Directionless drift

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SimpleDude
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Joined: Mon Nov 23, 2015 8:16 pm

Directionless drift

Post by SimpleDude » Mon Jan 13, 2020 3:35 am

We are in mid-40s with high seven digit portfolio(adequately diversified per BH principles - 40(US)/30(intl)/30(intl)) work in tech, live well below our means. Yearly expenses track ~120k,(including housing). kids are still home and we have our parents responsibility as well.

My spouse and myself came through really bottom of the barrel situation(literally sleeping on carpet floor with sleeping bag), when we first came to this country - can now say we did ok through hard work, luck and gods grace. We rode through 08-09 and did not flinch - we never got "up" into hedonic treadmill - poverty gives you resilience and strength.

We both just worked, put our head down and probably haven't smelled roses along the way - just went with simple pleasures. Now we feel the ting of lost time(youth), purposelessness of the endeavor(so far) and the ongoing burdens of support. Things will only get more challenging as parents age and we each will turn in to caregivers. Had we spent more money in our younger years, instead of saving, that would have been so much better - even losing few younger years of savings for us would have been worth it and make no difference in outcome.

There was a time when each dollar was accounted, simple pleasures and no goals(but get somewhere). Did not know BH or what could happen to us in future with our life. We had simple goals, small target(total of 100k in CDs) and we kept at it. Now we are somewhere, but don't see any purpose for this continually - perhaps tired, want some respite/break for us.

There is a basic lack of motivation and direction-less drift, a frustration that we may or many not have time/energy/money to enjoy the fruits of labor - between work, kids, parent caregiving - (now or in future and we lost our 20s, 30s and most of 40s).

Q1 To us, it seems we were much happier sleeping on the floor rather than now, where we don't know why and how long this period of uncertainty continues - and what are we continuing this for? how does one plan for such scenario?
Q2 How can we evaluate what we need to support for such high support for parental care-giving.

bhough
Posts: 82
Joined: Wed Feb 15, 2017 6:53 pm

Re: Directionless drift

Post by bhough » Mon Jan 13, 2020 5:02 am

Dear OP,

There is a well recognized period in mid-life where life satisfaction goes down. Google the phrase U curve. This is universal, regardless of whether you work in tech, medicine, agriculture, etc. Regardless of whether you are supporting three generations or just yourself. The answer to your question is not financial, but spiritual/philosophical. Having said that, you do not want to do anything rash and jeopardize you or your children's future situation. I'd like to offer a few humble suggestions:

1. Go outside more. Especially at sunrise and sunset
2. Consider gardening, especially for fresh fruit/vegetables and cut flowers. Brings these flowers into your home and cook with the fruits and vegetables.
3. Get some exercise each day.
4. Limit work hours to <= 10/day and 6 days/week on average
5. Consider volunteering.
6. Avoid alcohol
7. Schedule a date night at least once/month
8. Schedule a one week vacation at least once/quarter

Your work has provided your family with immense possibilities. During this short psychologic rut, please see your work as necessary and helpful, even if it may not be interesting or fulfilling. Your work is a blessing.

A1: Sleep on the floor. I have a friend who lives in a million dollar penthouse, but still sleeps on the floor as he is used to that. Not kidding. Also, to be more concrete, stop buying expensive things that won't make you happy. Consider giving to Unicef who provides basic services to very poor sick people.

A2: I would seriously think about what you owe your parents, what you owe yourself, and what you owe your children. This doesn't have to be a ranking. While you may say that your children's and parents' comfort are more important than yours, it doesn't have to be 100% to them and 0% to you. Please be nice to yourself and please be reasonable as you budget for your loved ones. They don't need to sleep in fancy hotels while you sleep on the floor.
b

TXJeff
Posts: 102
Joined: Mon Sep 25, 2017 7:47 pm

Re: Directionless drift

Post by TXJeff » Mon Jan 13, 2020 7:10 am

SimpleDude wrote:
Mon Jan 13, 2020 3:35 am
We are in mid-40s with high seven digit portfolio(adequately diversified per BH principles - 40(US)/30(intl)/30(intl)) work in tech, live well below our means. Yearly expenses track ~120k,(including housing). kids are still home and we have our parents responsibility as well.
. . .

Q1 To us, it seems we were much happier sleeping on the floor rather than now, where we don't know why and how long this period of uncertainty continues - and what are we continuing this for? how does one plan for such scenario?
Q2 How can we evaluate what we need to support for such high support for parental care-giving.
You are out of survival mode, and not sure what to look forward to? Respectfully suggest refocusing on all that you do have. These current threads on fatal cancer/sudden death one's 40's will make you realize that being directionless is a privilege.

viewtopic.php?p=4948252#p4948252

viewtopic.php?p=4949528#p4949528

whiskeymike
Posts: 7
Joined: Sat May 24, 2014 2:44 pm

Re: Directionless drift

Post by whiskeymike » Mon Jan 13, 2020 8:16 am

Well said bhough. +1

sjt
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Re: Directionless drift

Post by sjt » Mon Jan 13, 2020 8:49 am

SimpleDude wrote:
Mon Jan 13, 2020 3:35 am
Now we feel the ting of lost time(youth), purposelessness of the endeavor(so far) and the ongoing burdens of support. Things will only get more challenging as parents age and we each will turn in to caregivers. Had we spent more money in our younger years, instead of saving, that would have been so much better - even losing few younger years of savings for us would have been worth it and make no difference in outcome.

There was a time when each dollar was accounted, simple pleasures and no goals(but get somewhere). Did not know BH or what could happen to us in future with our life. We had simple goals, small target(total of 100k in CDs) and we kept at it. Now we are somewhere, but don't see any purpose for this continually - perhaps tired, want some respite/break for us.
Looking back from current day, you may be tempted to say it would have been better to "spent more money in your younger years" but perhaps that's only because things worked out well for you. It's possible that things may not have worked out well, and you would have been glad you scrimped and saved so much. You can't change the past.

The only thing you can do now is change your future. You only have 1 life, and it sounds like you are burned out. I would have stopped long before "high seven digit portfolio", but I suggest you seriously consider retirement. You are probably in the best health you will ever be in, enjoy your life and family now - travel - enjoy the simple things like daily walks or hikes.
"The one who covets is the poorer man, | For he would have that which he never can; | But he who doesn't have and doesn't crave | Is rich, though you may hold him but a knave." - Wife of Bath tale

livesoft
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Re: Directionless drift

Post by livesoft » Mon Jan 13, 2020 8:53 am

Perhaps not for you, but I try to sleep in a tent outside among the wonders of nature about 100 nights a year. On those nights my worldly possessions are all within arms reach except perhaps my food which I try to put where bears, foxes, skunks, raccoons, mice, and other critters won't get into it.
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tenkuky
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Re: Directionless drift

Post by tenkuky » Mon Jan 13, 2020 9:03 am

livesoft wrote:
Mon Jan 13, 2020 8:53 am
Perhaps not for you, but I try to sleep in a tent outside among the wonders of nature about 100 nights a year. On those nights my worldly possessions are all within arms reach except perhaps my food which I try to put where bears, foxes, skunks, raccoons, mice, and other critters won't get into it.
How do you get wifi in these desolate places? :twisted:

ohai
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Re: Directionless drift

Post by ohai » Mon Jan 13, 2020 9:05 am

I think your declined happiness is a function of age, rather than net worth. You'd probably be even more unhappy if you were poor.

Incidentally, this article came out today:

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles ... omist-says

Anyway, yeah, get some hobbies.

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JoMoney
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Re: Directionless drift

Post by JoMoney » Mon Jan 13, 2020 9:10 am

tenkuky wrote:
Mon Jan 13, 2020 9:03 am
livesoft wrote:
Mon Jan 13, 2020 8:53 am
Perhaps not for you, but I try to sleep in a tent outside among the wonders of nature about 100 nights a year. On those nights my worldly possessions are all within arms reach except perhaps my food which I try to put where bears, foxes, skunks, raccoons, mice, and other critters won't get into it.
How do you get wifi in these desolate places? :twisted:
Image
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Sandtrap
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Re: Directionless drift

Post by Sandtrap » Mon Jan 13, 2020 9:13 am

1. Enjoy and find the wonders, every day, hour by hour, in what you are doing now.
IE: As if it were your last day on earth, treasure and savor each minute taking care of and "playing" with your children.
2. Enjoy your spouse as if you were dating again. Have fun together doing what you do now.
3. Etc.

The days and years are not filled with "tasks" and "to do lists" and "things to accomplish, rather, your path and present lifestyle is filled with a million opportunities to have fun, laugh, and savor each minute as if your last.
IE: Imagine a childless couple with mundane jobs in which showing up for work and putting in 30 years to retirement is the only work demand, and so forth.

So, given the above, the sense of "directionless drift" is internal, not external. And, no amount of extra trips and activities will permanently fix that.
That said, you've built up a solid "cake", now spend regular time for self, with spouse only, and with children, for the frosting. Different new activities together, go out to eat more often, and so forth. Within financial reason, it is not self indulgent or wasteful.

Note: 20's, 30's, 40's, is gone. Look forward, move forward. The future is not based on the criteria of the past.

Also, different cultures view different styles of spending differently. What is "normal" in America USA mainstream, may be wasteful by old fashion standards in Taiwan. Etc.
So, the opinion of others must be taken lightly.

Congratulations on your successes.
j :happy
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MaryO
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Re: Directionless drift

Post by MaryO » Mon Jan 13, 2020 9:23 am

SimpleDude wrote:
Mon Jan 13, 2020 3:35 am



There is a basic lack of motivation and direction-less drift, a frustration that we may or many not have time/energy/money to enjoy the fruits of labor - between work, kids, parent caregiving - (now or in future and we lost our 20s, 30s and most of 40s).

Your kids and family relationships ARE the fruits of your labor. With millions already socked away, you have ample opportunity to cut back on the job hours, even adjust careers downward, so that your $120K yearly expenses are still covered. (You could retire, actually, but that might be too stressful with your uber-frugal mindset.) Then you have given yourself the gift of time to enjoy family & friends. Your parents will benefit, as keeping them on the move with whatever activities you choose will improve their health. Are they retired yet? Are there current health issues that make you certain that you and your spouse will assume caregiver roles?

We all need attitude adjustments throughout life. You are in a wonderful situation. You just need some tweaks.

livesoft
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Re: Directionless drift

Post by livesoft » Mon Jan 13, 2020 9:31 am

tenkuky wrote:
Mon Jan 13, 2020 9:03 am
livesoft wrote:
Mon Jan 13, 2020 8:53 am
Perhaps not for you, but I try to sleep in a tent outside among the wonders of nature about 100 nights a year. On those nights my worldly possessions are all within arms reach except perhaps my food which I try to put where bears, foxes, skunks, raccoons, mice, and other critters won't get into it.
How do you get wifi in these desolate places? :twisted:
I did not use the word "desolate", but cell phone signals are not wi-fi either. ;)
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tenkuky
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Re: Directionless drift

Post by tenkuky » Mon Jan 13, 2020 9:40 am

livesoft wrote:
Mon Jan 13, 2020 9:31 am
tenkuky wrote:
Mon Jan 13, 2020 9:03 am
livesoft wrote:
Mon Jan 13, 2020 8:53 am
Perhaps not for you, but I try to sleep in a tent outside among the wonders of nature about 100 nights a year. On those nights my worldly possessions are all within arms reach except perhaps my food which I try to put where bears, foxes, skunks, raccoons, mice, and other critters won't get into it.
How do you get wifi in these desolate places? :twisted:
I did not use the word "desolate", but cell phone signals are not wi-fi either. ;)
Touche, my friend. For a city slicker like me, anywhere with the wildlife you describe is 1 million miles from humanity. For a cheapo like me using Consumer Cellular on a limited data plan, wifi is mostly all I use. :wink:

finite_difference
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Re: Directionless drift

Post by finite_difference » Mon Jan 13, 2020 9:56 am

Great advice so far.

Also, if your portfolio is 7-digits, or even well below that, you can use money to save time:

* Housekeeping
* Yard work
* Car washing
* Babysitting

Also you may be able to think about cutting down to part time or changing lines or work to reduce stress.
The most precious gift we can offer anyone is our attention. - Thich Nhat Hanh

knowledge
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Re: Directionless drift

Post by knowledge » Mon Jan 13, 2020 10:09 am

I like this topic, as I can clearly sense that similar thoughts are bubbling up for me. These are BIG questions, and of course, there are no right answers. I don't have a coherent theory, hence some of my thoughts in bullet points:

- the "u-shaped" curve of happiness: it's been mentioned that the trough correlates with teen-aged kids, and that once you get through it, you inevitably become happier.
- meaning and purpose in life is very personal, and I believe you're best to find a close group of confidants to discuss this. That could be your friends, your religious group, your family - but the point is that you need to discuss it. You won't solve it by internalizing comments from discussion groups (no matter how well intentioned) on the internet.
- Your parents, as they age, do not want to become a burden. This should be discussed.
- That said, I do believe you can study purpose, and find many, many external resources (Philosophy, Religion, etc.)
- There can be value in paying professionals to talk things through (and worth overcoming stigma, if you have any)
- Exercise is the only proven tactic to keep your mind sharp. It can also help you sleep better.

annu
Posts: 81
Joined: Mon Nov 04, 2019 7:55 pm

Re: Directionless drift

Post by annu » Mon Jan 13, 2020 12:16 pm

Buy a rental property, will sure give you a new meaning to life and also keep you away from home and busy doing crap you never did for your home...

cu_
Posts: 29
Joined: Mon Jul 28, 2014 10:12 am

Re: Directionless drift

Post by cu_ » Mon Jan 13, 2020 1:19 pm

annu wrote:
Mon Jan 13, 2020 12:16 pm
Buy a rental property, will sure give you a new meaning to life and also keep you away from home and busy doing crap you never did for your home...
:oops: :wink: :D

Wanderingwheelz
Posts: 127
Joined: Mon Mar 04, 2019 9:52 am

Re: Directionless drift

Post by Wanderingwheelz » Mon Jan 13, 2020 1:34 pm

SimpleDude wrote:
Mon Jan 13, 2020 3:35 am
We are in mid-40s with high seven digit portfolio(adequately diversified per BH principles - 40(US)/30(intl)/30(intl)) work in tech, live well below our means. Yearly expenses track ~120k,(including housing). kids are still home and we have our parents responsibility as well.

My spouse and myself came through really bottom of the barrel situation(literally sleeping on carpet floor with sleeping bag), when we first came to this country - can now say we did ok through hard work, luck and gods grace. We rode through 08-09 and did not flinch - we never got "up" into hedonic treadmill - poverty gives you resilience and strength.

We both just worked, put our head down and probably haven't smelled roses along the way - just went with simple pleasures. Now we feel the ting of lost time(youth), purposelessness of the endeavor(so far) and the ongoing burdens of support. Things will only get more challenging as parents age and we each will turn in to caregivers. Had we spent more money in our younger years, instead of saving, that would have been so much better - even losing few younger years of savings for us would have been worth it and make no difference in outcome.

There was a time when each dollar was accounted, simple pleasures and no goals(but get somewhere). Did not know BH or what could happen to us in future with our life. We had simple goals, small target(total of 100k in CDs) and we kept at it. Now we are somewhere, but don't see any purpose for this continually - perhaps tired, want some respite/break for us.

There is a basic lack of motivation and direction-less drift, a frustration that we may or many not have time/energy/money to enjoy the fruits of labor - between work, kids, parent caregiving - (now or in future and we lost our 20s, 30s and most of 40s).

Q1 To us, it seems we were much happier sleeping on the floor rather than now, where we don't know why and how long this period of uncertainty continues - and what are we continuing this for? how does one plan for such scenario?
Q2 How can we evaluate what we need to support for such high support for parental care-giving.
At mid-40s you’re just about a peak unhappiness, statistically. The good news it’ll begin to reverse if you’re about average.

Best of luck.

Wanderingwheelz
Posts: 127
Joined: Mon Mar 04, 2019 9:52 am

Re: Directionless drift

Post by Wanderingwheelz » Mon Jan 13, 2020 1:38 pm

tenkuky wrote:
Mon Jan 13, 2020 9:03 am
livesoft wrote:
Mon Jan 13, 2020 8:53 am
Perhaps not for you, but I try to sleep in a tent outside among the wonders of nature about 100 nights a year. On those nights my worldly possessions are all within arms reach except perhaps my food which I try to put where bears, foxes, skunks, raccoons, mice, and other critters won't get into it.
How do you get wifi in these desolate places? :twisted:
You can live like that and have access to internet most of the time. I bet my wife and I average nearly 90% when we camp. We don’t do 100 days a year but we get more than half of that (even while having careers) which isn’t too bad when it comes to getting our minds right again.

Topic Author
SimpleDude
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Nov 23, 2015 8:16 pm

Re: Directionless drift

Post by SimpleDude » Mon Jan 13, 2020 4:06 pm

Thank you all for a lot of thoughtful answers.

As bhough@ and others have suggested, i have started some things like gardening(2 yrs), doing daily walks with podcast+solace, gave up(almost completely) on alcohol and not really pushing at work. I really haven't taken time off for myself in last 2 years and that has possibly burned me/us out - being stuck at home with parental commitments and caregiving(their needs are only growing).

Work is a welcome distraction and there is a rub. Doing more(for both) would get us to next level and possibly increase annual 2%nw(additional), perhaps provide mental challenge/stress - no way to know. Instead of feeling stuck, waiting, dither and lack of motivational drive, may be it provides an impetus? Are we not living professional lives/potential to the fullest, to where we could be? and then we circle back - to what end? It almost feels we shouldn't have been here or are we missing/giving-up something still?

In some ways, hedonic treadmill keeps the drive and at this late stage, there is no taste or inclination for that. It looks frivolous to us, but it has some value. We have seen people struggle with it, but they have clarity that they have to keep working and driving towards retirement. We don't see most people we know to have to cross our bridge. People have to stay in rat-race for the choice(s) they made (now or earlier in life) - we are in the race to keep ourselves busy/occupied and that's sad. In the focus to get somewhere, we never cultivated hobbies. Additionally, money/success brings out jealousy in friendships and I have seen them fray.

If you are on the way to winning the game, your attitude is to get there and there is a drive. When you seem to have arrived but are stuck with other things, there is frustration(which is where we are). In some ways, being on the "course" keeps you at it and motivated. Poverty is a great driver and motivator. Giving away to charities has been a big source of happiness to us. I have realized that we actually don't need much at all.

And yes, i agree that being direction-less is a privilege compared fighting for life with cancer. If we only we could be of help to something good in society..

evilityb
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Re: Directionless drift

Post by evilityb » Mon Jan 13, 2020 5:50 pm

OP -

A book you and your spouse might enjoy:
https://marknepo.com/books_onelife.php

I encourage you to take time to think about what you value and put your money and efforts there. You are never too old to begin cultivating new hobbies and interests, in fact, it will benefit you to try new things throughout the next half century of your life. You seem burdened with all of the care giving -- would it be possible to give your children family responsibilities to help you and their grandparents? If not, or if you need more help still, hiring help is a very reasonable thing to do.

Building yourselves up from poverty, giving your children a solid upbringing and opportunities for a beautiful future, and helping your parents in their golden years is something to be very proud of. Your sacrifices are not in vain.
She/her/hers | Make sure the fortune that you seek is the fortune that you need - Ben Harper

brad.clarkston
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Re: Directionless drift

Post by brad.clarkston » Mon Jan 13, 2020 6:10 pm

tenkuky wrote:
Mon Jan 13, 2020 9:03 am
livesoft wrote:
Mon Jan 13, 2020 8:53 am
Perhaps not for you, but I try to sleep in a tent outside among the wonders of nature about 100 nights a year. On those nights my worldly possessions are all within arms reach except perhaps my food which I try to put where bears, foxes, skunks, raccoons, mice, and other critters won't get into it.
How do you get wifi in these desolate places? :twisted:
I know your joking but I use a Garmin inReach Explorer+ https://www.amazon.com/Garmin-Explorer- ... 01MY03CZP/.

It's a sat connection that you pair your phone to. There's a mini version without the topo maps for $100 less but both will let you send SMS text's from just about anywhere on the planet a satellite can reach. Plus it has a SOS button that you would register with the Rangers/Wildlife people at the area you are camping at.

bhough
Posts: 82
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Re: Directionless drift

Post by bhough » Mon Jan 13, 2020 8:35 pm

One last point:
When you finally have enough money to provide for you and your family for the rest of your lives, it is not like running over the finish line at a race and jumping up in relief. It is unsettling. Most people who are self-made spend most of their waking hours either working or thinking about how to save/invest. Then when you have "won the game", that Patsy Cline lyric starts to sound in your head: "is that all their is?"

The cool thing is that after that, the thing you do from 8-6 (please, no more than that) can be looked on as a puzzle, or challenge, or diversion. The pop psychologists say the people who are happiest at work see it as a problem to solve or a challenge to confront. Not as a sweat-shop that is ready to fire you at a moment's notice. It could be the same exact place with the same exact weirdos, but when you view your job as a puzzle and not slavery, it is possible to enjoy it more. "The door to hell is locked from the inside" or something like that.

Make your job a puzzle or challenge. But take a full lunch hour and say no to committees and politics. Good luck.
b

RedTailedHawk
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Re: Directionless drift

Post by RedTailedHawk » Mon Jan 13, 2020 9:18 pm

SimpleDude wrote:
Mon Jan 13, 2020 3:35 am
Q2 How can we evaluate what we need to support for such high support for parental care-giving.
I agree with a previous poster who said this is more of a philosophical issue than a financial issue. Among many other things to consider, I would look at how much it would cost to move your parents to a really nice assisted living or nursing home. It will be costly but sounds like you can afford it. If you don't have the heart to do that, pay for the best helpers to offload your care giving duties as much as possible. If you're one of those people who feel obligated to do everything for your aging parents, it's OK to be a little selfish and think about living your life too. Your parents would want you to look after them but they wouldn't expect you to forfeit your own life in the process.

livesoft
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Re: Directionless drift

Post by livesoft » Mon Jan 13, 2020 9:26 pm

brad.clarkston wrote:
Mon Jan 13, 2020 6:10 pm
It's a sat connection that you pair your phone to. There's a mini version without the topo maps for $100 less but both will let you send SMS text's from just about anywhere on the planet a satellite can reach. Plus it has a SOS button that you would register with the Rangers/Wildlife people at the area you are camping at.
I have a Garmin InReach Mini that I always take with me. The Topo maps are in the phone app used with the Garmin InReach Mini. The device also works without a cell phone for texting, weather reports, and SOS. But it isn't "internet" as tenkuky was thinking about. The SOS button goes to a central office via satellite and not to any local people. Presumably, the central office would contact local SAR if they could not get you to respond to a satellite text message. They should know one's location pretty well and they will also contact one's emergency contacts who should have some idea of what you are supposed to be doing.
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Unladen_Swallow
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Re: Directionless drift

Post by Unladen_Swallow » Mon Jan 13, 2020 10:19 pm

SimpleDude,

Some similarities between us:

I am in my mid 40s. When I came to the country, I too slept in a sleeping bag on carpeted floor. That wasn't unusual, it was typical. My roommates did too. I was in grad school.

We don't have kids. But a very large, close, extended family.

Our portfolio is 7 digit, but not high 7 digit.

We expect to be more supportive of our respective parents as they age.

I have a greater maturity and appreciation for the fragility of life and love in my 40s. There are many things we could have done differently in our 20s. We didn't. I wasn't my brilliant self at 25, like I am today. So be it. Feeling regret about not indulging in your 20s/30s so much so that it feels directionless is the quick way to old age at 40.

Living in the past is a fools errand. You have immense success at the young age of 40s. Share it with your spouse and your kids. Now. In our 20s we dont have money. In our 70s we dont have youth*. But in our 40s we have both! Don't waste your present trying to undo the past.

I have consciously ramped up travel, indulgences, and hobbies in the past 5 years. I dont wish to feel burdened by my responsibilities. I want to be in a more joyful and positive frame of mind to take those on. Focusing on my family unit and fun let's me do that.

* P.S - I intend to be youthful and sprightly in my 80s and 90s as well, if I were to live that long. I can sleep anywhere, but I like nice things.
SimpleDude wrote:
Mon Jan 13, 2020 3:35 am
We are in mid-40s with high seven digit portfolio(adequately diversified per BH principles - 40(US)/30(intl)/30(intl)) work in tech, live well below our means. Yearly expenses track ~120k,(including housing). kids are still home and we have our parents responsibility as well.

My spouse and myself came through really bottom of the barrel situation(literally sleeping on carpet floor with sleeping bag), when we first came to this country - can now say we did ok through hard work, luck and gods grace. We rode through 08-09 and did not flinch - we never got "up" into hedonic treadmill - poverty gives you resilience and strength.

We both just worked, put our head down and probably haven't smelled roses along the way - just went with simple pleasures. Now we feel the ting of lost time(youth), purposelessness of the endeavor(so far) and the ongoing burdens of support. Things will only get more challenging as parents age and we each will turn in to caregivers. Had we spent more money in our younger years, instead of saving, that would have been so much better - even losing few younger years of savings for us would have been worth it and make no difference in outcome.

There was a time when each dollar was accounted, simple pleasures and no goals(but get somewhere). Did not know BH or what could happen to us in future with our life. We had simple goals, small target(total of 100k in CDs) and we kept at it. Now we are somewhere, but don't see any purpose for this continually - perhaps tired, want some respite/break for us.

There is a basic lack of motivation and direction-less drift, a frustration that we may or many not have time/energy/money to enjoy the fruits of labor - between work, kids, parent caregiving - (now or in future and we lost our 20s, 30s and most of 40s).

Q1 To us, it seems we were much happier sleeping on the floor rather than now, where we don't know why and how long this period of uncertainty continues - and what are we continuing this for? how does one plan for such scenario?
Q2 How can we evaluate what we need to support for such high support for parental care-giving.
"I think it's much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers which might be wrong." - Richard Feynman

Cycle
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Re: Directionless drift

Post by Cycle » Mon Jan 13, 2020 10:59 pm

There are daily tasks you can do that bring meaning to the day. Accomplish a physical task or exercise. Eat well. Journal/blog. Get good night's rest (sleep is a skill to master). Do some work towards a near term future goal.

Even if u are full time care givers / parents, that doesn't mean you can't step away for a weekend or week to refresh, u just need to figure out hiring a replacement while u are away (which u can afford).

I'd focus more on making great days than finding some long term direction in life.

I have an infant and sometimes feel like it's groundhogs day, where I'm mearly existing and doing the same day over and over
Never look back unless you are planning to go that way

knowledge
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Re: Directionless drift

Post by knowledge » Tue Jan 14, 2020 11:05 am

SimpleDude wrote:
Mon Jan 13, 2020 4:06 pm
Thank you all for a lot of thoughtful answers.

As bhough@ and others have suggested, i have started some things like gardening(2 yrs), doing daily walks with podcast+solace, gave up(almost completely) on alcohol and not really pushing at work. I really haven't taken time off for myself in last 2 years and that has possibly burned me/us out - being stuck at home with parental commitments and caregiving(their needs are only growing).

Work is a welcome distraction and there is a rub. Doing more(for both) would get us to next level and possibly increase annual 2%nw(additional), perhaps provide mental challenge/stress - no way to know. Instead of feeling stuck, waiting, dither and lack of motivational drive, may be it provides an impetus? Are we not living professional lives/potential to the fullest, to where we could be? and then we circle back - to what end? It almost feels we shouldn't have been here or are we missing/giving-up something still?

In some ways, hedonic treadmill keeps the drive and at this late stage, there is no taste or inclination for that. It looks frivolous to us, but it has some value. We have seen people struggle with it, but they have clarity that they have to keep working and driving towards retirement. We don't see most people we know to have to cross our bridge. People have to stay in rat-race for the choice(s) they made (now or earlier in life) - we are in the race to keep ourselves busy/occupied and that's sad. In the focus to get somewhere, we never cultivated hobbies. Additionally, money/success brings out jealousy in friendships and I have seen them fray.

If you are on the way to winning the game, your attitude is to get there and there is a drive. When you seem to have arrived but are stuck with other things, there is frustration(which is where we are). In some ways, being on the "course" keeps you at it and motivated. Poverty is a great driver and motivator. Giving away to charities has been a big source of happiness to us. I have realized that we actually don't need much at all.

And yes, i agree that being direction-less is a privilege compared fighting for life with cancer. If we only we could be of help to something good in society..
It's clear that you've been thinking about this for some time now. In some ways, this is a harbinger to how you're going to replace the day-to-day of work in retirement, so why not address it now. In many ways, you've already won, a high single-digit portfolio with $120k in expenses should last...forever, especially since you have no inclination to add to your expenses. So more bullet points:

- Have you considered early retirement? Why not? If you have everything you feel that you need, why plug in day after day? or...
- You end your post with a clear source of happiness, perhaps you can then refocus towards that. Can you "give so much that it hurts" or at least align your goals towards that purpose? Work solely for the income that you're looking to effectively give away, minus your living expenses.

MiddleOfTheRoad
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Re: Directionless drift

Post by MiddleOfTheRoad » Tue Jan 14, 2020 12:21 pm

Similar situation. Mid 40s, got here in our teens. Also feeling the weight of both sides of the “sandwich generation”. Aside from the usual “take care of yourself” approach mentioned above, I try to look at our humble beginnings and be thankful for being able to provide. I reframe my responsibilities to my family as a privilege to be able to be there for them and not “being stuck”. It is hard to ignore FOMO with so many YOLO people out there, but you may have the family that they can only dream about.

Starfish
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Re: Directionless drift

Post by Starfish » Tue Jan 14, 2020 4:57 pm

bhough wrote:
Mon Jan 13, 2020 5:02 am
Dear OP,

There is a well recognized period in mid-life where life satisfaction goes down. Google the phrase U curve. This is universal, regardless of whether you work in tech, medicine, agriculture, etc. Regardless of whether you are supporting three generations or just yourself. The answer to your question is not financial, but spiritual/philosophical. Having said that, you do not want to do anything rash and jeopardize you or your children's future situation. I'd like to offer a few humble suggestions:

1. Go outside more. Especially at sunrise and sunset
2. Consider gardening, especially for fresh fruit/vegetables and cut flowers. Brings these flowers into your home and cook with the fruits and vegetables.
3. Get some exercise each day.
4. Limit work hours to <= 10/day and 6 days/week on average
5. Consider volunteering.
6. Avoid alcohol
7. Schedule a date night at least once/month
8. Schedule a one week vacation at least once/quarter

This type of advice is far from universal, actually to me sounds terrible. Why would you wake up at sunrise? Why would you do something as boring and unproductive as gardening? Why would work so much? and then consider volunteering? why break up the vacation? And WHY would you even consider avoiding alcohol :D ?

I have an opposite issue than the OP at about the same age: because I always tried to maximize my free time, I could be definitely 1 million ahead and retired by now. While I still stand by my decision (for example I know who is the little person running around my house and looking like me) I do have some doubts. And the income wasn't speculative, I knew from the beginning what I was choosing. I am very happy, I made lots of great memories, I traveled the world, I had time for my hobbies, I could take care somewhat of my mother and see her, I am not completely convinced this was the best choice.

Wannaretireearly
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Re: Directionless drift

Post by Wannaretireearly » Tue Jan 14, 2020 6:57 pm

Mid life crisis thread. Also 40s. Kids/parents etc. Take each vacation day. Force yourself/family to take vacations. Treat work like a tool. Dont let them treat u like tool!
Money allows us to have a ce le vie attitude. I dont have anything near high 7 figures.
As been mentioned, for me its mentally relieving. Knowing my mortgage will be paid off in 2.5 years almost gives me the same satisfaction as it being paid off. Similar to the buzz you get when you have a vacation planned. In some ways work is becoming more fun. However I'm not itching for next level up, as I've gotta help my middle school kids with Math!
Buy Low, Sell High

liz24
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Re: Directionless drift

Post by liz24 » Tue Jan 14, 2020 7:25 pm

SimpleDude wrote:
Mon Jan 13, 2020 3:35 am
We are in mid-40s with high seven digit portfolio(adequately diversified per BH principles - 40(US)/30(intl)/30(intl)) work in tech, live well below our means. Yearly expenses track ~120k,(including housing). kids are still home and we have our parents responsibility as well.

My spouse and myself came through really bottom of the barrel situation(literally sleeping on carpet floor with sleeping bag), when we first came to this country - can now say we did ok through hard work, luck and gods grace. We rode through 08-09 and did not flinch - we never got "up" into hedonic treadmill - poverty gives you resilience and strength.

We both just worked, put our head down and probably haven't smelled roses along the way - just went with simple pleasures. Now we feel the ting of lost time(youth), purposelessness of the endeavor(so far) and the ongoing burdens of support. Things will only get more challenging as parents age and we each will turn in to caregivers. Had we spent more money in our younger years, instead of saving, that would have been so much better - even losing few younger years of savings for us would have been worth it and make no difference in outcome.

There was a time when each dollar was accounted, simple pleasures and no goals(but get somewhere). Did not know BH or what could happen to us in future with our life. We had simple goals, small target(total of 100k in CDs) and we kept at it. Now we are somewhere, but don't see any purpose for this continually - perhaps tired, want some respite/break for us.

There is a basic lack of motivation and direction-less drift, a frustration that we may or many not have time/energy/money to enjoy the fruits of labor - between work, kids, parent caregiving - (now or in future and we lost our 20s, 30s and most of 40s).

Q1 To us, it seems we were much happier sleeping on the floor rather than now, where we don't know why and how long this period of uncertainty continues - and what are we continuing this for? how does one plan for such scenario?
Q2 How can we evaluate what we need to support for such high support for parental care-giving.
Thank you for this thoughtful post. It is honestly very striking and makes me think about life and finding meaning now and across one's life. It seems like it is really important to stop, calm yourself, and take in/appreciate what is happening around you. The good, the bad, the busyness, the craziness.

I do not have all the answers (or specific answers to your questions), nor am I in your shoes, but I would suggest finding moments of reflection for what could have been and deep moments of gratitude for what is- children, wealth, parents' presence, and parents who lived longer lives. Life delivered you some very sweet gifts.

As a woman in her mid-30's I know many women who struggle with infertility and the fear of never being able to have a family of their own one day. My S.O.'s father passed away suddenly. His heart aches to have him back for a single day to tell him everything on his heart, everything he wish he had the opportunity to say. You are fortunate to have retained your employment through a challenging economic time (08-09). Many of my peers feel they "lost a decade" of wealth-building due to unemployment or underemployment during this time. I only bring these things up in order to provide a radical shift in perspective toward the many other lives lived that ache for some of what you have.

I hope the notion of gratitude- for things exactly as they are today- would be a good starting point. Curious to see an updated post a little further down the line. I wish you the best in finding peace in this time.

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MaryO
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Re: Directionless drift

Post by MaryO » Tue Jan 14, 2020 8:02 pm

SimpleDude wrote:
Mon Jan 13, 2020 4:06 pm
Additionally, money/success brings out jealousy in friendships and I have seen them fray.
If you don't tell your friends how much wealth you hold, they'd never know. Unless you're flaunting it and buying Bentleys, that is!

If your parents are in need of so much caregiving (which I had originally not assumed, given your ages) you have plenty of money to hire help. Whatever their health issues may be, a trained nurse's aide will do a better job than you or your spouse or your kids.

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