I’ve talked about this in bit and pieces under the Goals category, but I thought I should organize our life goals into one post. Hopefully, this will outline our priorities and shed some light on why we choose to do the things we do.
First, I’d like offer what I am afraid people think our life goals are:
- Find the highest paying job possible. Work long hours, but tolerate it for the money.
- Live a very spartan lifestyle, with minimal luxuries and worrying about money constantly.
- At age 65, abruptly stop working so hard, finally relax and begin enjoying our life. Hopefully live long enough to enjoy this period.
In fact, that’s not what we want at all:
Actual Goal #1 – Finding A Job That Fits
If your going to spend almost 50% of every weekday doing something, shouldn’t you enjoy it? Sure, even great jobs have their challenges – bureaucracy, boring meetings, office politics, the occasional annoying co-worker. But finding a job where you don’t dread getting out of bed in the morning was a huge priority for me. It took a few different degree programs, a couple of resignations, some stressful interviews, and several rejections, but we are definitely making progress in finding work that is challenging, enjoyable, and reasonably well-compensated.
I would also add that having a simple lifestyle initially allowed us to take some risks in order to get where we are now.
Actual Goal #2 – Less Work, More Life
People talk about not wanting to look back and wish they spent more money and had more fun. I’m afraid of the latter, but don’t see how it relates to the former. I’m not afraid of that at all. I’m afraid of looking back and spending all of it working. I like working, but I also like a lot of other things as well.
What if you could get by with working only 20 hours a week? Right now we work full-time jobs, but from age 35-55 we hope to only work about half-time. This means we are trying to construct a lifestyle where we spend less than 50% of our take-home, including saving for retirement. That way, we can spend more time raising kids (possibly), running around with our dog, and whatever else we want. This is what we are saving for. We want freedom, not stuff.
Actual Goal #3 – Our “Retirement” Plans
When I envision our retirement, I don’t really have a date in mind, and I don’t see myself playing golf or sipping margaritas. It will be more of a gradual move towards even less work, and more freedom.
Ironically, in my “retirement”, I still see myself working here and there. I like the idea of trying out different jobs – barista, airline employee, real estate agent, craft maker – just to see what it’s like and maybe qualify for perks like free flights or group health insurance. Traveling about 2 months out of the year would be nice. Starting my own non-profit organization with a local focus. Building a Factory Five kit car with a donor car scavenged from the local junkyard.
So, those are the priorities we are working towards. Are yours similar? Or completely different?