Would you trade experiences in your youth for early retirement

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TheTimeLord
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Would you trade experiences in your youth for early retirement

Post by TheTimeLord » Fri Jul 13, 2018 8:39 am

We always have a lot of threads talking about frugality, extreme savings (40%-50%), reasonably priced activities in retirement and early retirement. What I don't see much of beyond should I buy this hyper-expensive car or million dollar plus house is a discussion of how to meld retirement saving with living life along the way. About the balance between saving for the dream or early retirement without sacrificing your 20s, 30s and 40s to do it. Personally, I took a lot of once in a lifetime trips in my 30s and 40s, and my bucket list today is shorter for it (maybe why I am ok with doing OMY after OMY). But I must admit on many of those trips we were the youngest people by 20ish years. That said, I wouldn't trade those trips or some of the hobbies I have participated in for retiring 5 years earlier, much less 1 or 2. So I am interested, how are other BH balancing their retirement savings goals with having a life today, in the present? Or is everyone just living for that someday when they can walk into their bosses office and tell him they are done?
IMHO, Investing should be about living the life you want, not avoiding the life you fear. | Run, You Clever Boy! [9085]

misscourtneyk
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Re: Would you trade experiences in your youth for early retirement

Post by misscourtneyk » Fri Jul 13, 2018 9:22 am

I don't think this topic gets enough attention here on the forums. It is hard to balance those two things, and something I'm still working on doing at age 27. I personally don't want to sacrifice everything now in my 20s in order to retire at age 40. While I am very focused on retirement savings (contribute heavily to my 401K (20% of gross salary) and fully fund my Roth IRA throughout the year), I also want to travel now. I am going to Rome in March; found a great deal on flights, going with a friend to save some money, and I'm 100% happy with that decision. I went to Cancun the past two years during the summer, Lake Tahoe for the holidays, and have already toured China and Hong Kong. Granted, I'm a very budget traveler at this point in my life and don't spend near as much money on my travels as people think I do.

But could I have put that $$$$ in my 401K? Sure....but I am still contributing enough to meet my goals for comfortable retirement, and I also want to enjoy my life in the here and now. I live on a fairly strict budget, my (ten year old) car is paid for, and the mortgage to my modest home is easily within reach. So you could say I have sacrificed in other areas of my life to maintain a high savings rate and still travel.

I know several family friends who pinched and scrimped only to pass away in their early 60s just after retiring, without having crossed anything significant off their bucket list. You can't take it with you.
Money is only a tool. It will take you wherever you wish, but it will not replace you as the driver.

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Re: Would you trade experiences in your youth for early retirement

Post by smitcat » Fri Jul 13, 2018 9:30 am

Our goal was to not sacrifice either early or later on.

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mhc
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Re: Would you trade experiences in your youth for early retirement

Post by mhc » Fri Jul 13, 2018 9:31 am

What is OMY? I googled and still can't figure out what you mean by it.

I desperately want to retire, but I have chosen not to sacrifice the journey to retirement. I really enjoy vacationing with my family. Some day, my children will be gone and the chance to have experiences with them will diminish greatly. I have chosen to enjoy the journey at the cost of extending the journey.

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Re: Would you trade experiences in your youth for early retirement

Post by metrunt » Fri Jul 13, 2018 9:34 am

mhc wrote:
Fri Jul 13, 2018 9:31 am
What is OMY?
Maybe "One More Year"?

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Re: Would you trade experiences in your youth for early retirement

Post by MiddleOfTheRoad » Fri Jul 13, 2018 9:37 am

Our goal is to spend on what we value as we spend our lives together. There is a saving goal, but we won’t hesitate to abandon the saving goal temporarily if we feel there is something important needs to be done/experienced. Afterall, that is what money is for.

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TheTimeLord
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Re: Would you trade experiences in your youth for early retirement

Post by TheTimeLord » Fri Jul 13, 2018 9:38 am

metrunt wrote:
Fri Jul 13, 2018 9:34 am
mhc wrote:
Fri Jul 13, 2018 9:31 am
What is OMY?
Maybe "One More Year"?
Correct.
IMHO, Investing should be about living the life you want, not avoiding the life you fear. | Run, You Clever Boy! [9085]

JuniorBH
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Re: Would you trade experiences in your youth for early retirement

Post by JuniorBH » Fri Jul 13, 2018 9:39 am

The short answer is no; while we are still hitting the goals that will allow us to retire at 55, we're not going to ratchet our lifestyle down to retire at some sooner date that might not even come.

Brief example; when I was 26 I bought a 2008 M3 which I owed for 4 years. The payments, and the car in general, was "above" my means. But, I wouldn't trade the time, friendships made, track days, etc to get that money back; the experience was more valuable and who knows if I'll be able to something similar later in life.

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Re: Would you trade experiences in your youth for early retirement

Post by TallBoy29er » Fri Jul 13, 2018 9:45 am

Wouldn't trade my experiences for any amt of early retirement. In fact, if anything, I look back at opportunities lost and probably would do more while younger if i could rewind. That said, i've learned, and am pretty good at embracing opportunities in the present.

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Re: Would you trade experiences in your youth for early retirement

Post by Texanbybirth » Fri Jul 13, 2018 9:46 am

No, I wouldn't. Very rarely do I go to bed at night with regret either about "experiences" (or even "things" :o ) consumed, or about saving for the future. A big part of me says "you could die tomorrow", yet a not insignificant part of me says "better sock some away just in case you don't." However, I literally have the best wife in the world who really helps us as a family to balance all of these things well.

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Re: Would you trade experiences in your youth for early retirement

Post by CedarWaxWing » Fri Jul 13, 2018 9:47 am

I never worried about or tried to retire early. I spent a great deal of time getting educated in fields I enjoy and believe in. That made making friends with interesting people a natural flow of living, and full in interesting experiences.

Doing the work you believe in makes the idea of retiring early something you only do if you have to.

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greg24
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Re: Would you trade experiences in your youth for early retirement

Post by greg24 » Fri Jul 13, 2018 9:48 am

Moderation in all things.

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Cyclesafe
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Re: Would you trade experiences in your youth for early retirement

Post by Cyclesafe » Fri Jul 13, 2018 9:49 am

It doesn't necessarily require lots of money to have a fulfilling life while saving and investing for retirement. Plenty of poor people have fulfilling lives. It's all about choices.

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HomerJ
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Re: Would you trade experiences in your youth for early retirement

Post by HomerJ » Fri Jul 13, 2018 9:55 am

JuniorBH wrote:
Fri Jul 13, 2018 9:39 am
The short answer is no; while we are still hitting the goals that will allow us to retire at 55, we're not going to ratchet our lifestyle down to retire at some sooner date that might not even come.

Brief example; when I was 26 I bought a 2008 M3 which I owed for 4 years. The payments, and the car in general, was "above" my means. But, I wouldn't trade the time, friendships made, track days, etc to get that money back; the experience was more valuable and who knows if I'll be able to something similar later in life.
55 is still very young to retire.

Aiming for 55 as retirement, we were pretty frugal in our 30s (with young kids), but as our portfolio grew, we loosened up the purse strings. We stuck with 55 as a goal, and spent more in our 40s, instead of remaining super-frugal and trying to retire at 50.

But again, 55 is already pretty young... Our decisions might have been different if our goal was 65, and we realized we could retire at 55 if we kept our spending in check.

(In my 20s, I had all kinds of great experiences, but they didn't cost a lot... Mostly by staying in-country and driving everywhere, which is pretty cheap, but I also spent 5 weeks in South America and it only cost me $1500 or so).
The J stands for Jay

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bligh
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Re: Would you trade experiences in your youth for early retirement

Post by bligh » Fri Jul 13, 2018 10:00 am

There are many variables there though. I am going to venture against the general sentiment of this thread..

1) How much do you enjoy your job? You are likely able to keep pulling OMY because you have a high degree of control over your work environment and thus are able to make it satisfactory to your wants. Not everyone has this. Some people hate their jobs. Through little to no fault of their own, they don't have the high skill (which is expensive and time consuming to obtain) or high aptitude (not everyone is born super smart) to switch careers. They will gladly sacrifice on their younger years to attain financial independence.

2) How stable is your job? Some fields, have significant age related discrimination. Technology is a great example of a high income field where people look to jump into management or fear becoming unemployed in their late 40s. You may love your field, and want to work in your 60s, but it gets harder and harder to land a decent job as you get older. Athletes, actors and models are all examples of this as well. People in such fields who are aware of their "expiry date" are also well advised to consider sacrificing a bit on their younger years since they will likely have more free time than they wanted when they get into their 50s.

3) How much can you actually save and how quickly? If you are in a high income profession, it is quite likely that you could push and achieve financially independence relatively quickly. In fact, it isn't a black and white choice either. If you are in a high income profession you could live frugally in your 20s to build up a decent sized portfolio and let it compound over time for you. You could then let your lifestyle inflate a little in your 30s and even more in your 40s. Letting compounding give you a nice tail wind and reducing your need to save at the same rate, but still achieving financial independence early.

4) How important is financial independence to you and your identity? This is an important one that most people over look. When I was starting out in my career, I have worked at jobs "because I needed the money". I have dealt with horrible bosses "because I couldn't afford to lose my job". I dont do that anymore. In my case having a large enough nest egg has definitely helped with this. There are things I simply will no longer put up with at a job. I am able to walk away from projects I don't like, and turn down work I don't want to do. I work on projects I enjoy and WANT to work on. Funnily enough, I think this behavior has actually made me MORE desirable to my clients.

In short, my advice to my kids will be.. Get into a high income career that interests you... sacrifice in your 20s to get the compounding ball rolling. Sacrifice a little less in your 30s but still remain as frugal as possible. Once you attain financial independence (or are close to it) you are free to ramp up your discretionary spending a little.

When you are 20, you have plenty of time and not much money. Sell your time and convert it to money. Keep as much of that money as possible.
If you do this... When you are 50, you will hopefully realize you have plenty of money and not much time. Spend the money and convert it to more free time. Keep as much of your time as possible.

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Re: Would you trade experiences in your youth for early retirement

Post by marcopolo » Fri Jul 13, 2018 10:08 am

Very interesting question.

I am not sure I would make too many major changes if had a chance to go back and do it again.

The things we spent on, and our priorities changed through various stages of life.

In my 20s, I spent pretty much everything I made, took extended time off to travel domestically and internationally, spent months following the Dead around to concerts, etc. In general, in my youth, I had a lot of youthful indiscretions. Would not trade thise experiences to retire a little earlier.

In my 30s and 40s, most time/money were spent around family activities. Travel sports for two athletic kids can be very time consuming and expensive. The number of big trips also somewhat limited due to school schedules and limited vacation time as was building career. But, we made most of the opportunities we had to do interesting adventure travel. Again, probably would not change much, as we look back very fondly on the time we spent with the kids.

Fotunately, employment situation was relatively lucerative. We were able to max all tax-advantaged accounts, spend what we wanted, and save the rest in taxable for a number of years. We did not really think about retirement goals until just a few years ago.

At about age 48, it occurred to us that we were one track to be able to retire soon. We retired a few years later. So, it never felt like we were sacrificing to try to retire early.

We do recognize that we have been very fortunate. Hopefully, the good luck will continue in to the next phase of life.

Best of luck to everyone else as well.
Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right.

zuzimb
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Re: Would you trade experiences in your youth for early retirement

Post by zuzimb » Fri Jul 13, 2018 10:10 am

Looking forward to this discussion. (started writing when only one other post....)

Most of the time when I think about finances it's about how to balance saving/spending, and I'm not very good at it. I could afford to spend more than I currently do, but I have a tough time justifying it. Almost every purchase decision is looked at through the lens of X number of years of investing opportunity cost. Being only 23 that cost is very high, and renders most items as "not worth it". Add on the extra tax I could pay because it might not be going into the 401K and it's like salt in the wound so to speak.

Truth is I don't know what I want, so I'm focusing on FIRE. Maybe FIRE is/isn't my thing, but if I don't start now I'll be "behind". Finding a balance is something for me to work on. Though for 2019 I'm planning to max the 401k and Roth IRA and save a little bit outside those so not sure balancing is happening (about 60% savings, but I don't pay for housing or insurance). When comparing to the 50/30/20 guideline I'm blown away by the amount I "could" be spending, just cant justify it.

What I do know is that I've pretty much never regretted travelling with friends. When I do it is normally cheap relative to the location (IE only purchasing plane ticket and food at times, sometimes not even food, but business related), been on some amazing trips this way. I still can't justify dropping $1500/pp for a week long trip, much to my girlfriends dismay. If an opportunity comes to me I'll just about always take it.... but I won't search them out.

At this point my money already makes more than me on some days and vice versa.... and that just makes me want to keep the ball rolling and snowballing
Last edited by zuzimb on Fri Jul 13, 2018 10:12 am, edited 1 time in total.

Lexi
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Re: Would you trade experiences in your youth for early retirement

Post by Lexi » Fri Jul 13, 2018 10:11 am

I think the goal of FIRE should be split into two parts, FI and RE. The first is very important to me but the second is not. I spent my 20s get the education and skills to be able to do work that was fulfilling and well compensated while living on little, my 30s getting myself comfortable financially (but not FI), and my 40s on doing exciting work and travel while becoming FI.

When I see posters wanting to retire at a very young age, I would like to tell them to find work that feels worth spending your time and energy on, but that is not an opinion that goes over well on this board. FI is great to have but $$ are only worth the value they bring to your life and to others.

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Re: Would you trade experiences in your youth for early retirement

Post by scrabbler1 » Fri Jul 13, 2018 10:19 am

smitcat wrote:
Fri Jul 13, 2018 9:30 am
Our goal was to not sacrifice either early or later on.
Same here. I had enough money in my younger days to have enough experiences. When I retired 10 years ago at age 45, I wasn't sacrificing any chance to have more experiences, if I want them. And I have had a few. One requirement of my retiring early was that there would be no change to my everyday lifestyle. If there is something I want to do and it costs a few dollars, I can do it.

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Pajamas
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Re: Would you trade experiences in your youth for early retirement

Post by Pajamas » Fri Jul 13, 2018 10:21 am

Consider that there is not necessarily a direct correlation between experiences and expenditures. The question is really about expensive experiences.

Also consider that it is not necessary to work XX years continuously and then quit work to retire forever. I have known people who worked at least some into their eighties because they enjoyed it and there are some people who work even longer, I just haven't known them personally. Taking periods of time off from working when young is also worth considering.
Last edited by Pajamas on Fri Jul 13, 2018 10:26 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Would you trade experiences in your youth for early retirement

Post by climber2020 » Fri Jul 13, 2018 10:25 am

TheTimeLord wrote:
Fri Jul 13, 2018 8:39 am
So I am interested, how are other BH balancing their retirement savings goals with having a life today, in the present? Or is everyone just living for that someday when they can walk into their bosses office and tell him they are done?
I do the important things I want to do and still have plenty left over to save for early financial independence. Having a job that pays well helps. I only spend large sums of money on things I enjoy, like travel, and I don't spend money on things that society expects me to have but I don't care for.

There are a few significant choices I made that keep my expenses low: I live in a low cost of living area, own a small house which is a fraction of the size owned by most people in my income bracket, drive a modest car, and I married someone who shares my financial goals and doesn't buy a bunch of expensive trash.

B. Wellington
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Re: Would you trade experiences in your youth for early retirement

Post by B. Wellington » Fri Jul 13, 2018 10:35 am

Thanks Timelord, this topic though touched on in the FIRE community once in awhile, has become very important to the DW and I today. In our advancing years we have seen more and more family members and close friends pass and has made us stop and reflect on what truly is important in our lives.
I wouldn't trade the many wonderful experiences we had for anything. We can not turn back the clock. If that means *working* one more year, so be it. The many adventures we have had in our earlier years can not be "gained back" later in life. Life is short folks, when you have the chance to do something or go someplace special, go. As one co-worker put it, "work is over-rated, experiences are not." :beer

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Re: Would you trade experiences in your youth for early retirement

Post by itsgot8 » Fri Jul 13, 2018 10:39 am

No. There's no guarantee I"ll make it to retirement, whether it's 'early' or not. Even if I do, I wouldn't trade those experiences and memories in exchage to retire earlier. I got to cross off quite a few bucket list items while still young and find that quite satisfying.

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Re: Would you trade experiences in your youth for early retirement

Post by jharkin » Fri Jul 13, 2018 10:41 am

This is a very valid discussion and I agree with other that it doesn't get enough focus. In my 40s I am already glad that I didn't give up certain experiences in my 20s, as I already can tell my body doesn't have the energy for some things I enjoyed at that age.

Its all about balance and have a fulfilling life at EVERY stage. :beer

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Re: Would you trade experiences in your youth for early retirement

Post by Wilderness Librarian » Fri Jul 13, 2018 10:41 am

Now that I am 65 and retired 2 yrs. I have been asking myself that question (or variations thereof) fairly frequently. Balancing work with personal and time with money is a major dilemma for just about anyone. My quick answer to the OP's question is no way. I went straight through undergrad & grad school fast and luckily landed a "real" job immediately. A few years later in a budget downturn I requested and received a 9 month academic year contract at proportionally less pay. A number of years later I had to give it up and go back to 12 month. In between I did an amazing amount and variety of things I would not have been able to do if I had waited to retirement. Among them: extensive wilderness backpack trips with heavy packs that would be very difficult now; 3 weeks in Iceland before it became the mega tourist destination it is today; national park visitations when campground reservations not necessary and likely not even granted, developing photographic skills that surpassed what I ever thought I was capable of doing. Even though I had the mandatory SS & retirement fund contributions didn't get real serious about this side of things until late 40's or maybe 50. Then a much higher paying job with more duties and responsibilities. Now I am glad I got that job when I did because without it I probably would have had to work into 70s. But no regrets on focusing on experiences as I did.

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Re: Would you trade experiences in your youth for early retirement

Post by btenny » Fri Jul 13, 2018 11:15 am

I sorta did this and I think many posters here did as well. I was driven as a kid to study and get good grades. I missed out on many things in the crazy 60s and 70s because I stayed home and studied and got a college degree at 20. Then a masters at 24. Plus I worked all through college so fun time was very limited. I needed the money from a job to pay for school. So I sacrificed time for $$.

That work ethic let me save a lot and retire early. And it let me earn a good living and buy some fun toys (boat, GTO, 442, 240Z, nice house, two great kids) and have some great experiences as a young adult. So it was not all work. In fact I think I can brag how good it has all worked out....

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Re: Would you trade experiences in your youth for early retirement

Post by MikeG62 » Fri Jul 13, 2018 11:36 am

There needs to be balance. It’s not defer all experiences while young to retire early nor experience anything and everythign no matter the cost and accept having to work as long as you are able to.

I can’t tell you how much of the latter I see routinely and I just shake my head in disbelief. These people will either never retire or they will retire to a life where they don’t do much and watch every penny. What a change that will be for them.

We lived well below our means while I worked (but far from frugally). We always took at least one nice trip a year with our daughters (and a few smaller ones) - and I would not trade those experiences for anything. However, we did not live up to the level of our means (spending every extra dollar that came). This allowed my DW to be a SAHM since our oldest daughtger was born and for me to fully retired at 53 (with no pension - we live off our investments). DW and I are now living up to the level of our means, including taking 7-8 trips each year (requiring airplane travel to get there), going pretty much wherever we want and we have never been happier.

So I would “live a little”, but keep your eye on the bigger goal of being able to retire while you are young enough to travel and explore things. IMHO, you will not regret it.
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PrettyCoolWorkshop
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Re: Would you trade experiences in your youth for early retirement

Post by PrettyCoolWorkshop » Fri Jul 13, 2018 11:52 am

A lot of the responses above imply that saving money during your youth is a sacrifice. In my eyes, as a young person (27 years old) with such aspirations, it is not a sacrifice to me personally.

I have a hard time spending money. It makes me anxious. Some expenditures are necessities, and that is fine. But some expenditures are purely luxuries. I arrived at this mindset through a good bit of soul searching.

I might be an odd case, but not that odd. Each person, through introspection, can discover what they value in life. For me, personally, I know that I can have just as much fun while sitting around the den shooting the shit with close friends as I can while going out on a boat, or some other expensive outing. Hence the anxiety when spending money- why enslave myself to the dollar when I don't get more enjoyment out of it?

If your time is something you care about, and value for what it is, and you make a carefully weighted decision, and don't have an unreasonable view of how the world works, then you can find yourself in a place where there is no feeling of "sacrifice". It all feels very congruent to me.
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Re: Would you trade experiences in your youth for early retirement

Post by KlangFool » Fri Jul 13, 2018 11:52 am

OP,

To each its own. So, I can only speak about my experience.

1) I save 1 year of expense every year. If I did not gamble on Telecom stock, I would have early retired in my late 40s.

2) At my income level, as long as I do not buy a house as expensive as my income peers, I have plenty of money to spend on everything else. So, I do not feel that I am constraint by my savings.

3) In my youth, I did plenty of travels and entertainment on company expenses. So, I get those experiences with zero cost on my part.

4) So, essentially, I did not lose anything in term of experience in my youth for my saving. I am not a house person. So, not having a bigger and more expensive house is not a loss to me.

KlangFool

sjt
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Re: Would you trade experiences in your youth for early retirement

Post by sjt » Fri Jul 13, 2018 12:02 pm

This is an interesting question - similar to asking "Do you regret not having kids," and it will really completely depend on the individual who will usually be happy with their choice because it aligns with their priorities.

Ask this on the early retirement forums, and you'll have people who live on rice and beans - delaying potential experiences to retire early and have financial freedom (which allows them experiences) like MMM or Frugalwoods or Root of Good. I doubt these people will regret their decision because the freedom and time of extreme early retirement were worth sacrificing the experiences during accumulation.

On the other extreme, some people are comfortable working until 65 or 70 and want to live more lavishly their whole life. They also probably won't say they regret their lifestyle choices either. Most people are somewhere in between.

I imagine most of the responses here are from typical Bogleheads - high earners who could afford to experience things in their youth while also saving plenty for retirement.
"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

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Re: Would you trade experiences in your youth for early retirement

Post by Slacker » Fri Jul 13, 2018 12:35 pm

If I could go back and take back 50% of the dollars I wasted on alcohol at bars and clubs in my 20s to pad my retirement accounts, I would do it in a heartbeat. Due to those "experiences" being alcohol fueled, I wouldn't miss out on much as far as "memories" go...

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Re: Would you trade experiences in your youth for early retirement

Post by CarpeDiem22 » Fri Jul 13, 2018 12:39 pm

If you can be FI super quick like MMM, sacrifices may be worth it. If your target date is at 50 yrs or later, might as well travel and enjoy a bit now.

I like travel, and have visited multiple countries, but to be honest, these days often I am happier at home fixing a meal together with DW, rather than visiting an obscure place that I have no connection with. I still travel but don't feel the same kick. Not sure if anyone else feels that way as they get older.

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Re: Would you trade experiences in your youth for early retirement

Post by stoptothink » Fri Jul 13, 2018 12:55 pm

Slacker wrote:
Fri Jul 13, 2018 12:35 pm
If I could go back and take back 50% of the dollars I wasted on alcohol at bars and clubs in my 20s to pad my retirement accounts, I would do it in a heartbeat.
Or marrying my first wife...

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Tycoon
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Re: Would you trade experiences in your youth for early retirement

Post by Tycoon » Fri Jul 13, 2018 1:05 pm

The best experiences in my youth were free.
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HomerJ
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Re: Would you trade experiences in your youth for early retirement

Post by HomerJ » Fri Jul 13, 2018 2:16 pm

Tycoon wrote:
Fri Jul 13, 2018 1:05 pm
The best experiences in my youth were free.
I think just being young makes those experiences pretty good. People who had money to spend in their 20s had a good time, but.so did those of us who didn't have much money. I have plenty of good memories from my 20s even though i was broke most of the time. :)
The J stands for Jay

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Re: Would you trade experiences in your youth for early retirement

Post by sabhen » Fri Jul 13, 2018 2:38 pm

There are age appropriate things that delaying them make no sense at all. Isn't that a little like saving up sex for your old age?

(If you are 18, go and chase girls. Don't wait until you are 60)
Last edited by sabhen on Fri Jul 13, 2018 5:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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El Greco
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Re: Would you trade experiences in your youth for early retirement

Post by El Greco » Fri Jul 13, 2018 2:40 pm

I had many wonderful experiences in my youth that I wouldn't trade for, but are part of the reason why I won't be able to early retire. You see, I was having so much fun that I didn't get a "real" job until I was 29. Didn't really start saving until my late thirties because my wife and I did a lot of traveling. And again, I wouldn't trade those experience for early retirement. You're only young once, so drink it up. Delayed gratification ain't all it's cracked up to be.

totallystudly
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Re: Would you trade experiences in your youth for early retirement

Post by totallystudly » Fri Jul 13, 2018 2:52 pm

I think this is a false dilemma. It's not either you sacrifice and retire early or you have fun experiences and retire later. Depending on your creativity, you can do both, especially if you have your own business and the time to do it.

Savings does not require giving up experiences generally, mostly things and stuff. I've never had the experience of getting hosed at a dealership and driving off in a new car and yet I've met plenty of women and driven safe, cheap cars to work, and I get little pleasure from cars. It's just not my thing.

I've had all sorts of treasured and rare experiences. I just flew business class to Buenos Aires for a few hundred bucks as one of m buddies works for the airlines and gave me a ticket. you can travel for cheap, and I used to do timeshares for the free buffets, trips, and shows at Vegas.

gliderpilot567
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Re: Would you trade experiences in your youth for early retirement

Post by gliderpilot567 » Fri Jul 13, 2018 3:18 pm

Experiences, no. Material things? Yes. The amounts I spent in my 20s on great experiences - particularly travel and adventure - pales to the amounts I wasted on booze, restaurants, and crap. A house I didnt need, expensive hobbies that I didn't really get into, etc. Had I had a bit more restraint about those expenditures I could have been FI at age 30. Now at 35 I am looking at 7-10 more years of hard work to get to where I need to be.

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FIREchief
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Re: Would you trade experiences in your youth for early retirement

Post by FIREchief » Fri Jul 13, 2018 3:19 pm

I wouldn't trade FIRE for a lifetime of world travel. That's partly because I really don't like long trips and there are many enjoyable experiences one can "invest" in with their families that have no impact on saving for FIRE. Why do so many equate "great experiences" with "spending a lot of $$$?" :confused

That said, if FIRE meant neglecting your family and working 80 hour weeks while they grew up in order to buy your ticket, then sure; forget the rat race and enjoy your family. :sharebeer
Last edited by FIREchief on Fri Jul 13, 2018 3:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Shallowpockets
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Re: Would you trade experiences in your youth for early retirement

Post by Shallowpockets » Fri Jul 13, 2018 3:20 pm

This is not applicable to real life, yet it is often a topic of conversation when one gets older.
There are too many variables to even speculate. Would you trade that trip to Europe you made in your mid 20s for.....? Early retirement? Is that one year early, or 5?
Is that with more money money in that retirement, or is the experience not measureable in dollars.

We often feel that the early retirement would allow us to participate at that retirement time in that which we passed by in our early years. But there is much that goes by the wayside with aging. Things you cannot replicate or get back.
Want to climb Everest, now that you are 50 and retired early? Good luck with that. No one does that without some commitment, money and time beforehand. And if you gave up the preliminary experiences for that early retirement, you would be starting at scratch, at 50.
People and places change while you forgo the experiences now and when you finally decide to go for them, they are different or not there at all.
We have all done what we did. This conversation is only to enlighten the BHs here who are hellbent on the retire early path and actually have a chance to alter that path.
For the rest of us, with all our life knowledge and experience, we have nothing but an execise in cocktail talk at a party.

goblue100
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Re: Would you trade experiences in your youth for early retirement

Post by goblue100 » Fri Jul 13, 2018 3:29 pm

greg24 wrote:
Fri Jul 13, 2018 9:48 am
Moderation in all things.
Including moderation.
Some people are immune to good advice. - Saul Goodman

Olemiss540
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Re: Would you trade experiences in your youth for early retirement

Post by Olemiss540 » Fri Jul 13, 2018 5:18 pm

Really, the "American Dream" is about new Ford Expeditions, fancy gated neighborhoods, nice furniture, and expensive electronics. You don't need to pay a lot for "experiences", many life long memories I have were amazingly cheap. The question is why do you try to justify spending through internal moral excercises?

I spend a lot on hobbies, but have a high savings rate due to bypassing much of the above. I don't want to see posts about why you threw financial caution to the wind to live for the moment as much as I don't want to see posts about financial prudence causing causing you physical or emotional pain.

Sorry, the OP just came across to me as justifying a personal decision than some actionable question or advice. Maybe I am just grumpy this afternoon. Seems like a strawman argument similar to "would you trade happiness in you 20s - 40s for financial prudence?". For the most part I feel the people on this board to be well centered and introspective on their financial decisions. Maybe post this on MMM?
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VictoriaF
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Re: Would you trade experiences in your youth for early retirement

Post by VictoriaF » Fri Jul 13, 2018 7:21 pm

The opposite is true. In your youth you have low-cost high-value experiences. You learn that you don't need money to enjoy your life and bring this knowledge into early retirement when you decide to cut lose and revive a low-cost high-value life.

Victoria
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fasteddie911
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Re: Would you trade experiences in your youth for early retirement

Post by fasteddie911 » Sat Jul 14, 2018 9:42 am

Right out of college I wanted to save hard, I pinched pennies, didn't travel or do much but felt deprived and wasn't enjoying life so much. In hindsight that was too extreme. I have since opened up the purse strings, cut back on savings at times, traveled more, lived more and spend money on things I value, key word being value. Fortunately, in the past 10yrs I've checked off many items from my bucket list and I don't have a particular interest that I want to retire to. I enjoy my work so early retirement isn't as strong a motivator anymore. Recently, I've even become more accepting to the idea of a more traditional retirement age. Especially if I don't have to work or save so hard, I can carve out a career and work environment I enjoy, create more time for other things, allow time for compounding and just having better overall balance.

GAAP
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Re: Would you trade experiences in your youth for early retirement

Post by GAAP » Sat Jul 14, 2018 10:14 am

When I was much younger, I didn't make (or have) enough money for "experiences" beyond a few extended backpacking trips. Once I got my first "real job", I maxed-out payroll deductions -- and have done so ever since. That effectively makes the experience decision something to be balanced with any after-tax savings, which is much easier to do. It gets harder with marriage and kids, but it's manageable with some planning.

I think part of the answer is internal to the person. Certainly, my kids have very different perspectives on the need for experiences and what those experiences should be. My wife had more of them when younger than I did, I'm probably looking to do more than she is now.

dknightd
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Re: Would you trade experiences in your youth for early retirement

Post by dknightd » Sat Jul 14, 2018 10:28 am

I would not trade my experiences in youth, or mid age, for anything.
I do not want to keep working longer than I have to. I want to retire and have more experiences.
For me it is a delicate balance. How do you decide when to cut the employer strings?
Right now I'm thinking a month more off is worth more than a month more of working.
But I'm not sure if I want to commit to that, at least not yet . . .

Turbo29
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Re: Would you trade experiences in your youth for early retirement

Post by Turbo29 » Sat Jul 14, 2018 10:41 am

I remember reading Bernstein's "Retirement Calculator From Hell" about 15 years ago. The one section that resonated with me was "Part III:
Eat, Drink, and Be Merry."

http://www.efficientfrontier.com/ef/901/hell3.htm

Basically, no matter how much one skimps to save for retirement, there is a possibility that the entire system/society/etc. will collapse before it can be enjoyed.

I will retire in two years at 65 (the two years will get me to Medicare plus increase my pension) and I don't regret not doing it any faster at all.

randomguy
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Re: Would you trade experiences in your youth for early retirement

Post by randomguy » Sat Jul 14, 2018 11:00 am

totallystudly wrote:
Fri Jul 13, 2018 2:52 pm
I think this is a false dilemma. It's not either you sacrifice and retire early or you have fun experiences and retire later. Depending on your creativity, you can do both, especially if you have your own business and the time to do it.

Savings does not require giving up experiences generally, mostly things and stuff. I've never had the experience of getting hosed at a dealership and driving off in a new car and yet I've met plenty of women and driven safe, cheap cars to work, and I get little pleasure from cars. It's just not my thing.

I've had all sorts of treasured and rare experiences. I just flew business class to Buenos Aires for a few hundred bucks as one of m buddies works for the airlines and gave me a ticket. you can travel for cheap, and I used to do timeshares for the free buffets, trips, and shows at Vegas.
No savings does require giving up experiences. You faced a choice between saving a couple hundred dollars or flying to Buenos Aires. You chose the experience over savings. Pretty much everything has a cost (time or money) and the question is if you want to pay it or not.

Spending money on things you don't value is easy to do. Debating if you should spend money on something you value or save is much harder. And over time those values can change. It is easy to look back and go "man if I hadn't hit the bars in the 20s I would have another 100k now". What is harder to figure out is how to value the experience (i.e. 1000 hours with friends) and what the alternatives (maybe you would have spend that 1000 hours doing something cheaper that was just as much fun) would have been.

As to how easy savings is, a lot depends on income. A person making 100k/year and living on 30k has an easy time saving a big chunk. A person making 50k and living that same lifestyle has a much tougher one. It is just as easy though to live a 30k life when making 100k as when making 50k as far as paying the bills.

totallystudly
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Re: Would you trade experiences in your youth for early retirement

Post by totallystudly » Sat Jul 14, 2018 11:47 am

Yeah, but come on $200 for business class isn't much of a "sacrifice" nor is it going to set back my retirement much or advance it much either. By comparison, one of my buddies was happily spending 1k per month for his Escalade in 2003 for gas, insurance, and the payment. He got to experience a bit of extra interest from women, but spending 60k probably isn't worth the value received.

Most people I knew in their 20s just said "F it, YOLO" spend everything. I too had a car, but spent 1/10th the cost.

Absolutely correct on income determining spending, but most normal people and friends I know have lifestyle creep/inflation as they make more money. They never keep that 30k minimal lifestyle.

OP seemed most concerned with travel, which is more of a function of time to me vs the actual costs of going. Still a cost, but I've traveled a ton and it doesn't cost very much in cash again, not like buying luxury vehicles or designer clothes or bottle service at the club, which seems to be what most people spend on.

Without going into details, I've done a lot of exciting, scary, and fun stuff I can barely believe I did in my 20s and 30s. It just keeps getting better with minimal cost of course being the best part...well second part

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