Author Topic: I'm losing perspective and need some feedback/advice  (Read 3969 times)

RusticBohemian

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I'm losing perspective and need some feedback/advice
« on: August 09, 2018, 07:14:54 PM »
I'd like some outside perspective because I feel like even the people I love and who really appreciate me don't get some aspects of how I live and the choices I've made. I've been living an unconventional life for many years now without much worry, but for some reason I've been questioning myself and my choices a lot lately, and I'd appreciate some Mustacian feedback on what I'm doing.

I'm 33 years old and haven't really worked hard or been stressed out for more than a few weeks at a time in about seven years. In 2011 I quit my job and went backpacking around Asia for a few years. Then there was the stint in South America and then Central America in-between trips around the US. These days I live in the US, and still do some traveling a few weeks to a month per year.

I own a very modest, fully-paid-off condo which obviously still requires HOA fees and taxes, but my expenses are minimal because that's how I've chosen to live.

I financed my earlier life on the road, and finance my life today, primarily by doing niche health coaching online. My clients value the work I do and I get a lot of satisfaction from helping people overcome their health challenges, but there's no question that I could be working a lot harder and making a lot more money, either this capacity or some other job I could get. I also have a side gig doing some fitness-teaching. I enjoy teaching and it makes me a small amount of money, but it's basically an excuse to travel around the world and meet fun people.

Last year I earned about $16,000 all told while working 15-25 hours a week. It was all unstressful and easy, and done whenever I wanted to do it, not when someone ordered me to do it - very different than my old job.

I have $32,000 saved in tax-advantaged retirement accounts, and another $3,000 in taxable investments. I have about $20,000 in savings/checking accounts.

I contribute $2400 a year to my retirement accounts (100% Vanguard total stock market index). I expect that, starting in three years, I will receive a gift of $3-6k per year, depending on market performance, as an "early inheritance," from my mom. I don't count on this as definite, but just noting. I'll invest this income in retirement if it does come.

I quit my job in 2011 for several reasons. First, I was incredibly stressed. Many people would find my old job to be stressful, but I've learned that I don't really cope well with bosses and deadlines, and after four years it was really taking a toll on me and my health. I was very unhappy, and had to escape.

After I quit, it took me a good six months just to unwind. I indulged in my desire to travel, and took up health coaching, which had been a hobby before, to be a traveling gig that could pay my way.

I had some money saved up, so when it came time to settle down a few years ago, I bought my condo.

I live an easy life. I do some good work that has meaning, but don't work too hard to be stressed. I take a lot of leisure/hobby time. I ride my bike, I keep fit, I see friends, I laugh. I feel like I'm already pretty much retired, thought certainly I'm not financially independent.

Things I need feedback on:

  • When I quit my job I imagined that I would eventually meet someone I wanted to marry, and maybe have a child. I thought that I'd then need to get another job to make more money to pay for an, "expanded life." But as time has gone on and I've never met anyone who was a serious contender for the long-term relationship crown, I've kind of just settled into my easy life. I don't want to really work at anything stressful again. As much as I'd like to meet a great woman to share my life with, I'm not sure it's worth taking on more stress for, if that's what it demanded. But I have to admit that I may be making myself into a weird hermit. I have plenty of friends, but perhaps I've become too weird for people who want standard relationships. Maybe this is just anxiety about me getting older without making any progress on the love front.
  • I sometimes worry about my finances. This https://engaging-data.com/fire-calculator/ fire calculator says that I can have $25k in income by the time I'm 67, even assuming no inheritance/gifts from my mom. Can some financial whizes check my assumptions? I don't feel an urge to rush to FIRE because my life is already good. I'd probably have less enjoyment from life if I ended up without any work to do. I just want a manageable and enjoyable work load.
  • I feel like sometimes maybe I should just take on some paid work to keep my mind fresh. Maybe just for perspective on why I don't want a job. Maybe I could even work some manual part time work. It would almost seem alien to have a job. Do FIRED people do this?
  • Sometimes I just walk around thinking that I'm missing something. That I'm making a mistake and won't be aware of it till it's too late. Do my actions sound reasonable?
  • If I end up receiving 3-6k per year from my mom in a few years, does it make the most sense to put it in a ROTH IRA, since I will not have to pay income tax on it, and it's more accessible there?
« Last Edit: August 09, 2018, 07:40:14 PM by RusticBohemian »

Simple Dad

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Re: I'm losing perspective and need some feedback/advice
« Reply #1 on: August 09, 2018, 07:37:25 PM »
The way I see it, if you are providing for yourself and not hurting anyone, do what your heart tells you to do.  If your desired lifestyle does not affect others in a negative way and you are not living off of someone else, enjoy.  If you are looking for something to do, you could work a part time job doing something you enjoy or you could volunteer your extra time.  Maybe you would meet someone at one of these places that has similar interests to you.

Spruit

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Re: I'm losing perspective and need some feedback/advice
« Reply #2 on: August 09, 2018, 10:43:47 PM »
Having parttime work / being self-employed and satisfied with a lesser workload seems totally fine to me. It really is a cultural thing what is considered normal. A lot of people work parttime where I'm from (I work 3 days a week, BF at 4 currently. Our Idea of FIRE is to both work 2-3 days, eventually). I would not want a spouse that demanded In work fulltime to sustain him, and that is vice versa. Women can work to sustain themselves too.

Things to ask yourself to see if you are "missing something":
- Is the work you do sustainable long term? (When you're older? When the economy tanks? If you have An accident or develop a disability etc). If not, either diversify your income or save/invest some extra for a rainy day. There's no rule that income has to come from a conventional job, though.

- If you keep doing what you're doing, do your savings eventually allow you to retire completely? At what age? And are you okay with that? It seems like the answer is yes; then that's fine! It does not have to be a race to FIRE.

I think even without a spouse your costs will change throughout life. If you are in the US, then healthcare needs are something to prepare for now that you are healthy and able.

MrFancypants

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Re: I'm losing perspective and need some feedback/advice
« Reply #3 on: August 09, 2018, 11:56:58 PM »
It seems like the pressure you're feeling comes from our consumerist cultural mindset via people who may not see any other way but that.

I think the bottom line here is that if you're happy, that's it...  you're happy.  You've had priceless experiences in life and you're able to make a living doing work that you find meaningful and satisfying.

A thought on relationships.....  you're doing it right.  You've very clearly expressed your values to us and what it is that makes you happy, so if at some point in your travels you stumble upon someone else who shares those same values, it'll be amazing.  Avoid the urge to settle, because that leads to the type of stress that you do not want.  That said, even in the best of circumstances you'll experience some stress, that's just how it goes as you grow with someone, but it's not the same as the stress you feel at a job you don't want to be at.

Malkynn

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Re: I'm losing perspective and need some feedback/advice
« Reply #4 on: August 10, 2018, 04:11:31 AM »
No, you aren’t missing anything.

Most people are terrible at being happy. If you are actually happy with what you are doing, then keep doing it.
I would encourage you to use your ample free time to learn other valuable skills so that you have multiple options for flexible work along the way, because that will give you even more freedom and flexibility in case your current work stops functioning for you. Beyond that though, it sounds like a great life.

FIRE is just an option. FI is a security blanket that a lot of people need before they feel comfortable to let themselves fully live. Some people don’t need that security blanket. It’s a personality thing.
That’s the beauty of frugality, it gives you the freedom to have those options.

So keep doing what you are doing. Settle down if the right person comes along, take a higher paying gig if the right gig comes along or something comes up that requires more money. Pivot and adapt as needed and keep focusing on living the way that you want to.

If you’re happy, the only thing you are missing is the fear-based thinking that most people have that holds them back from living that way.


Dave1442397

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Re: I'm losing perspective and need some feedback/advice
« Reply #5 on: August 10, 2018, 05:22:39 AM »
The Greek fisherman and the Harvard businessman

 

A boat docked in a tiny Greek village. An American tourist complimented the Greek fisherman who was resting in his boat on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took him to catch them.

“Not very long,” answered the Fisherman.

“Then, why didn’t you stay out longer and catch more?” asked the American.

The Fisherman explained that his small catch was sufficient to meet his needs and those of his family.

The American asked, “But what do you do with the rest of your time?”

“I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, and take a siesta with my wife. In the evenings I go into the village to see my friends, dance a little, drink a bit, and sing a few songs. I have a full life.” Said the Fisherman

The American interrupted, “I am a businessman and have an MBA from Harvard and I can help you. You should start by fishing longer every day. You can then sell the extra fish you catch and with the revenue, you can buy a bigger boat.

“What do I do then” asked the Fisherman?

“With the extra money the larger boat will bring, you can buy a second one and a third one and so on until you have an entire fleet of trawlers.  Instead of selling your fish to a middleman, you can negotiate directly with the processing plants and maybe even open your own plant” answered the Businessman.

“What do I do then” asked the Fisherman?

“You can then leave this little village and move to Athens, London or even New York City! From there you can direct your huge enterprise.”

“How long would that take?” asked the Fisherman.

“Twenty, perhaps twenty-five years,” replied the Businessman.

“And then what happens then?” asked the Fisherman

“That’s when it gets really interesting,” answered the Businessman, laughing. “When your business gets really big, you can start selling stocks and make millions!”

“Millions? Really? And after that?” asked the Fisherman

“After that you’ll be able to retire, live in a tiny village near the coast, sleep late, play with your grandchildren, catch a few fish, take a siesta with your wife, and spend your evenings singing, dancing, playing and drinking with your friends…”

“Which is exactly what I do already” replied the Fisherman (source unknown)

Mr. Green

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Re: I'm losing perspective and need some feedback/advice
« Reply #6 on: August 10, 2018, 06:08:35 AM »
OP, have you heard of Tynan (tynan.com)? Your story reminds me a lot of him. He's spent many years doing his own thing, living a low cost, unconventional to others, lifestyle. Maybe check out his blog.

I agree with Malkynn's comment about most people being terrible at being happy.

I saw this TedTalk on youtube a while back and it was a worthwhile dose of perspective from a man in a similar position as you. He had everything he needed in life and yet people were always trying to tell him he needed more. But he was happy with what he had. I highly recommend watching it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=21j_OCNLuYg&t=676s&list=FLcGTuE_LH1EtqQtLAirTDWA&index=5

Miss Piggy

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Re: I'm losing perspective and need some feedback/advice
« Reply #7 on: August 10, 2018, 08:49:15 AM »
Thanks for posting that video, Mr. Green. I think about that kind of thing every once in a while, when I think about how people like the Native Americans lived compared to how we live today. And I wonder what the hell we've done to ourselves and to the planet, primarily in the name of money. It's sad.

Lmoot

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Re: I'm losing perspective and need some feedback/advice
« Reply #8 on: August 10, 2018, 09:03:00 AM »
I’m your age and have gone through something similar. When I turned 30 I took an eight month hiatus from working full-time, and traveled in Africa. I didn’t do as much traveling as you and not long-term. Instead I came back to the states and maintained a part-time job and also a seasonal job, both doing things I enjoy and always wanted to try (work part time at a zoo, and as a seasonal tour guide for a local tourist attraction). To help finance this temporary lifestyle, before I quit my job I rented my house out to some coworkers, and stayed with family.

It was really nice to get a taste of a life without stress. I left a job that wasn’t particularly stressful, and yet it stressed me out. I didn’t get anything good out of it except the paycheck. And that is just not how I wanted to live. I have a job now that is full time, but allows me to set my own schedule and is not stressful at all (boring, but provides benefits including 401k matching), and I still work part time outdoors. Yes that eats up a lot of my time working full-time and working part time,  but I can still take a months vacation per year, and it feels good knowing I am providing for my future. I liked the low-key lifestyle, but found after some time that work-related stress was replaced by the stress of not being able to save as much money as I wanted to. Working didn’t bother me I found out; the job I left just wasn’t a good fit for me. I enjoy working hard, and then relaxing hard. So the plan is to do my boring job that allows me to work from home and watch Netflix, and have health insurance and provides 401k and HSA contributions, and do my fun job on the side that gets me out of the house and working around nature, and after I buy a second property to rent out, take another hiatus.

I get it though. In this world of expectations and routine, for those that are brave enough to craft their own life, it can be lonely.  Good news is, we are moving towards a more flexible work life balance era, so you are getting plenty of company more and more every day. I do sense that any disappointment you may feel, it’s related to maybe not earning as much as you thought you would be at this stage.  Perhaps for you it’s not working hard that is stressful, but the type of work. You mentioned you enjoyed the work you are doing, so perhaps you can find a bigger platform that will add more money, but not more stress. In my case, I am not much of an entrepreneur. I like working a boring, low-thought job at least in the meantime, which allows me the mind space to focus and do other things. The key for me is to always have something to look forward to. In this case I’m saving to buy that second property for more rental income, and I am looking forward to my next hiatus, which I hope to extend to 1 to 2 years.
« Last Edit: August 10, 2018, 09:08:41 AM by Lmoot »

Cezilous

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Re: I'm losing perspective and need some feedback/advice
« Reply #9 on: August 10, 2018, 09:25:45 AM »
Matt, is that you?!  :P

I’m not sure if this is what you are looking for..but:

<snip>
I live an easy life. I do some good work that has meaning, but don't work too hard to be stressed. I take a lot of leisure/hobby time. I ride my bike, I keep fit, I see friends, I laugh. I feel like I'm already pretty much retired, thought certainly I'm not financially independent.

You are where I am trying to get to.  Ideal.  I think you are living a noble life for yourself; you are living life the way (in my opinion) we should all be able to live life.  Hats off to you!

I think there has been a lot of good advice given above which I won’t repeat.  One thing stuck out to me that I’d like to ask you to just reflect on, either here or personally in your own time, wherever you are most comfortable.  I am 31 and am going through some tough times/third-life-crisis? type things, so I’ve been doing a LOT of reflection, soul work, mental re-wiring, etc.. and so here is what stuck out to me:

Sometimes I just walk around thinking that I'm missing something. That I'm making a mistake and won't be aware of it till it's too late. Do my actions sound reasonable?

Let’s try to narrow this down, so I apologize if you’re like “that’s what I don’t know!!” :) What do you think you are missing?  Do you think you are missing something completely money-related, or is it more or a purpose in life, or something else?  Is there anything that stands out that, when you do it, you wonder about something related?  What does it *feel* like?

Further: [What] mistake regarding [thing] do you think you are making?  Again, money related?  Life style related?  Relationship related?  Also, what/when will it be too late for [thing]?  Are you looking a year from now?  In fifty years?  Will it be too late to max our your Roth IRA for 35 years?  Will it be too late to go climb Everest?  Will it be too late to have children?  Will doing [thing] cause you unhappiness in the future?

Sometimes I feel like I have to hurry up!!!! And then I hurry through my [thing], I get super impatient, I get frustrated, and I wonder, what the heck did I hurry for?  It doesn’t matter for another..whatever, 40 years for [thing] or [this or that].  And then I caused myself all this ruckus for nothing, so it served me no purpose.

I hope that this helps.  :)

Also: I have been reading a very good book called A Guide to Compassionate Self-Discipline by Cheri Huber.  It’s a neat book that just makes you think about yourself and your habits and the things being wondered about in the head.  There’s the book, then after you read it, she has a 31-day writing and introspection challenge at the end that can be applied to almost anything you want to work on, to poke and prod your mental muscles.. I have found this so, so helpful.  It's a gentle book, too, which was good for me.

Lastly: On the love front..they'll come along.  Maybe the person is in a similar situation to you and is just trying to figure things out, too.

erutio

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Re: I'm losing perspective and need some feedback/advice
« Reply #10 on: August 10, 2018, 09:35:54 AM »
Quote
If I end up receiving 3-6k per year from my mom in a few years, does it make the most sense to put it in a ROTH IRA, since I will not have to pay income tax on it, and it's more accessible there?

Just FYI, you can only contribute to a Roth if you have earned income for the year. 
Money is fungible, so it doesn't matter the actual source, but you can only contribute up to your total earned income for the year or $5500, whatever is lower.

RedmondStash

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Re: I'm losing perspective and need some feedback/advice
« Reply #11 on: August 10, 2018, 10:21:43 AM »
A few thoughts:

If you're questioning yourself, it sounds like you're not that happy anymore. If that's true, it could be for a variety of reasons. People generally aren't happy all the time; happiness is a transient state. So it might just be a normal fluctuation that doesn't mean change is called for.

But it could also mean that something meaningful is missing from your life. It sounds like you enjoy your work and find meaning in it. But is there something else that you really want to try or do, whether work or leisure? Is there a place where you want to volunteer? Is there a cause you want to put some muscle behind? Or do you feel your life has all the meaning that you need it to?

You might also just be lonely for a romantic relationship; it happens. I don't know if there are Mustachian meet-ups in your area, but if there aren't, maybe you could start one? If nothing else, you might meet local like-minded people to enlarge the circle of people who find what you're doing normal and not weird.

It's possible seeing a counselor for a little while might help you zero in on whatever is unsettling you. Sometimes it's hard to tease that out on your own.

Good luck.

Catbert

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Re: I'm losing perspective and need some feedback/advice
« Reply #12 on: August 10, 2018, 11:36:40 AM »
Having parttime work / being self-employed and satisfied with a lesser workload seems totally fine to me. It really is a cultural thing what is considered normal. A lot of people work parttime where I'm from (I work 3 days a week, BF at 4 currently. Our Idea of FIRE is to both work 2-3 days, eventually). I would not want a spouse that demanded In work fulltime to sustain him, and that is vice versa. Women can work to sustain themselves too.

Things to ask yourself to see if you are "missing something":
- Is the work you do sustainable long term? (When you're older? When the economy tanks? If you have An accident or develop a disability etc). If not, either diversify your income or save/invest some extra for a rainy day. There's no rule that income has to come from a conventional job, though.

- If you keep doing what you're doing, do your savings eventually allow you to retire completely? At what age? And are you okay with that? It seems like the answer is yes; then that's fine! It does not have to be a race to FIRE.


I think even without a spouse your costs will change throughout life. If you are in the US, then healthcare needs are something to prepare for now that you are healthy and able.

This.  Also is the 25K in income at 67 inflation adjusted?   If not, 25K will be nothing in 35 years.

mozar

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Re: I'm losing perspective and need some feedback/advice
« Reply #13 on: August 10, 2018, 12:22:28 PM »
How can I get into health coaching? I was let go from my corporate job 6 months ago. The only thing I have done is volunteer at a summer camp for a week. I can't imagine going back to office politics, deadlines that are we are just going to blow past anyway, being required to be in an office for 40 hours and having very little control of my schedule. People who are close to my age (30's) are supportive but my older relatives think I'm nuts. I think more and more people are starting to realize that working that much isn't worth it.

I also feel pressure to have a "plan". screw people and their plans. I have no plans.

Kay-Ell

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Re: I'm losing perspective and need some feedback/advice
« Reply #14 on: August 10, 2018, 12:37:12 PM »
Your situation reminded me a lot of one of the recent MMM blog posts about Money and Confidence being interchangeable, and his conclusion that having the confidence in his own abilities to support himself and his family through flexible meaningful work would have allowed him to walk away from his engineering job earlier.  And that the need to emass 25x expenses, is really more of a safety blanket.  https://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2018/03/09/money-and-confidence-are-interchangeable/

I'm among the voices who see nothing wrong with working less, earning less and spending less with the goal of living more.  I also semi-retired with a modest amount of passive income from rental properties and have continued to work on contracts.  Thus gaining myself a lot more flexibility.  And for what it's worth, I am a single parent, who definitely wouldn't trade my flexible schedule for more buying power in a consumer culture.

A couple of points of discussion that I'd add (or echo) are:

Is your fitness consulting income subject to Social Security?  If not, I might look into earning part time, seasonal wages up to your 40 quarters so that you have an added income stream come traditional retirement age.

Understand that there are plenty of women who would be attracted to you because, not in spite, of your alternative lifestyle.  There are a lot of free spirited women who would rather backpack across the world than buy a McMansion.  The fact that you own your condo outright, have savings, and make enough to support your modest lifestyle puts you in a more desireable category than the guys making six figures, working all day, and spending 110% of their income each year on cheap thrills.  So if and when you're ready to put yourself out there, do so with confidence, and be willing to hold out for women that share your values.

Have you thought about taking seasonal work, in something active and outdoorsy?  It might be a really good way to earn a little extra cash, add a quarter to your SS wages every year, and do something fun and challenging.

sui generis

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Re: I'm losing perspective and need some feedback/advice
« Reply #15 on: August 10, 2018, 12:38:44 PM »
I agree with all here that a lot of your questioning is our insidious culture rearing its ugly head and that people are bad at being happy.  But I think it's a good thing that you are introspective and thoughtful about it and seek others' perspective.  It sounds like you are, on the whole, quite happy with where you are right now and where you are headed as well.  That may change, and as long as you keep asking yourself the questions, you'll be prepared to start changing when and if the time ever comes.  And if you do change in the future, just because you do (let's say) decide you want a high stress job making tons of money, that doesn't mean you were doing it wrong before and you should not have wasted years doing what you're doing now.  An urge to change may come (or may not) and you will be well-served by your thoughtfulness about all this and able to respond more agilely to keep pursuing a life consistent with your values.  Good job and best of luck on your continued path!

Hirondelle

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Re: I'm losing perspective and need some feedback/advice
« Reply #16 on: August 10, 2018, 12:45:29 PM »
OP, have you heard of Tynan (tynan.com)? Your story reminds me a lot of him. He's spent many years doing his own thing, living a low cost, unconventional to others, lifestyle. Maybe check out his blog.

I agree with Malkynn's comment about most people being terrible at being happy.

I saw this TedTalk on youtube a while back and it was a worthwhile dose of perspective from a man in a similar position as you. He had everything he needed in life and yet people were always trying to tell him he needed more. But he was happy with what he had. I highly recommend watching it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=21j_OCNLuYg&t=676s&list=FLcGTuE_LH1EtqQtLAirTDWA&index=5

Wow. That video is amazing and he's so right. We people have made things incredibly complicated.

Re OP: Sorry I have nothing to say but that it sounds like you've already lived an amazing life so far and that you're kinda rocking your low-key lifestyle and act responsible about it. Hard to say how to solve the 'missing' part.

Fish Sweet

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Re: I'm losing perspective and need some feedback/advice
« Reply #17 on: August 10, 2018, 12:52:04 PM »
A lot of other posters covered the fact that you seem to be doing really great for yourself right now, and that you shouldn't let the capitalist consumer narrative of WORK WORK WORK SPEND SPEND SPEND color your current satisfaction with life.  HOWEVER... it also does sound like you're living a very "Here and Now" kind of life, with only some general planning for the future, and that could be either unsustainable or causing your some anxiety right now, which makes perfect sense.  Here's a very useful principle that I heard from an advice column:

If things go exactly the way they are going right now, where do you see yourself in...

...3 Years?

...10 Years?

...25 years?

Do you see yourself living the same kind of life, in the same kind of environment, working about the same amount and living on the same amount of money?  Do you see yourself wanting a change or a break or a new direction in a few years?  Do you want a romantic partner who is interested in living the kind of life (frequent travel, low expenses, easy going floater) or would you actually prefer to be with someone on a different life and career track?  Do you want kids down the line? Do you want to be mostly solo?  Do you want a big community of family and found family?

If this life sounds like your ideal til the end of your days, then that's fantastic!  You've landed your ideal life, hopefully forever.  But if the current status quo may not be sustainable for monetary or personal reasons down the line, then I would start taking steps right now to begin reorienting your life toward the "future" you want.

This could mean a lot of different things, so there are just a few possible examples.
- Taking on a few more work hours every week (say... 5-10) so you can sock away more money in tax deferred accounts/in case of dire emergency/ease the anxiety that your current path is not going to be sustainable
- More aggressively pursuing romance, if being partnered up is more important to you
- Participating more in community hobbies, events, establishing connections and finding people who make up Your Tribe, who can be your support and vice versa
- Learning new languages, crafts, and skills, both for your own enjoyment and to have a fallback in case you find yourself needing to make another change in career
- And so many more...

Mr. Green

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Re: I'm losing perspective and need some feedback/advice
« Reply #18 on: August 10, 2018, 02:59:29 PM »
Is your fitness consulting income subject to Social Security?  If not, I might look into earning part time, seasonal wages up to your 40 quarters so that you have an added income stream come traditional retirement age.

Have you thought about taking seasonal work, in something active and outdoorsy?  It might be a really good way to earn a little extra cash, add a quarter to your SS wages every year, and do something fun and challenging.
I highly recommend everyone work the minimum number of credits required to earn Social Security at retirement, unless there is another vehicle they can reliably expect to be there for them, like a pension. It doesn't take much to qualify (4 credits/year @ $1,300 in income per credit, 40 credit total needed) and it guarantees a minimal income that is enough to live off of. It won't be living high on the hog but it's a program that will be there (despite what some think) regardless of our individual decisions, whereas fortunes can be spent. It really is a phenomenal safety net when one considers how little is required to qualify, and I believe it's really undervalued in that respect.

undercover

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Re: I'm losing perspective and need some feedback/advice
« Reply #19 on: August 10, 2018, 03:48:14 PM »
If you enjoy your work and aren't stressed then I think you're fine. Life is about balance and it seems like you've figured out what makes you happy which is great. I actually wouldn't worry about a scenario of "shit hitting the fan" as some people would probably advise you to because there's always a way out. Life's too short to plan for everything that could go wrong and even when it does it's usually never as bad as it seems.

It's also useful to put things into context. The lives we're living today weren't even possible just a relatively short time ago. If something bad happens - so what? There's zero chance you would have lived the life you're living without being born into wealth versus having the chance now to live the life you want to live while you can. Live it up!

I guess the only thing I'd do in your shoes is commit to working hard for at least five years, stashing everything you possibly can away and then coasting from there. I'd want a good $100-200k working for me personally before I decided to take low paying part time work. You also want to get your SS credits as others have mentioned.
« Last Edit: August 10, 2018, 03:50:45 PM by undercover »

flower_girl

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Re: I'm losing perspective and need some feedback/advice
« Reply #20 on: August 11, 2018, 05:54:16 AM »
To me you sound happy but also a little - maybe unfulfilled in another way, to be honest.   Could you be a bit bored?  Needing more of a challenge?  Maybe take something else on in addition to what you enjoy now?  Set a few more goals?  New accomplishments?

Also, in this day and age I'd advise only marrying someone who brings as much as you do to the table financially if at all possible.

Very best wishes to you.

Hargrove

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Re: I'm losing perspective and need some feedback/advice
« Reply #21 on: August 11, 2018, 12:17:06 PM »
I highly recommend everyone work the minimum number of credits required to earn Social Security at retirement, unless there is another vehicle they can reliably expect to be there for them, like a pension. It doesn't take much to qualify (4 credits/year @ $1,300 in income per credit, 40 credit total needed) and it guarantees a minimal income that is enough to live off of. It won't be living high on the hog but it's a program that will be there (despite what some think) regardless of our individual decisions, whereas fortunes can be spent. It really is a phenomenal safety net when one considers how little is required to qualify, and I believe it's really undervalued in that respect.

You definitely could not live off the minimum... way too many "0" entries in your annual income. Non-Mustachians can't live off the 30-year minimum.

OP: do you feel you're missing out on "finding someone" or are you taking advice to the effect? And does it matter? Would you do anything particularly different to meet the person who would be compatible with you?

I always found "the clock is ticking" advice from relatives absurd. It's true, but it's irrelevant - desperately looking for healthy relationships doesn't produce healthy relationships. Being the best version of you does.

Mr. Green

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Re: I'm losing perspective and need some feedback/advice
« Reply #22 on: August 11, 2018, 07:06:31 PM »
I highly recommend everyone work the minimum number of credits required to earn Social Security at retirement, unless there is another vehicle they can reliably expect to be there for them, like a pension. It doesn't take much to qualify (4 credits/year @ $1,300 in income per credit, 40 credit total needed) and it guarantees a minimal income that is enough to live off of. It won't be living high on the hog but it's a program that will be there (despite what some think) regardless of our individual decisions, whereas fortunes can be spent. It really is a phenomenal safety net when one considers how little is required to qualify, and I believe it's really undervalued in that respect.

You definitely could not live off the minimum... way too many "0" entries in your annual income. Non-Mustachians can't live off the 30-year minimum.

OP: do you feel you're missing out on "finding someone" or are you taking advice to the effect? And does it matter? Would you do anything particularly different to meet the person who would be compatible with you?

I always found "the clock is ticking" advice from relatives absurd. It's true, but it's irrelevant - desperately looking for healthy relationships doesn't produce healthy relationships. Being the best version of you does.
SSI would kick in if you only earned the minimum. So that's $770/month in 2018. You'd also qualify for basicslly every assistance progarm there is. HUD housing, food stamps, Medicaid, low income energy assistance, low income property tax waiver if you own your own house, free Obamaphone, low income internet if available. It's how my dad lives now, and he does alright. I'm not saying it's a great living but that's basically worst case scenario.

onlykelsey

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Re: I'm losing perspective and need some feedback/advice
« Reply #23 on: August 11, 2018, 07:10:58 PM »
Is your fitness consulting income subject to Social Security?  If not, I might look into earning part time, seasonal wages up to your 40 quarters so that you have an added income stream come traditional retirement age.

Have you thought about taking seasonal work, in something active and outdoorsy?  It might be a really good way to earn a little extra cash, add a quarter to your SS wages every year, and do something fun and challenging.
I highly recommend everyone work the minimum number of credits required to earn Social Security at retirement, unless there is another vehicle they can reliably expect to be there for them, like a pension. It doesn't take much to qualify (4 credits/year @ $1,300 in income per credit, 40 credit total needed) and it guarantees a minimal income that is enough to live off of. It won't be living high on the hog but it's a program that will be there (despite what some think) regardless of our individual decisions, whereas fortunes can be spent. It really is a phenomenal safety net when one considers how little is required to qualify, and I believe it's really undervalued in that respect.
I got a letter when I was like.... 22?? saying I was eligible.  Apparently work done as a teenager (above the table) counts. It's pretty easy to hit the minimum, it seems.

Hargrove

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Re: I'm losing perspective and need some feedback/advice
« Reply #24 on: August 11, 2018, 09:38:50 PM »
SSI would kick in if you only earned the minimum. So that's $770/month in 2018. You'd also qualify for basicslly every assistance progarm there is. HUD housing, food stamps, Medicaid, low income energy assistance, low income property tax waiver if you own your own house, free Obamaphone, low income internet if available. It's how my dad lives now, and he does alright. I'm not saying it's a great living but that's basically worst case scenario.

Ah, you said "at retirement" and I was thinking more "whenever that is" and you were thinking "at 65."

Also, I didn't realize SSI was automatic. As long as you don't need it before 65, that's probably the strongest safety net we have.

DreamFIRE

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Re: I'm losing perspective and need some feedback/advice
« Reply #25 on: August 12, 2018, 10:19:03 AM »
SSI is not funded by SS taxes, it's not the same thing as SS.

SS doesn't have a 30 year minimum, it's 40 quarters, which can be completed as quickly as 10 consecutive years.

The SS benefit is calculated on the highest 35 years of inflation adjusted income.  If there were less than 35 years with income, then income is $0 for those non-income years for the benefit calculation.

BicycleB

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Re: I'm losing perspective and need some feedback/advice
« Reply #26 on: August 14, 2018, 01:35:19 PM »
@RusticBohemian, there may be a couple of things that you are missing - even though your current life sounds lovely!

1. Lots of people like to get health coaching from young people who seem healthy, pleasant and in many cases attractive. If that tendency is an unrecognized part of how your business operates, the pleasant income could melt away as you age, or at least be harder to achieve - more "work", in other words, if you can obtain it at all. It would be wise to reach FI in a finite time such as 10 years if you can. Perhaps you really should experiment with side jobs and/or more hours to build your stash a little faster.

2. Finding a partner for lasting love is an uncertain quest, and everyone is different. You may be on a perfect path for the right person... but perhaps, like me recently, you meet a wonderful person later in life who is not as financially secure as you are. In that case, having extra $ would make it easier to sustain a joint life that is pleasing to both parties. I can't say that you should abandon your charmed existence for a life of gruesome toil just to prepare for this long shot, but accelerating the savings if you can does give you more options.

3. Sometimes markets change. Your current work may disappear for reasons other than mere age. I don't want to be scary, or again to lead you to abandon your wonderful balance; I just suppose that reaching FI sooner rather than later is wise if you can do it. Perhaps experiment with Stoic concepts while doing tweaks or explorations in the areas of side jobs and/or moderately expanding your current practice.

TL;DR - while you're young and healthy, can you achieve 50% savings rate from your work instead of 20% or so, by undertaking small Stoic discomforts yet retaining your joyous balance?

Like the other posters, I want to congratulate you on your thoughtful path to date.
« Last Edit: August 14, 2018, 01:37:16 PM by BicycleB »

mrsmeganmustache

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Re: I'm losing perspective and need some feedback/advice
« Reply #27 on: August 14, 2018, 01:59:48 PM »
It sounds to me like you may have a pattern of choosing to avoid possible stress at the expense of experiencing positive, life enhancing things. Sometimes stress can be a healthy part of a pathway to meaningful things in life. Other times it is not, and avoidance is good. I would double check that you are making choices in accordance with your values and life goals and not just out of fear/discomfort with temporary stress and/or due to lack of skills to manage stress.

mm1970

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Re: I'm losing perspective and need some feedback/advice
« Reply #28 on: August 14, 2018, 02:16:37 PM »
SSI is not funded by SS taxes, it's not the same thing as SS.

SS doesn't have a 30 year minimum, it's 40 quarters, which can be completed as quickly as 10 consecutive years.

The SS benefit is calculated on the highest 35 years of inflation adjusted income.  If there were less than 35 years with income, then income is $0 for those non-income years for the benefit calculation.
It's funny how this post leads me to the SS page, which leads me to the Northern Mariana Islands Wikipedia page.  I learned things today!

PJC74

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Re: I'm losing perspective and need some feedback/advice
« Reply #29 on: August 14, 2018, 02:37:50 PM »
I'm married with 4 young kids. There are some days I would trade my life for yours in a heartbeat :)