Would you trade experiences in your youth for early retirement

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

Post by Sandtrap » Sat Jul 14, 2018 11:57 am

Interesting question.
All is relative to where one sits in the journey, looking forward or looking back, and how far.

Looking back as a senior with poor financial prospects in retirement, experiences would lose over better finances.

Looking back as an early retired senior that has charted a solid financial/career path without deviation, and substantial wealth . . . experiences might win over finances.

j

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

Post by TravelforFun » Sat Jul 14, 2018 12:21 pm

Bought a Mercedes at 30. Biggest financial mistake I've ever made and the experience it gave me was so temporary.

TravelforFun

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

Post by FIREchief » Sat Jul 14, 2018 1:53 pm

totallystudly wrote:
Sat Jul 14, 2018 11:47 am
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.
Yeah, that sounds like "value received" would have been worth about a buck ninety-five. LOL.
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Re: Would you trade experiences in your youth for early retirement

Post by TheNightsToCome » Sat Jul 14, 2018 3:22 pm

Cyclesafe wrote:
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.
+1

I had the most interesting experiences of my life in my 20s when I had no money at all.

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

Post by AlphaLess » Sat Jul 14, 2018 3:27 pm

I am doing it.

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

Post by bhsince87 » Sat Jul 14, 2018 3:37 pm

TravelforFun wrote:
Sat Jul 14, 2018 12:21 pm
Bought a Mercedes at 30. Biggest financial mistake I've ever made and the experience it gave me was so temporary.

TravelforFun
Sort of same feeling here. I drove BMWs for 20 years. AND always had a 4X4 to drive in the winter. I'm sticking with an F-150 4X4 from here on out. I do like my Mustang convertible too, but once it dies, I think I'm done with cars for good.

I justified the expense because I bought them with profits made from selling stocks, like Cisco, Apple, Intel. If I had held onto that stock, I'd probably have another $1 million by now!
Retirement: When you reach a point where you have enough. Or when you've had enough.

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

Post by cfs » Sat Jul 14, 2018 3:40 pm

Never had a plan to retire early. I gained my experience and money as an active duty military member. Over three decades in the US Navy gave me all the experience and all the travel I needed and then some. IF given the opportunity to do it all over I would NOT change a thing. Enjoy your life, good luck with your work, with your retirement, with your portfolio, y gracias por leer ~cfs~
~ Member of the Active Retired Force since 2014 ~

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

Post by Sandtrap » Sat Jul 14, 2018 3:52 pm

TravelforFun wrote:
Sat Jul 14, 2018 12:21 pm
Bought a Mercedes at 30. Biggest financial mistake I've ever made and the experience it gave me was so temporary.

TravelforFun
The list of "young'uns" . . . and "old'uns" who spent substantial funds on Muscle Cars, Hot Rods, Sports Cars, and Courtship, is very very very long. :shock:
Although most would attest to the value of those experiences.

j

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

Post by megabad » Sat Jul 14, 2018 3:56 pm

No I would not trade experiences for early retirement. Everyone has different values, but I believe that finding an amazing spouse and having experiences with him or her is the single most important thing for enjoyment in life. Some of these experiences are expensive and some are not. In my case, I found that the search for this costs some money, but not as much as I expected. As such, slightly less was invested.

That said, I don't think I have ever owned a vehicle less than 8 years old and my rent/mortgage payment was never more than maybe 10-15% of my income when I was younger. If these things made my happy, I would probably have put more money into them when I was younger too. The balance for me has always been, "can you survive without worrying about money." If I had to check my bank accounts daily to make sure I had enough (and there was a time) than I needed to remedy that (with less savings or more income).

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

Post by jalbert » Sat Jul 14, 2018 3:59 pm

Anyone who figures out that richness of life experience does not have to equate with high cost may be able to have both.
Last edited by jalbert on Sat Jul 14, 2018 11:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Would you trade experiences in your youth for early retirement

Post by SQRT » Sat Jul 14, 2018 4:01 pm

TallBoy29er wrote:
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.
This reflects my view as well. I did spend most of my “youth” getting an education and establishing my career. This really paid off. The future is unknown so foregoing too much current consumption may not be wise. Of course on the other hand one needs to think about the future somewhat and save in order to have a reasonable retirement. I retired at 56 and it ended up being better funded than I expected due to success later in my career. Could have done more while working but no regrets. The goal, I think, would be to balance your lifestyle over your full life to the extent you can. Not easy to do though.
Last edited by SQRT on Sun Jul 15, 2018 7:35 am, edited 1 time in total.

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

Post by lynneny » Sun Jul 15, 2018 12:26 am

I see this a little differently. My father died suddenly at 42, when I was a small child. My mother developed early-onset Alzheimer's when I was a young adult. So I've always been painfully aware that there is no guarantee any of us will still be around tomorrow. I suspect they might have lived their lives somewhat differently if they had known how little time they had.

I've worked hard and saved for retirement, but I try to enjoy each day, and not defer things I want to experience or do or share or own. Just in case.

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

Post by AlohaJoe » Sun Jul 15, 2018 1:07 am

Sandtrap wrote:
Sat Jul 14, 2018 11:57 am
Interesting question.
All is relative to where one sits in the journey, looking forward or looking back, and how far.

Looking back as a senior with poor financial prospects in retirement, experiences would lose over better finances.

Looking back as an early retired senior that has charted a solid financial/career path without deviation, and substantial wealth . . . experiences might win over finances.
This was my thought, too. The OP is in a position to retire 10-15 years early. Of course there is no real regret about early experiences.

The entire Bogleheads forum is likely to skew in the same direction, so will likely have similar replies.

I imagine if you did a survey of senior citizens working at Walmart or Denny's you'd get a different answer.

supalong52
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Re: Would you trade experiences in your youth for early retirement

Post by supalong52 » Sun Jul 15, 2018 1:16 am

bhsince87 wrote:
Sat Jul 14, 2018 3:37 pm
TravelforFun wrote:
Sat Jul 14, 2018 12:21 pm
Bought a Mercedes at 30. Biggest financial mistake I've ever made and the experience it gave me was so temporary.

TravelforFun
Sort of same feeling here. I drove BMWs for 20 years. AND always had a 4X4 to drive in the winter. I'm sticking with an F-150 4X4 from here on out. I do like my Mustang convertible too, but once it dies, I think I'm done with cars for good.

I justified the expense because I bought them with profits made from selling stocks, like Cisco, Apple, Intel. If I had held onto that stock, I'd probably have another $1 million by now!
Are you sure you've been a Boglehead since 1987? Are you a Boglehead now?

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

Post by msk » Sun Jul 15, 2018 1:36 am

Save and invest 30% of your after-tax income, from right out of college. There is very little you have to forego if your income were 30% less than it is today. Is your buddy who is a school teacher and who makes 50% less than you missing out? When I got married we had to sleep on a mattress on the floor for a few years: probably the happiest time of our lives. When we took the kids around the world in our 30s we stayed at the Holiday Inn rather than the Intercontinental. I doubt if the kids noticed. If you start saving and investing that 30% early enough, you simply do not miss it, and, unless you are particularly unlucky (or 100% bonds!) your income from the portfolio will quickly grow to more than make up the putting away of 30% of your job income. For me, the investment income allowed me to afford absurdly expensive cars in my 40s. No. 30% saving and investing does not deprive you much, and certainly not for long. Actually I found the opposite. When I retired early at age 55 I hardly had any bucket list left :confused Already been around the world twice and done Europe a zillion times. You gradually ratchet up from backpacker in your student days, to 3-star travel in your late 20s/early 30s, to 4 star in your 40s to 5 star at near retirement. Save and invest 30% of your after-tax income, from right out of college. You'll adjust and not miss it. Your portfolio, be it in Index Funds or RE or... will quickly augment your job income substantially.

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

Post by fennewaldaj » Sun Jul 15, 2018 4:23 am

My wife and I have been looking at this issue recently. I am 36 (turn 37 in 3 days) and she is 40. Neither of us saved super well in our 20s though I was able to pay off all her student debts though online poker winnings. We both went to school in our 30s. She did an MBA which took 2 years and I did a PharmD which took 4 years (I graduated 1 year ago). We luckily both had full rides to our respective programs but the one income for 6 of those years definitely set back our savings. Knowing that our income would be higher later we did not save a huge amount (we averaged ~10k a year through this) and continued to travel and do things that we enjoy. I am happy with that decision. Upon my recent graduation we increased our savings rate greatly to ~64k (50% Roth) of a 173k salary. This left our living standard a bit higher than before I graduated but similar. A few months ago we looked at the numbers and realized that we could retire in 13-18 years at the current savings rates. We considered upping the savings rate more to shave off a few years but decided it was not really worth it because any further cuts really cut into things we really like to do. I think we found a good balance between living in the present and saving for the future. I think we have both reached a point where we know what expenditures make us happy and which are a waste.

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

Post by student » Sun Jul 15, 2018 4:52 am

Personally I wish I went on more vacations (out-of-town). I never took one before 30. I essentially only had one out-of-town weekend vacation before 45. I suppose, in my defense, I was a graduate student in my 20's and I had limited funds.
Last edited by student on Sun Jul 15, 2018 7:41 am, edited 1 time in total.

J295
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Re: Would you trade experiences in your youth for early retirement

Post by J295 » Sun Jul 15, 2018 7:05 am

Doesn’t have to be either/or.
Can be both/and.

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

Post by SQRT » Sun Jul 15, 2018 7:33 am

msk wrote:
Sun Jul 15, 2018 1:36 am
Save and invest 30% of your after-tax income, from right out of college. There is very little you have to forego if your income were 30% less than it is today. Is your buddy who is a school teacher and who makes 50% less than you missing out? When I got married we had to sleep on a mattress on the floor for a few years: probably the happiest time of our lives. When we took the kids around the world in our 30s we stayed at the Holiday Inn rather than the Intercontinental. I doubt if the kids noticed. If you start saving and investing that 30% early enough, you simply do not miss it, and, unless you are particularly unlucky (or 100% bonds!) your income from the portfolio will quickly grow to more than make up the putting away of 30% of your job income. For me, the investment income allowed me to afford absurdly expensive cars in my 40s. No. 30% saving and investing does not deprive you much, and certainly not for long. Actually I found the opposite. When I retired early at age 55 I hardly had any bucket list left :confused Already been around the world twice and done Europe a zillion times. You gradually ratchet up from backpacker in your student days, to 3-star travel in your late 20s/early 30s, to 4 star in your 40s to 5 star at near retirement. Save and invest 30% of your after-tax income, from right out of college. You'll adjust and not miss it. Your portfolio, be it in Index Funds or RE or... will quickly augment your job income substantially.
So, I think you are saying you can have your cake and eat it too. All through the “magic” of a 30% savings rate. Impressive. Kind of defines away the question.

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

Post by Michread » Sun Jul 15, 2018 7:40 am

We spent 40k on a camper and SUV to tow it. We had the camper for 9 yrs and SUV for 12 yrs; 10k back on sale of both. So 30K for camping experiences during the precious formative years of raising ours sons. Those years and experiences cannot be duplicated at a later time.

We spent 30K on our yard - pool, fencing, landscaping. All for fun with our family. Little children splashing and laughing are stuck in my head.... Those children are grown.

Balancing spending and saving was always well thought out for us. It wasn’t easy to balance, as it still isn’t today as we look to spending down our nest egg for hopefully the next 40 years (starting this year, age 55).

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

Post by MnD » Sun Jul 15, 2018 7:47 am

We strive for a balance. We live a very non-frugal daily lifestyle while working but have made smart choices about saving and investing and big ticket items like vehicles. Our financial lifestyle in retirement will be a bit higher. Non-frugal and significantly higher than most, but not extravagant. I know plenty of people who make decent money but seem to obsess about the price of everything and are often "downgrading" their daily experiences. I highly doubt they are going to "let loose" in retirement.

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

Post by bling » Sun Jul 15, 2018 8:00 am

interesting timing because i'm struggling with this dilemma right now.

my family budgets for 1 major vacation a year, however that is more difficult this year because of an unexpected major house renovation that needs to be done.

can we afford to go? yes, even if we did both the savings rate for the year would still be positive. but i can't help but feel that it is financially reckless...

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

Post by BradJ » Sun Jul 15, 2018 8:08 am

MnD wrote:
Sun Jul 15, 2018 7:47 am
We strive for a balance. We live a very non-frugal daily lifestyle while working but have made smart choices about saving and investing and big ticket items like vehicles. Our financial lifestyle in retirement will be a bit higher. Non-frugal and significantly higher than most, but not extravagant. I know plenty of people who make decent money but seem to obsess about the price of everything and are often "downgrading" their daily experiences. I highly doubt they are going to "let loose" in retirement.
Balance......how to find it and how to maintain it. I think this is the ongoing struggle every person deals with on a daily basis.

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

Post by MnD » Sun Jul 15, 2018 8:24 am

BradJ wrote:
Sun Jul 15, 2018 8:08 am
MnD wrote:
Sun Jul 15, 2018 7:47 am
We strive for a balance. We live a very non-frugal daily lifestyle while working but have made smart choices about saving and investing and big ticket items like vehicles. Our financial lifestyle in retirement will be a bit higher. Non-frugal and significantly higher than most, but not extravagant. I know plenty of people who make decent money but seem to obsess about the price of everything and are often "downgrading" their daily experiences. I highly doubt they are going to "let loose" in retirement.
Balance......how to find it and how to maintain it. I think this is the ongoing struggle every person deals with on a daily basis.
If with a reasonable SWR you have roughly the same financial lifestyle after retirement that you had pre-retirement I'd say you struck a good balance.

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

Post by Ron Ronnerson » Sun Jul 15, 2018 8:36 am

Some yes and some no. It’s easier in hindsight to judge which experiences were worth it. It’s harder to know what an experience might offer beforehand. In any case, some of my best experiences cost little to nothing while other experiences cost way more than they should have. If I could, I’d give those back in exchange for the money I spent on them (with interest). These days, I focus on experiences that don’t cost much and am finding that life is still plenty enjoyable.

My goal isn’t early retirement but having time in the present to spend with family. The more expensive experiences I sign up for, the more hours I would have to work to pay for them. I’d be trading quantity of time for quality time. That doesn’t seem like a good trade off to me since quality time can be had for little cost anyway (just my perspective as applicable to me and not some universal truth).

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

Post by Dandy » Sun Jul 15, 2018 9:50 am

I think life balance is important at every age. There were times when we had to be a bit more frugal e.g. when first bought a house, new baby etc. I found I "sacrificed" some material things like a better car, better clothes, minimal upgrading our house/furniture, etc. and did a lot of work myself instead of outsourcing it e.g. painting, landscaping, car maintenance, etc.

But, we almost always had a great family vacation. I often had an extra vacation with my wife mostly to Bermuda. Our children had activities e.g. dancing classes for decades etc., the whole family has fond memories of those years. We also funded our retirement.

My idea of retiring early was to do it at 62. Came close since the Great Recession of 2008-9 resulted in forced retirement at age 60. I was fortunate to have saved and invested "enough" to weather that storm. Life balance continues in retirement. Expanding our life style gradually e.g. extra travel, season theater tickets, nicer car, etc.

For me things worked out almost as desired. I didn't desire to retire much earlier and those additional work years were essential to having enough assets to likely fund a long retirement. My approach was probably framed by my father's experience when he was let go at 59 and had to move to Florida and worked at low wage jobs for many years to afford even that retirement -- far away from family.

So wouldn't trade youthful experiences for an earlier retirement.

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

Post by Sandtrap » Sun Jul 15, 2018 9:56 am

AlohaJoe wrote:
Sun Jul 15, 2018 1:07 am
Sandtrap wrote:
Sat Jul 14, 2018 11:57 am
Interesting question.
All is relative to where one sits in the journey, looking forward or looking back, and how far.

Looking back as a senior with poor financial prospects in retirement, experiences would lose over better finances.

Looking back as an early retired senior that has charted a solid financial/career path without deviation, and substantial wealth . . . experiences might win over finances.
This was my thought, too. The OP is in a position to retire 10-15 years early. Of course there is no real regret about early experiences.

The entire Bogleheads forum is likely to skew in the same direction, so will likely have similar replies.

I imagine if you did a survey of senior citizens working at Walmart or Denny's you'd get a different answer.
Yes.
My mom, long passed, used to say, "money can't buy happiness. . but you can endure a lot of misery in the back of a Cadillac."
Coming from a depression age senior, that's spoken from hard experience.
I suspect many here feel the same.
j

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

Post by unclescrooge » Sun Jul 15, 2018 10:12 am

stoptothink wrote:
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...
While my first marriage was a financial drain, I'm not sure I would exchange the experience.

It wasn't all bad.... And in terms of experience, it was quite the eye-opener.

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

Post by randomguy » Sun Jul 15, 2018 10:16 am

totallystudly wrote:
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.
You agree that you give up money for experiences. Now we are talking about value of your dollar. 1k for an escalade might not add much value to your life but I know a half dozen guys who are spending something like that on a porsche and it is adding tons of value to their life. They life for the the weekend track days and autocrossing. Some people enjoy having nice houses and staying home. Others would rather spend 10k/year traveling. Some like spending 3k/year skiing. And some would prefer to retire 5 years early. All are okay choices (and a lot of us blend them). You need to figure out what makes you happy and go with it.

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

Post by bhsince87 » Sun Jul 15, 2018 12:23 pm

supalong52 wrote:
Sun Jul 15, 2018 1:16 am
bhsince87 wrote:
Sat Jul 14, 2018 3:37 pm
TravelforFun wrote:
Sat Jul 14, 2018 12:21 pm
Bought a Mercedes at 30. Biggest financial mistake I've ever made and the experience it gave me was so temporary.

TravelforFun
Sort of same feeling here. I drove BMWs for 20 years. AND always had a 4X4 to drive in the winter. I'm sticking with an F-150 4X4 from here on out. I do like my Mustang convertible too, but once it dies, I think I'm done with cars for good.

I justified the expense because I bought them with profits made from selling stocks, like Cisco, Apple, Intel. If I had held onto that stock, I'd probably have another $1 million by now!
Are you sure you've been a Boglehead since 1987? Are you a Boglehead now?


I have invested with Vanguard since 1987. My 401k has been in indexes for many years. In my taxable account, I have owned 40-50 different individual stocks, in addition to several Vanguard funds.
Retirement: When you reach a point where you have enough. Or when you've had enough.

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

Post by pejp » Mon Jul 16, 2018 10:32 am

I think about this a lot. I moved to NYC in 2007 when I was 25. I had a good income ($150-200k), and I lived a pretty crazy lifestyle until I was 32. I'd been a late bloomer socially, and I have a lot of pent up partying in me. I didn't bother with a 401k, as I knew I'd be moving home in a couple of years and didn't want the hassle of dealing with it, and to be frank, I knew nothing about personal investing....of course, 11 years later and I'm still here. I didn't start my 401k until I was 31, and I've missed one of longest bull markets in history. If I'd maxed out my 401k, which I would have easily been able to afford, I could have a lot of money by now, whereas now I have probably a tenth of what I could have.

It's something I live with, and there are times I really regret it and find it hard to forget about, particularly as my lifestyle got quite out of hand and I wasn't in a good place from a mental or physical health perspective towards the end of it......that being said, it was a pretty crazy ride. I got to spend my youth in one of the worlds greatest cities, basically doing whatever I wanted. It was reckless, but I had some amazing times. As one of my friends said 'we'll never have that time again, and we left it all out on the field!'. I wish I'd been a little more aware, but everything that has happened has brought me to the point I am now, so it's hard to have too many regrets, especially for things that I can't change.

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

Post by kaudrey » Mon Jul 16, 2018 1:03 pm

Life is definitely a balance. I have traveled consistently throughout my adult life, and wouldn't change any of it. We also owned a cabin in the mountains for 7 years (sold last year) that we used on weekends. The cabin was bought because we realized we could ease up on saving a bit and still reach our goals. Even though we sold it because circumstances changed, I loved the little mountain town and have many fond memories.

My life situation has changed, and I'll actually retire earlier than I was planning on back when we bought the cabin, but of course, you never know what life will throw you.

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