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Trade Offs & "Being Responsible'
Old 01-10-2006, 08:24 AM   #1
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Trade Offs & "Being Responsible'

It occurred to me yesterday that I never really had a fun period of youthful irresponsibility. I never took several months or a year off work and backpacked around. Never lived high on the hog and didn't woorry or care about the future. Never bought a fun, impractical car. Hell, I never really even dated much (one woman before meeting my wife).

In short, I have just about always made the choices that meant sacrificing for the future at the expense of today. I can't really complain about the results, at least on a material level, since we are well on our way toward FIRE. However, I can't help but wonder if I have missed out on something. I've probably permanently missed out on the chance to have that kind of experience, since I am getting older, more cautious, more cynical, and slowly less physically able.

This is probably wistful nonsense brought on by too much time at work during the time of year when I get a little down from it being dark for months on end. Still, the degree to which all of this really resounds with me suggests that it is likely more than just a passing thing.

Anyone else feel this way? Its too early for me to have a midlife crisis (only 32), but I suspect that I will have a mother of one when I hit 40 if I am still working.
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Re: Trade Offs & "Being Responsible'
Old 01-10-2006, 09:27 AM   #2
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Re: Trade Offs & "Being Responsible'

Don't feel too bad, I'm right up your same alley.

I decided that I wanted to go into finance when I was 16. I started saving for retirement at 15 and opened up my first brokerage account.

On top of that, I too dated only one woman in college before meeting my wife. I worked every summer, saved most of my earnings. and never did get to do my semster of studying backpacking in Europe like my friends did.

I graduated college on a friday and started work on the next monday. I also spent just about every night and weekend for the following 4 years studying for the CPA, series 65, 7 and CFA exams.

but you know what, compared to what my parents and grandparents had to do during their youth, my life isn't half bad.

No regrets

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Re: Trade Offs & "Being Responsible'
Old 01-10-2006, 09:31 AM   #3
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Re: Trade Offs & "Being Responsible'

Depends on what you value, but I think you're right - it's probably wistful nonsense brough about by the winter weather!

Quote:
I never took several months or a year off work and backpacked around.
Check. Never did this either. Started work less than 1 week after graduating college. I'm hoping to take 6 weeks off this summer to travel while I'm between jobs, however. But I think I've earned that after going to law school at night for the past 4 years ...

Quote:
Never lived high on the hog and didn't woorry or care about the future.
Check. Never did this either. I was kinda foolish with my money for the first two years after graduating college (where I never had any money anyway), and sure I had fun during this time of my life, but I can't say I lived anywhere near high on the hog during that time, since I didn't make all that much.

Quote:
Never bought a fun, impractical car.
OK, well, my first car (in high school) was a 1968 Mustang, but it was cheap - $1,500. And it was smashed up in a car accident so ...

Quote:
In short, I have just about always made the choices that meant sacrificing for the future at the expense of today. I can't really complain about the results, at least on a material level, since we are well on our way toward FIRE. However, I can't help but wonder if I have missed out on something. I've probably permanently missed out on the chance to have that kind of experience, since I am getting older, more cautious, more cynical, and slowly less physically able.
I do think it's important to have some kind of interest or passion that you allow yourself to indulge in, even if it cuts into your FIRE plans a little. Doesn't need to be a "young and irresponsible" type of activity, but something that you enjoy. My wife and I travel a lot to her home country (Portugal) and while it definitely cuts into our FIRE plans a bit, I wouldn't trade those experiences for anything.

I guess what's it's all about is that people enjoy being "young and irresponsible" only up until they open their eyes and realize how stupid some of that stuff is.

Some of us hit that point sooner than others (think back to some kids in high school!) but the benefit is that those people can be well on their way to being FIRE and will be out enjoying life while those who got smart later in the game will still be chained to a desk, working a stressful life to pay for all of their expenses for years to come, if not until the day they die ...
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Re: Trade Offs & "Being Responsible'
Old 01-10-2006, 09:36 AM   #4
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Re: Trade Offs & "Being Responsible'

Quote:
Originally Posted by saluki9

but you know what, compared to what my parents and grandparents had to do during their youth, my life isn't half bad.

No regrets
Saluki,

Nice to hear someone acknowledge that the older generations often had a tough path to follow.

Grumpy
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Re: Trade Offs & "Being Responsible'
Old 01-10-2006, 09:43 AM   #5
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Re: Trade Offs & "Being Responsible'

Quote:
Originally Posted by brewer12345
Its too early for me to have a midlife crisis (only 32), but I suspect that I will have a mother of one when I hit 40 if I am still working.
Not necessarily too early. *If the average male life expectancy is 72, by definition mid-life crisis would occur around 36.*

Quote:
Originally Posted by brewer12345
I never took several months or a year off work and backpacked around. *
Do it while you still can. *I took a month after college graduation to go backpacking around Europe with a good buddy, and it was one of the best experiences of my life. *Worth so much more than the three grand or so I spent.* Ditch the wife/kids and go. *
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Re: Trade Offs & "Being Responsible'
Old 01-10-2006, 09:44 AM   #6
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Re: Trade Offs & "Being Responsible'

I feel the same way sometimes Brewer. * I had a 6 week experience in Europe at 20 (mostly school work) and a 6 week camping across the Southwest trip after grad school at age 27 but that's pretty much it.

I think part of the urge to retire early is to be able to do that sort of thing before I'm too old to want to.

I've always been superrepsonsible, IMO, and I'm now partnered with someone who makes me look like a slacker with his work ethic (or insanity, it's hard to tell). * *

So taking some of that cash and doing something frivolous definitely is appealing. *
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Re: Trade Offs & "Being Responsible'
Old 01-10-2006, 09:54 AM   #7
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Re: Trade Offs & "Being Responsible'

I did all this stuff, so if anyone wants to know how it was, just ask

Other than the benefit of getting a dirty little smile on your face when you're daydreaming and remember some bit or other, you didnt miss much. The downside is missing the rest of your life while pondering what you may have missed.

And dont do it now. We're old pharts. It wont be pretty.
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Re: Trade Offs & "Being Responsible'
Old 01-10-2006, 09:55 AM   #8
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Re: Trade Offs & "Being Responsible'

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sheryl
I feel the same way sometimes Brewer. * I had a 6 week experience in Europe at 20 (mostly school work) and a 6 week camping across the Southwest trip after grad school at age 27 but that's pretty much it.

I think part of the urge to retire early is to be able to do that sort of thing before I'm too old to want to.

I've always been superrepsonsible, IMO, and I'm now partnered with someone who makes me look like a slacker with his work ethic (or insanity, it's hard to tell). * *

So taking some of that cash and doing something frivolous definitely is appealing. *
Yeah, but with a 19 month old and my wife 4 months pregnant, plus the job, house, etc. it ain't gonna happen any time soon. *When I hated my job, I used to pray for a bout of unemployment so I could take several months off. *Now I guess I just need to keep plugging until my vacation next month.
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Re: Trade Offs & "Being Responsible'
Old 01-10-2006, 10:12 AM   #9
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Re: Trade Offs & "Being Responsible'

Can you take a month off or a few months off for a "sabbatical"? Or save up vacation time for an extended period off? Hop a plane to Europe (or wherever tickles your fancy) and have fun for a few months.

Or next time you are between jobs, plan on taking a few months off and do your wild and crazy backpacking trip.

I feel your pain, since we have a 9 month old and another one on the way in 7 months. Off the beaten path travel is something we enjoy, but I don't know how practical it is with toddlers. It doesn't seem like it would be much fun for either me or the kids. Maybe when they are older...

Right before my daughter was born 9 months ago, I had this "crazy" idea to do an around the world trip - SE Asia, central Asia, Russia, Europe, etc. for months or maybe a year. I think it was my "last gasp" of freedom before settling into a more responsible life. One day, I may get to take that trip around the world.
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Re: Trade Offs & "Being Responsible'
Old 01-10-2006, 10:20 AM   #10
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Re: Trade Offs & "Being Responsible'

Quote:
Originally Posted by vinhmen
Not necessarily too early. *If the average male life expectancy is 72, by definition mid-life crisis would occur around 36.*

Do it while you still can. *I took a month after college graduation to go backpacking around Europe with a good buddy, and it was one of the best experiences of my life. *Worth so much more than the three grand or so I spent.* Ditch the wife/kids and go. *
Problem is... the mid life crisis is an ADULT thing... you have to take out the childhood and teenage years... and with some a few years after that.. so lets say it is 20 years... that means 'midlife' is 46..
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Re: Trade Offs & "Being Responsible'
Old 01-10-2006, 10:20 AM   #11
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Re: Trade Offs & "Being Responsible'

I had *some* fun after graduating college (backpacked through Japan for a couple of months), but since then I haven't really done something that was anywhere near as "irresponsible". *When I hit law school, my nose was to the grindstone 24x7, 365 days a year, and that has extended throughout the last 10 years of my legal career (although I did take a few weekend trips to Vegas and Atlantic City).

These days I've got a job that allows for a decent amount of free time (no more working until 7:00 p.m. or later, and no weekends) and also pays reasonably well. *No kids, McMansion, car payments, etc... right now, so perhaps at the ripe old age of 35, I can finally get back to living. *Having delayed my gratification for 10 years, I can now afford to be a little frivolous with both time and money. *The problem is temporarily breaking my now-ingrained habits of being frugal and doing some thing "constructive" with my time (as my father always used to tell me growing up).
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Re: Trade Offs & "Being Responsible'
Old 01-10-2006, 10:23 AM   #12
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Re: Trade Offs & "Being Responsible'

Quote:
Originally Posted by justin
Can you take a month off or a few months off for a "sabbatical"?* Or save up vacation time for an extended period off?* Hop a plane to Europe (or wherever tickles your fancy) and have fun for a few months.*

Or next time you are between jobs, plan on taking a few months off and do your wild and crazy backpacking trip.
Ummm...I think his wife would have a real problem with either of these suggestions. She would be left behind to take care of his responsibilities, while he's galavanting around the world. If I were in her shoes, I'd be pissed about that, as well as the fact that I wouldn't get the same chance to have a bit of fun.
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Re: Trade Offs & "Being Responsible'
Old 01-10-2006, 10:26 AM   #13
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Re: Trade Offs & "Being Responsible'

To clarify,

I meant do the trip with the family. Depends on how receptive the wife is for these kinds of trips and how well your kids travel. I guess I was thinking of the sabbatical in 5 years or so, at the least. Doesn't solve the wanderlust problem immediately, but it is a nice mid-term goal to look forward to, and should be a nice breather from work to tide you over to FIRE.
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Re: Trade Offs & "Being Responsible'
Old 01-10-2006, 10:29 AM   #14
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Re: Trade Offs & "Being Responsible'

Quote:
Originally Posted by vinhmen
Not necessarily too early. *If the average male life expectancy is 72, by definition mid-life crisis would occur around 36.*

Do it while you still can. *I took a month after college graduation to go backpacking around Europe with a good buddy, and it was one of the best experiences of my life. *Worth so much more than the three grand or so I spent.* Ditch the wife/kids and go. *
Man, if 36 is mid life what the heck is 57? <gulp>
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Re: Trade Offs & "Being Responsible'
Old 01-10-2006, 10:32 AM   #15
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Re: Trade Offs & "Being Responsible'

Quote:
Originally Posted by justin
To clarify,

I meant do the trip with the family.* Depends on how receptive the wife is for these kinds of trips and how well your kids travel.* I guess I was thinking of the sabbatical in 5 years or so, at the least.* Doesn't solve the wanderlust problem immediately, but it is a nice mid-term goal to look forward to, and should be a nice breather from work to tide you over to FIRE.*
Nice idea, but out of the question, unfortunately. No way I could get away with that with this job. A prolonged sabatical will have to wait until I am either ready to walk away from this job, or frazzled enough that I am past caring if I burn bridges.
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Re: Trade Offs & "Being Responsible'
Old 01-10-2006, 10:36 AM   #16
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Re: Trade Offs & "Being Responsible'

Many days I feel exactly the same way. *I interviewed a guy the other day who had just taken 8 months off to travel around the world. *Man, was I jealous! *On the other hand, by having kids a little younger I hope to have them out of the house while I'm still ambulatory -- just watch out then! *You may get a kick out of reading one of the books written by people who have taken their whole family around the world. *I liked "One year off : leaving it all behind for a round-the-world journey with our children" by David Elliot Cohen. *Fun to read, but not for me.
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Re: Trade Offs & "Being Responsible'
Old 01-10-2006, 10:38 AM   #17
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Re: Trade Offs & "Being Responsible'

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Originally Posted by brewer12345
Nice idea, but out of the question, unfortunately.* No way I could get away with that with this job.* A prolonged sabatical will have to wait until I am either ready to walk away from this job, or frazzled enough that I am past caring if I burn bridges.
Even then, there are going to be a whole host of inconveniences associated with "wanderlust" traveling with kids, unless the kids are in their teens and can be dumped on the grandparents for a couple of months.

As an interim step, I have seen parents "dump" their kids in a month-long sleep away camp over the summer, and then jet off to Europe, Asia, etc... *I've seen kids as young as 10 years old being sent to sleep away camp. *The camp's policy was not to allow visitation by parents (unless medically necessary) in order to teach the campers independence (and keep worrysome parents away).
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Re: Trade Offs & "Being Responsible'
Old 01-10-2006, 10:43 AM   #18
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Re: Trade Offs & "Being Responsible'

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Its too early for me to have a midlife crisis (only 32), but I suspect that I will have a mother of one when I hit 40 if I am still working.
Why stop at one midlife crisis? We're richer these days, so have two! Say, at 38 and 51.

But before 35? -- no. That's a delayed adolescence crisis.
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Re: Trade Offs & "Being Responsible'
Old 01-10-2006, 10:46 AM   #19
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Re: Trade Offs & "Being Responsible'

Bongo,

Thanks for the reference to "One Year Off", I added it to my "to-read" list at the local library. Looks like an interesting book.
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Re: Trade Offs & "Being Responsible'
Old 01-10-2006, 11:03 AM   #20
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Re: Trade Offs & "Being Responsible'

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Originally Posted by Robert the Red
Why stop at one midlife crisis?* We're richer these days, so have two!* Say, at 38 and 51.

But before 35? -- no.* That's a delayed adolescence crisis.
That's probably pretty accurate for us "nose to the grindstone" types. The problem is that you really can't go back to your adolescence to fill in the gaps of your experience.

Adolescence, like any other phase of life, isn't necessarily a series of activities on a checklist. Yes, there are some shared experiences most people have, such as getting a driver's license at 16, attending prom, going off to college, buying one's first car, buying one's first house, etc... Some people think that wanderlust is on a list of must-do activities, and perhaps on that same list is having a broad range of experiences with the opposite sex before settling down. I don't know that I would necessarily agree with such thinking, but that doesn't detract from the enjoyment such experiences can bring (especially the latter, particularly when combined with the former ).
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