sending the wrong message while other parents work all day. Don't get me wrong, I"ll RE when the time is right for me.

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I'm still trying to figure out what pitfall the OP was writing about.
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Old 01-21-2011, 05:22 PM   #10
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I'd be more worried about my kids tying me down.
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Old 01-21-2011, 05:24 PM   #11
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Semi ER'd for 3 years now with a 13 yr old. Went from running a small VC backed semiconductor inspection tool company (sold it to a foreign public company) to teaching kiteboarding part time. Also went from 60 hr work weeks with 50% travel to 300 hr work years. DW went half time but in the same engineering field.

I'd say the overwhelming factor in all of this is parenting, and that doesn't change just because you are working less or not at all. If anything we have more time for the parenting job. The last 3 years have taught me just how much of a job it is (I am in awe of all working mothers out there!). Plus DD was at least partly aware of how hard we worked/saved to get to this point. I say "partly" since I think most kids at that age still lack a serious respect for saving and LBYM. She also has friends at both extremes of the economic spectrum to provide some perspective as well

[Side bar: She told me she could never explain the hi-tech biz I had to her friends but has absolutely no problem telling them about my current job. Go figure]
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Old 01-21-2011, 06:52 PM   #12
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Your kids will be happy to have you around and they will adjust.
+1

If I had been able to afford it, I would have gladly retired with a young family. It would have been wonderful to have had the time. I would have anticipated no issues with anyone thinking I'm not working because I'm just lazy. Unfortunately I didn't make FIRE until I was 58 and we were already empty nesters. But we're trying to make up for it now with lots of quality time with the grandkids, which the kids seem to appreciate!
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Old 01-21-2011, 07:42 PM   #13
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When my kids were younger, I would take them to school. Now that they are older, I don't even wake up before they are gone. I get home about the same time as my youngest does from school.

The other parents are too busy to be youth sport coaches, so I'm always the coach. My kids actually beg me to coach their teams. You can be the scoutmaster. You should be able to find plenty of things to do, so that your kids do not think you are lazy. You might take up participating in triathlons which requires training.

You can help with all the local science fairs by being a mentor and/or a judge. You can volunteer to give lectures at school. Our schools need parents for all kinds of things.

Of course, if you are lazy, then you deserve the impression you give your kids.
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Old 01-21-2011, 10:20 PM   #14
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DH retired last summer at 62. I semi-retired, working 1 or 2 days a week. We had 2 kids in the house, 14 and 16. So far it has gone well. I think it has been a lot of change for them but we definitely have more time to do thinks with them.

Our son is in community college (living at home due to being 16) and being around more has brought us closer together without a doubt.

The change for our daughter is even greater. A few months ago we started homeschooling her which has done wonders for her academic progress and has brought us all closer together.
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Old 01-21-2011, 10:33 PM   #15
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[QUOTE=flyfishnevada;1027094]Retired last summer at 43 with a 12 and 14 year old. It isn't really retirement with kids. They have schedules and they tie you down. Beats working and raising kids though.

+2 I also ESRd at 43 three years ago and they do definitely control your schedule when school is in session. We look forward to all their breaks so we can travel.

The very part time work has also made the impression of being lazy a non issue. The kids do think we play with their toys when they are in school but I am not telling.
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Old 01-22-2011, 08:02 AM   #16
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Of course, if you are lazy, then you deserve the impression you give your kids.
I'm human and I have my moments or days, but that's generally due to recovering from exhaustion of long work days & family activities.

Just prior to our Thanksgiving vacation, between regular j*b and rental property, I was working from 5am - midnight for 2 weeks straight, only taking breaks to have breakfast & dinner with the family and story time/tucking them in for the night.
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Thanks for everyone's feedback.
Old 01-22-2011, 08:13 AM   #17
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Thanks for everyone's feedback.

Thanks for everyone's feedback, perhaps it isn't a pitfall at all.

I know I'll enjoy the extra time with them along with the extra personal time. As a telecommuter, I'm somewhat spoiled now to have the extra family time. I'll definitely take the time to educate them on how we got to FIRE within reason. I probably won't cover our exact numbers but close enough along with LBYM.
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