Question to retirees - money or work/life balance?

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TexasCPA
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Question to retirees - money or work/life balance?

Post by TexasCPA » Tue Jul 31, 2018 6:57 pm

I have a question for some of the Boglehead retirees: was it worth chasing money and sacrificing work / life balance? For those who have done so, do you have any regrets? Likewise, for those who made decisions to limit their career earnings for the sake of their family, work / life balance, etc, do you have any regrets?

I'm still relatively young, single, and have no children. Within the next five years, however, I can see myself having to make some decisions that will lead towards different career paths. Some of these decisions may limit my career earnings but give me much for time to myself. I'm torn because I love working and making money, but I also want time to pursue things like books, sports, maybe a family, etc

Not Law
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Re: Question to retirees - money or work/life balance?

Post by Not Law » Tue Jul 31, 2018 7:16 pm

It is not all or nothing. 50% or 60% for the future and 50% or 40% for the now is just fine. It all depends on when you want to be financially independent, and what it will take to get there. Not spending every cent you make does not equal deprivation.

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prudent
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Re: Question to retirees - money or work/life balance?

Post by prudent » Tue Jul 31, 2018 7:29 pm

I'm not retired but I have intentionally limited my career path in order to have the work/life balance I wanted. Luckily it has worked out so far, it took some years before I realized things could have easily not gone well. But the various managers I worked for seemed pleased to have an outperformer in the roles I had. There was a point where more money wasn't worth the personal cost that the next step up meant. No regrets.

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corn18
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Re: Question to retirees - money or work/life balance?

Post by corn18 » Tue Jul 31, 2018 7:31 pm

Replying to follow. Interested in the answers as I would like to stop chasing the $$$, too.

MikeG62
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Re: Question to retirees - money or work/life balance?

Post by MikeG62 » Tue Jul 31, 2018 8:24 pm

TexasCPA wrote:
Tue Jul 31, 2018 6:57 pm
I have a question for some of the Boglehead retirees: was it worth chasing money and sacrificing work / life balance? For those who have done so, do you have any regrets? Likewise, for those who made decisions to limit their career earnings for the sake of their family, work / life balance, etc, do you have any regrets?
OP, I wrote this response to a very similar thread two weeks ago...

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=254238&p=4026853#p4026853
Real Knowledge Comes Only From Experience

gouverneur
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Re: Question to retirees - money or work/life balance?

Post by gouverneur » Tue Jul 31, 2018 9:07 pm

Lawyer here who left private law firms ("big law," in our jargon) for government work. No regrets despite the 60%+ haircut in pay. In certain high-paying but highly demanding careers (law, consulting, finance, tech) the marginal hours that the job consumes -- the 12th or 13th hour of work in a day -- are brutal. My wife and I actually made the jump at the same time, so even more of a decrease in pay. Nonetheless, we still live a comfortable life, still save a decent amount, and have a lot more time to travel and enjoy life.

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JaneyLH
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Re: Question to retirees - money or work/life balance?

Post by JaneyLH » Tue Jul 31, 2018 9:46 pm

I took what I could but left through a side door when the opportunity arose. My colleagues either thought I was brilliant or insane. When I had enough, I left. No regrets, just joy.

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Sheepdog
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Re: Question to retirees - money or work/life balance?

Post by Sheepdog » Tue Jul 31, 2018 9:48 pm

Interesting question.
The only money chasing, if you were to call it that, was getting an engineering education so that I could have a decent living wage. I got married immediately after college so I would not even chase girls anymore. I changed companies only once and that was not money chasing ...it was to find a better, less stressful position where I would not have to constantly be transferred (5 moves in 12 years) which was bad for my wife and children. If I had stayed with that mega corp company (they really liked what I did), I would probably have more money, but not more happiness. We have now been living in the same location for 46 years. It was family, not money, which has pushed me, although I did work hard. In that case,I worked hard because I enjoyed my work and because my family could have a comfortable life. Money was for living, but not riches. Any money I have came without chasing it. Careful money management with spouse's assistance was all I needed. Multi millions was never a goal. Comfort was.
Last edited by Sheepdog on Tue Jul 31, 2018 10:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
It's not what you gather, but what you scatter which tells what kind of life you have lived---Helen Walton

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Re: Question to retirees - money or work/life balance?

Post by marcopolo » Tue Jul 31, 2018 10:31 pm

This topic gets discussed pretty regularly.
I suspect it depends a lot on the chosen career path.
I found that my job got less stressful, with more flexibility, and less time demands, as progressed to more senior levels in the company.
So, i am not sure it is necessarily a choice between money and work/life balance. They came hand-in-hand in my situation
Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right.

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Re: Question to retirees - money or work/life balance?

Post by Wilderness Librarian » Tue Jul 31, 2018 11:37 pm

As a couple of people mentioned this gets discussed a lot on this forum. Everyone has to figure out their balance between work vs.personal matters, time vs. money, and material possessions vs. experiences. However I would add another that figured prominently in the early stages of my career: greater career potential in geographic areas I disliked vs. limited potential in areas I liked. I know this is a variation of the work/ personal split but it is a variation that doesn't seem to be discussed much. After 3 years I left at a good job at a moderately prestigious midwest university for entry level positions in the west. In other words I knowingly and willingly gave up career potential that would have been much in my favor. Almost 40 yrs. later I have never regretted that decision. Before I made that decision I had an interesting discussion with two people from Oregon: they told me of people with PhD's working in jobs such as mail clerks perfectly satisfied with their situation and not even trying to find work in their fields because they lived where they wanted to live.

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Re: Question to retirees - money or work/life balance?

Post by CurlyDave » Wed Aug 01, 2018 12:37 am

I think you can have both a good work/life balance and $. I had a side gig which involved the whole family.

One has to have the right temperament for the one I chose which was real estate, but if that is a fit for you it can be both a bonding experience for the family and financially rewarding.

DW and I spent many weekends discussing our goals, looking for properties, comparing values, etc. When we finally selected one, we got the kids involved in upgrades and clean up, and then in periodic maintenance. We taught them by example that family is an enterprise where we all contribute to our success and we all share in the benefits. They will share even more when they inherit what we have built.

The other advantage of a side gig is that over the course of most careers, there will be many business cycles. Right now, we are in very good times. Employers go to sleep wondering if everyone is going to stay the course at their company. Do not be deceived, it will not always be this way. There will come a time when you will go to sleep wondering if you will have job the next day. Income from an outside source can be very valuable in hard times. I remember shutdown weeks, and many months of 32 hours weeks to keep the company going.

Something else that happened for me was that as I became less dependent on my primary job, I became more valuable in that job. Primarily because I could give advice and opinions that were more independent. I did not have to rubber stamp the conventional thinking of the day in order to preserve my position.

And, my total income was equal to managers two and three levels above my job.

Consider it diversification of your biggest asset -- your family's human capital. Early in a career this is much greater than our portfolios, but far too many only think of holding one job and look for advancement by putting in extra hours. This is very similar to holding only one individual stock in your portfolio. Sometimes it works out very well, many times it leads to disaster.

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Re: Question to retirees - money or work/life balance?

Post by bjames310 » Wed Aug 01, 2018 12:43 am

gouverneur wrote:
Tue Jul 31, 2018 9:07 pm
Lawyer here who left private law firms ("big law," in our jargon) for government work. No regrets despite the 60%+ haircut in pay. In certain high-paying but highly demanding careers (law, consulting, finance, tech) the marginal hours that the job consumes -- the 12th or 13th hour of work in a day -- are brutal. My wife and I actually made the jump at the same time, so even more of a decrease in pay. Nonetheless, we still live a comfortable life, still save a decent amount, and have a lot more time to travel and enjoy life.
How long were you in big law for? I’m going on nine years, thought I’d do it for two and get out, but am somehow still here and looking to lateral to a boutique where hours will be the same.

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Re: Question to retirees - money or work/life balance?

Post by carolinaman » Wed Aug 01, 2018 7:56 am

There can be wide extremes between these 2 ends of the spectrum. At one extreme, people are totally committed to their job, work long hours, deal with major stress and make more money (hopefully lots more money). At the other extreme, people choose a laid back job with no upward mobility, low stress, lower hours and lower pay. In reality, I think most people choose something between these extremes. Perhaps a job with manageable hours and stress with some upward mobility giving some quality of life.

In my career, I have seen some people who made a lot of money yet did not work long hours and did not seem to have that much job stress. I never figured out how they did it but my hat is off to them.

My major point is that it does not have to be all or no quality of life. Part of the challenge is managing yourself so that you do have some quality of life. If I were starting over, this is something I would work at harder. I believe I could have worked fewer hours (but never 40 hours a week) and it would have not made a material difference to my career.

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Re: Question to retirees - money or work/life balance?

Post by moehoward » Wed Aug 01, 2018 8:20 am

I chased the $$ the best I could and ended up with enough for retirement. It's not so much about work/life balance but the BS and politics you have to go through during your career. I could have worked longer but chose to retire and I have no regrets. I was actually invited to a sales meeting the day before I retired which was hosted by a regional manager. I kept raising my hand every time he asked, "are there any questions"? I was polite but was saying what everybody was thinking in the room. He came to me later and said I was only the second person he knew that retired from this company. (its a worldwide Fortune 500 company) I retired on my own terms.

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Re: Question to retirees - money or work/life balance?

Post by scrabbler1 » Wed Aug 01, 2018 9:14 am

In the late 1990s, when I hit my peak earnings, I wanted to recover my personal life. The commute was wrecking me and was going to get worse when my company actually relocated slightly further away. I had paid off my mortgage in 1998, so my expenses decreased a lot, enabling me to basically live off one biweekly paycheck per month. Working part-time instead of full-time, cutting my pay by 50%, was a good tradeoff.

I recovered a good part of my personal life, resurrecting some old hobbies and starting some new ones, restoring some work/life balance. It also put me on the path toward an early retirement. Seven years after switching to part-time work hours, I retired at age 45. That was 10 years ago and it was a terrific move.

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Re: Question to retirees - money or work/life balance?

Post by SQRT » Wed Aug 01, 2018 12:59 pm

I basically chased $$$ most of my career. Didn’t really have to sacrifice work/life balance too much to do so. Worked out quite well in my opinion. Retired at 56, 12 years ago. Very well funded retirement. Doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Balance is key. Life is a series of compromises. You need to be flexible but do what you think is important. Evertbody is different.

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Re: Question to retirees - money or work/life balance?

Post by Mjar » Wed Aug 01, 2018 1:03 pm

prudent wrote:
Tue Jul 31, 2018 7:29 pm
I'm not retired but I have intentionally limited my career path in order to have the work/life balance I wanted. Luckily it has worked out so far, it took some years before I realized things could have easily not gone well. But the various managers I worked for seemed pleased to have an outperformer in the roles I had. There was a point where more money wasn't worth the personal cost that the next step up meant. No regrets.
Same here. No desire to move up anymore.

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Re: Question to retirees - money or work/life balance?

Post by bltn » Wed Aug 01, 2018 1:06 pm

My first 20 years of work , I worked as hard as I could to accumulate the most financial security possible. I now regret not having more time with my family at that stage of my career, but my job was personally fulfilling as well as financially rewarding. The next 15 years I worked fewer hours for less income, but found that , with my family occupied with their busy lives, we didn't travel or participate in family projects much more than when I worked harder. I just came home a bit earlier at night and worked less on weekends. Being my own boss helped with my ability to enjoy certain times away from work.
My early accumulation in my career has resulted in a bigger nest egg than I might have had, and that is satisfying and the security feels good.
I guess I followed the old rules of working hard for a long time and living below my means to reach financial well being. Do I have any major changes I would have made for less financial security? No.

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Re: Question to retirees - money or work/life balance?

Post by Notgreg » Wed Aug 01, 2018 5:18 pm

This may be appear to be a more contrarian perspective than I mean it to be, but here’s something to consider: most with the good fortune to comment here have dodged (or nearly dodged) one of the outcomes that causes anxiety about this question in the first place: premature death.

My mother died at 44, and in hindsight was lucky to have privileged “balance” over advancement at work. It clearly isn’t rational to factor a statistically unlikely event too heavily into your decisions about how to live, and I try not to, but I think it’s reasonable to find a balance that allows you not to regret your choices if you hit your 40s or 50s only to learn that your ticket’s being punched early.

Delaying gratification that you can responsibly afford to indulge in may turn out just fine; it does for many. But there’s also life to live now, with the days you know you’ve got. Beyond a certain point, Time-for-money is a trade-off that involves considering risk tolerance too, I think. Which experiences are you willing to risk never getting?

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Re: Question to retirees - money or work/life balance?

Post by delamer » Wed Aug 01, 2018 6:36 pm

I had more work/life balance while my spouse tilted to more emphasis on work.

I am a big believer that adults need to be able to support themselves, but have no regrets about stepping back some to prioritize our family and kids.

If you are debating about stepping back to a $100,000 income from a $300,000 income, then that is a significant decision. Same if the difference is $50,000 versus $75,000. In my case, the extra $20,000 to $30,000 (pretax) or so just would not have made a big difference in our lifestyle and certainly has not affected our retirement adversely.

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Re: Question to retirees - money or work/life balance?

Post by racy » Wed Aug 01, 2018 6:55 pm

I worked for a worldwide megacorp which had a production facility in our 20,000 population mid-west town. I had opportunities to relocate to the coasts & climb the corporate ladder. I watched colleagues who chose this path. It seemed to me that their 'promotion' didn't cover the higher cost of living on the coast. And, commute times were 10X higher than mine, both ways! It wasn't for me. I'll bet I retired with as much, if not more dollars and certainly a better (in my mind) quality of life. I retired at 60, am living on a private gated-community lake...life if good! YMMV

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Re: Question to retirees - money or work/life balance?

Post by cs412a » Thu Aug 02, 2018 10:03 am

My dad had early onset Alzheimer’s in his late 50s, just when he and my mom were starting to enjoy life without the kids and the opportunity to travel. For most of his working life, he had worked long hours, holding down both a full and part-time job. Neither job was the type of work he would have chosen if he didn’t have a family; I think he would have much preferred to pursue a career as a writer or historian. And, needless to say, he didn’t make it to retirement.

In my own life, even before this event, I had focused on pursuing work that I loved - work that allowed me to be autonomous and to use my natural talents in satisfying ways. In my mid-30s, I became a single parent. So with this combination of circumstances, I never expected to make a great deal of money, and retirement was something I simply never thought about. After all, I was doing work I loved, and I expected to be able to do this sort of work (which was not physically demanding) for the rest of my life. What happened to my dad only confirmed to me that pursuing my own interests was a wise choice.

For most of my career, household income was well below the median - and I lived in areas (LA, NYC) where the cost of living was quite high. For quite a while, I combined part-time work in my chosen field with part-time work that used other, more in-demand skills. It was a struggle, but to me it was worth it.

So I was quite surprised to find in my late 50s that I had somehow accumulated more money than I ever dreamed I would have (I guess it tells you where I come from that I think in terms of “money” rather than “assets”). I am not a millionnaire, of course. But I had no idea that by living simply, avoiding debt, saving when I could, and leaving my tax-deferred investments alone, I would end up affluent. (I had no idea I’d retire, either - but that’s another story.)

How did this happen? First, my divorce settlement included three relatively small IRAs that I invested in 3 no load, actively managed mutual funds, one of which was the Dodge & Cox stock fund. My guiding principle had always been that savings were to be left alone - if I needed more money to live on, I just worked more hours rather taking money from savings. (Basically the same thing my dad did, although he worked more than one job because there were no savings to draw on.) So the IRA investments were allowed to compound over 20-30 years. Second, during the last phase of my career, when I was working full-time, having jobs in LCOL areas and a habit of living simply allowed me to save and invest almost half my salary. Third, I was extremely fortunate in that I was relatively healthy and hated going to the doctor. I always saw a doctor once a year for an annual physical, and a dentist once or twice a year for cleaning and checkups, but not much beyond that.

All three of the above are circumstances peculiar to me that would not necessarily be true for other people. So I can’t say I discovered a method of combining pursuit of one’s passions with accumulation of sufficient retirement assets - I know of a number of people who pursued work as a vocation who have been troubled by financial difficulties in their later years.

And, more to the point, my life was never balanced - it was all about raising my son and pursuing my work, which was an all-consuming passion. So I guess I don’t have much to offer regarding achieving a work/life balance. I never did.

But I can say that I have no regrets - I was fortunate in being able to do what I wanted to do. Now, in retirement, there are things I’d like to do, but no bucket list because I’ve already accomplished the things that were most important to me.

Short version: You can live a very unbalanced life and still be happy about the way things turn out.

But my advice to anyone would be to live simply and have a plan B, i.e., an alternative path that you can pursue. Life is unpredictable. If I hadn't been able to eventually find full-time work in my chosen field, I was prepared to get a job that used my more in-demand skills.

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corn18
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Re: Question to retirees - money or work/life balance?

Post by corn18 » Thu Aug 02, 2018 10:22 am

cs412a wrote:
Thu Aug 02, 2018 10:03 am
My dad had early onset Alzheimer’s in his late 50s, just when he and my mom were starting to enjoy life without the kids and the opportunity to travel. For most of his working life, he had worked long hours, holding down both a full and part-time job. Neither job was the type of work he would have chosen if he didn’t have a family; I think he would have much preferred to pursue a career as a writer or historian. And, needless to say, he didn’t make it to retirement.

In my own life, even before this event, I had focused on pursuing work that I loved - work that allowed me to be autonomous and to use my natural talents in satisfying ways. In my mid-30s, I became a single parent. So with this combination of circumstances, I never expected to make a great deal of money, and retirement was something I simply never thought about. After all, I was doing work I loved, and I expected to be able to do this sort of work (which was not physically demanding) for the rest of my life. What happened to my dad only confirmed to me that pursuing my own interests was a wise choice.

For most of my career, household income was well below the median - and I lived in areas (LA, NYC) where the cost of living was quite high. For quite a while, I combined part-time work in my chosen field with part-time work that used other, more in-demand skills. It was a struggle, but to me it was worth it.

So I was quite surprised to find in my late 50s that I had somehow accumulated more money than I ever dreamed I would have (I guess it tells you where I come from that I think in terms of “money” rather than “assets”). I am not a millionnaire, of course. But I had no idea that by living simply, avoiding debt, saving when I could, and leaving my tax-deferred investments alone, I would end up affluent. (I had no idea I’d retire, either - but that’s another story.)

How did this happen? First, my divorce settlement included three relatively small IRAs that I invested in 3 no load, actively managed mutual funds, one of which was the Dodge & Cox stock fund. My guiding principle had always been that savings were to be left alone - if I needed more money to live on, I just worked more hours rather taking money from savings. (Basically the same thing my dad did, although he worked more than one job because there were no savings to draw on.) So the IRA investments were allowed to compound over 20-30 years. Second, during the last phase of my career, when I was working full-time, having jobs in LCOL areas and a habit of living simply allowed me to save and invest almost half my salary. Third, I was extremely fortunate in that I was relatively healthy and hated going to the doctor. I always saw a doctor once a year for an annual physical, and a dentist once or twice a year for cleaning and checkups, but not much beyond that.

All three of the above are circumstances peculiar to me that would not necessarily be true for other people. So I can’t say I discovered a method of combining pursuit of one’s passions with accumulation of sufficient retirement assets - I know of a number of people who pursued work as a vocation who have been troubled by financial difficulties in their later years.

And, more to the point, my life was never balanced - it was all about raising my son and pursuing my work, which was an all-consuming passion. So I guess I don’t have much to offer regarding achieving a work/life balance. I never did.

But I can say that I have no regrets - I was fortunate in being able to do what I wanted to do. Now, in retirement, there are things I’d like to do, but no bucket list because I’ve already accomplished the things that were most important to me.

Short version: You can live a very unbalanced life and still be happy about the way things turn out.

But my advice to anyone would be to live simply and have a plan B, i.e., an alternative path that you can pursue. Life is unpredictable. If I hadn't been able to eventually find full-time work in my chosen field, I was prepared to get a job that used my more in-demand skills.
Thanks for this post. It sums up my working life up to today. I had to do right by my family and provide for them. That meant long hours and lots of moves. I was military so it also meant lots of deployments and time away from home. I loved my job and don't regret it for a moment.

At this stage in my life, I am not sure why I am working so hard. I think I am scared to slow down. I need to find a way to focus my energy on my wife and now dispersed family vs. the old way of heads down at work to provide for them. Now they need time, not money. Hmmmm....

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Re: Question to retirees - money or work/life balance?

Post by fourkids » Thu Aug 02, 2018 4:39 pm

I don't regret any time I spent in my 20's and early 30's getting ahead in my career. Working hard, getting promotions, going to grad school, putting in long hours... was all worth it. It got me many promotions and built towards a very good income. Even when I was working 60+ hours/week, I still had an active social life. When you are unmarried with no kids, there are LOTS of extra hours in the day.

Now in my 40's with a big family, I barely have 10 extra minutes/day to myself, and I wish I had some free time. But due to the sacrifices I made in my 20's and 30's, I'm able to have a good income and decent 40-50 hour workweeks

Now my question is do I want to retire early in a few years or go down to part-time now and work more years (so that I can have more time with my kids now). THAT is the really hard question.

Honestly, when I hear people in their 20's wanting more work/life balance, I kinda roll my eyes.

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GerryL
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Re: Question to retirees - money or work/life balance?

Post by GerryL » Thu Aug 02, 2018 5:22 pm

Check out Jack Bogle's little book titled "Enough."
Figure out what Enough is for you and then don't stress out about always trying to get More.

My weird story: I was fortunate to be happy with Enough and now, in retirement, find I have More than I ever expected or will need.

T4REngineer
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Re: Question to retirees - money or work/life balance?

Post by T4REngineer » Thu Aug 02, 2018 5:31 pm

Young , Single and No kids - What else do you plan to spend the time on?

Only partially kidding

More Please
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Re: Question to retirees - money or work/life balance?

Post by More Please » Thu Aug 02, 2018 9:11 pm

+1 Gerry L

TravelforFun
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Re: Question to retirees - money or work/life balance?

Post by TravelforFun » Thu Aug 02, 2018 11:34 pm

I have enough to retire but chose to work part time to keep me mentally sharp and luckily, I have accommodating boss and company that allowed me do it. I go into my office three days a week (Tuesday-Thursday), work with others, stay in touch with clients and consultants, hang out with the younger folks, hear their experience, and give them advice. This is the perfect work/life balance I think. I'm 66 now and will keep doing it as long as I can.

TravelforFun

Dandy
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Re: Question to retirees - money or work/life balance?

Post by Dandy » Fri Aug 03, 2018 7:45 am

I've always been pretty good at the work/life balance issue. Early in the accumulation stage I was a bit toward work/saving than enjoying life. I wanted to make sure I had a bit of a nest egg before changing my frugal aka cheap ways. Once married with children I kept the focus on savings but also made sure we had a nice vacation and the family got to enjoy life in other ways e.g. dance lessons,. Can't get those years back. Helped form great family bonds which have carried into our retirement.

The purpose of saving/investing really is to enjoy life, after basic needs are under control. In much of the accumulation years I under spent in upgrading our house/landscaping/cars etc. there are lots of pressure to keep up with the Jones that we tended to avoid. That helped us have life balance.

I know several people who got so caught up with work that they really missed their kids growing up and sharing their life. Their life was overly focused on work. They have expressed regret on not taking more time with their children and their lack of travel, etc. now that they are retired and have ample assets. It helps to have a spouse that is basically on the same page with spending and savings and will, on occasion, suggest loosing the purse strings to advance life balance.

In retirement I have gradually increase spending e.g. more eating out, an extra vacation, theater tickets, nicer/safer car, etc. As I write this work is being done on a kitchen upgrade (first in 44 years!) and I am looking forward to explore several national parks with a friend in September.

I can say I have almost no life/balance regrets and I don't think my wife and children have any either.

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Re: Question to retirees - money or work/life balance?

Post by SQRT » Fri Aug 03, 2018 8:30 am

You can frame the question for retirees in the current time frame as well. That is how do you balance spending/not spending in retirement to create a balance? The two extremes would be to spend too much and run out, or not spend enough and leave too much on the table. Similar issues I think?

I think about this question a lot. Retired 12 years, 68 years old.

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Re: Question to retirees - money or work/life balance?

Post by Golf maniac » Fri Aug 03, 2018 9:11 am

I look at it differently. I would call it chasing a “lifestyle “ not chasing money. We always lived well below our salary and retirement savings was the first priority over our lifestyle. So if I got a raise at least 50% went to retirement savings. I maxed out retirement savings as soon as I could. I had that mindset from 25 and it gave me the freedom to retire at 56. If you live a lifestyle of new cars, new houses, latest gadgets, lots of clothes and jewelry, you will always be chasing the money because you will never have enough. That will lead to an imbalance toward work and life balance will suffer.

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dwickenh
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Re: Question to retirees - money or work/life balance?

Post by dwickenh » Fri Aug 03, 2018 9:57 am

I was offered vertical moves several times in my career with mega insurance corp, but every time it required more time away from family
and friends including travel for extended periods. I was very happy with the position which allowed me to make my own schedule
and finish the day when my work was completed. I had more family time and overall satisfaction in life.

I never regretted the decision.

Dan
The market is the most efficient mechanism anywhere in the world for transferring wealth from impatient people to patient people.” | — Warren Buffett

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market timer
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Re: Question to retirees - money or work/life balance?

Post by market timer » Fri Aug 03, 2018 10:10 am

For people climbing the corporate ladder, I'm not sure money is the primary motivator. I suspect power, influence, new challenges, and winning "the game" are more powerful motivators.

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Re: Question to retirees - money or work/life balance?

Post by ColoradoNewBiker » Fri Aug 03, 2018 1:41 pm

Before I reach 2/3 of my goal for financially independent, I care less about work/life balance. After that tipping point, I probably don't care about promotion or money as much. To me, it's just how you spend your time in the life - getting intense life in the first half and then slow down to enjoy, or spread it as a not-so-quick life, given that you have a same goal of retirement asset.

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Re: Question to retirees - money or work/life balance?

Post by TexasCPA » Sat Aug 04, 2018 11:27 am

Thanks everyone for the great responses.

T4REngineer wrote:
Thu Aug 02, 2018 5:31 pm
Young , Single and No kids - What else do you plan to spend the time on?

Only partially kidding
As I mentioned, books, sports, and pursuing a family. No luck yet in meeting the right person!

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Re: Question to retirees - money or work/life balance?

Post by ChowYunPhat » Sun Aug 05, 2018 8:45 am

TexasCPA, can you share a little more about some of the choices you feel you might be making in the coming years? I could guess based on your moniker but would be great to get more of your perspective.
A wise man and his money are friends forever...

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Sheepdog
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Re: Question to retirees - money or work/life balance?

Post by Sheepdog » Sun Aug 05, 2018 9:34 am

Would it be enlightening to ask our family members this question after we are retired?
It's not what you gather, but what you scatter which tells what kind of life you have lived---Helen Walton

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Sandtrap
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Re: Question to retirees - money or work/life balance?

Post by Sandtrap » Sun Aug 05, 2018 9:48 am

TexasCPA wrote:
Tue Jul 31, 2018 6:57 pm
I have a question for some of the Boglehead retirees: was it worth chasing money and sacrificing work / life balance? For those who have done so, do you have any regrets? Likewise, for those who made decisions to limit their career earnings for the sake of their family, work / life balance, etc, do you have any regrets?

I'm still relatively young, single, and have no children. Within the next five years, however, I can see myself having to make some decisions that will lead towards different career paths. Some of these decisions may limit my career earnings but give me much for time to myself. I'm torn because I love working and making money, but I also want time to pursue things like books, sports, maybe a family, etc
Like "risk tolerance is to asset allocation". . so it is with "ambition and industry vs comfort zone and resilience".

Everyone is different. Background. Culture. Education. Temperament. Grit. (True Grit?)

So for some;
1. A 41 hour work week is 1 hour too much.
2. 1.5 days off a week is a half day too little.
3. 1.5 weeks vacation per year is .5 too little.
4. Anything less than a guaranteed monthly salary with benefits is not acceptable.

And for others;
The opposite and/or somewhere in between.

It has been said that a love of work and passion for industriousness is a virtue. But, that does not apply to everyone, neither good or bad.

Money will come to those with a passion for both avocation and vocation.
And, that passion will not be found on a spreadsheet or a book, but inside.
j

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Sandtrap
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Re: Question to retirees - money or work/life balance?

Post by Sandtrap » Sun Aug 05, 2018 9:51 am

dwickenh wrote:
Fri Aug 03, 2018 9:57 am
I was offered vertical moves several times in my career with mega insurance corp, but every time it required more time away from family
and friends including travel for extended periods. I was very happy with the position which allowed me to make my own schedule
and finish the day when my work was completed. I had more family time and overall satisfaction in life.

I never regretted the decision.

Dan
Wonderful!
j

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Re: Question to retirees - money or work/life balance?

Post by tibbitts » Sun Aug 05, 2018 10:04 am

TexasCPA wrote:
Sat Aug 04, 2018 11:27 am
Thanks everyone for the great responses.

T4REngineer wrote:
Thu Aug 02, 2018 5:31 pm
Young , Single and No kids - What else do you plan to spend the time on?

Only partially kidding
As I mentioned, books, sports, and pursuing a family. No luck yet in meeting the right person!
At some point before too long you may have to choose between having children by yourself or never having any at all. That may be a difficult decision.

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Re: Question to retirees - money or work/life balance?

Post by Clamshell » Sun Aug 05, 2018 10:08 am

Find out what you are good at and do more of that. As Scott Adams says, career success breeds true passion, not the other way around.
Develop a personal system, don't try having personal goals.
Save at least 10% of salary in 401K. And during the years of your career when you will have the least spending as a % of earnings, i.e. when career is in gear and kids are pre-teen, boost that to 15% minimum. Diversify your financial assets, nothing tricky.
Live modestly, marry someone who is likely to want to live modestly.
Always be learning stuff that they did not teach in college. I was engineering grad.
Take a cheap travel vacation each year.
The result of seeing your financial assets grow will help you make very easy the choices of work/life balance that will inevitably come your way.
(Worked for me. Still working full-time as consultant at age 69 though have ample assets cause I like the work)
Good luck.

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dwickenh
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Re: Question to retirees - money or work/life balance?

Post by dwickenh » Sun Aug 05, 2018 9:56 pm

Sandtrap wrote:
Sun Aug 05, 2018 9:48 am
TexasCPA wrote:
Tue Jul 31, 2018 6:57 pm
I have a question for some of the Boglehead retirees: was it worth chasing money and sacrificing work / life balance? For those who have done so, do you have any regrets? Likewise, for those who made decisions to limit their career earnings for the sake of their family, work / life balance, etc, do you have any regrets?

I'm still relatively young, single, and have no children. Within the next five years, however, I can see myself having to make some decisions that will lead towards different career paths. Some of these decisions may limit my career earnings but give me much for time to myself. I'm torn because I love working and making money, but I also want time to pursue things like books, sports, maybe a family, etc
Like "risk tolerance is to asset allocation". . so it is with "ambition and industry vs comfort zone and resilience".

Everyone is different. Background. Culture. Education. Temperament. Grit. (True Grit?)

So for some;
1. A 41 hour work week is 1 hour too much.
2. 1.5 days off a week is a half day too little.
3. 1.5 weeks vacation per year is .5 too little.
4. Anything less than a guaranteed monthly salary with benefits is not acceptable.

And for others;
The opposite and/or somewhere in between.

It has been said that a love of work and passion for industriousness is a virtue. But, that does not apply to everyone, neither good or bad.

Money will come to those with a passion for both avocation and vocation.
And, that passion will not be found on a spreadsheet or a book, but inside.
j
Great reply and very profound!!!
The market is the most efficient mechanism anywhere in the world for transferring wealth from impatient people to patient people.” | — Warren Buffett

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Re: Question to retirees - money or work/life balance?

Post by jlawrence01 » Sun Aug 05, 2018 10:13 pm

I never attained work-life balance.

When I was working, I probably spent too much time working.

However, when I hit age 53, I don't work at all. Yes it was worth it.

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beyou
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Re: Question to retirees - money or work/life balance?

Post by beyou » Sun Aug 05, 2018 10:18 pm

Make the money when you are young.
The working world has little use for older workers.
And building passive income for the future is what you’ll need. Work hard now.....none later.

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steve roy
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Re: Question to retirees - money or work/life balance?

Post by steve roy » Sun Aug 05, 2018 10:21 pm

Didn’t chase money but 1) did well enough and 2) worked until age 68, which also helped.

Some of where you end up is planning, and some is happy (or sometimes unhappy) circumstance.

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Re: Question to retirees - money or work/life balance?

Post by davidsorensen32 » Mon Aug 06, 2018 5:39 am

Chase money till you have $1M investable assets in your accounts. Then chase quality of life. Simple.

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steve roy
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Re: Question to retirees - money or work/life balance?

Post by steve roy » Mon Aug 06, 2018 11:44 am

blevine wrote:
Sun Aug 05, 2018 10:18 pm
Make the money when you are young.
The working world has little use for older workers.
And building passive income for the future is what you’ll need. Work hard now.....none later.
True that.

I worked in a business where the competition is intense and most people in it struggle to find work when they hit 55.

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