Author Topic: Requesting Some Insight  (Read 2858 times)

Freedom Invested

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Requesting Some Insight
« on: March 31, 2017, 06:30:50 PM »
Lately I have been cruising the forums to try to find some inspiration and motivation and an answer to this question:

After one has dialed in their lifestyle and investment rate to 65%+ after tax, formed a decent investment strategy utilizing HSAs, IRAs, 401ks, 403bs, brokerage accounts , etc., and does not have a strong desire for additional lifestyle inflation (in additional $ cost)... what does one do?

It seems as though I am just waiting to retire with life on auto pilot. But what's next before then and after then really? The motivation that led me to where I am is not there. I feel bored. What more do I need?

Purchase real estate to keep me busy? Side hustle? More meaningful hobbies? Maybe learn something more challenging like a new language? One friend suggested I owe it to the world to have a kid (We're maybe 30% in favor 70% against this idea). What did you do? What am I missing?

Additional details:

I worked very hard to attain a master's degree in STEM that has lead me to a lucrative field reaching a six figure salary this year within a short time frame after school.

I bike, work out, hang out with the wife, video game, have meaningful relationships, but I'm still bored. Maybe it is okay being bored? Thanks for reading.

dess1313

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Re: Requesting Some Insight
« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2017, 07:19:07 PM »
being bored can be okay at times.  but if you were to say fast forward to retirement, what would you do?  if you're already bored now while working, what will you do then?  you could look up new hobbies for sure.  travel.  read.  all of these things can be done in retirement AND before retirement.  a lot of people leave jobs at retirement and its like a vacuum opened up and they have no clue how to fill that void. 

no two people will have the same answer to this.  some travel.  some read.  some hike.  some golf.  some knit.  you need to find something in life that interests you.  look around your town for intro to ____ hobby courses/programs.  try it out for a night or two.  or a few weeks.  see if you like it.  got anything on your bucket list?  work towards one of those ideas/goals.  reasonable fun doesn't have to wait till retirement.  especially if you decide to live the DINK lifestyle

Freedom Invested

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Re: Requesting Some Insight
« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2017, 07:38:57 PM »
Thank you. Your advice is good and logical. No two people are alike and I can work towards more fulfillment right now by considering the problem a bit more.

I do feel somewhat selfish not feeling fulfilled given I have had such great opportunities. Perhaps I should do more to give back?

So... a primary thing on my bucket list is to set foot on every continent. Perhaps I could couple that with helping people in some way.

Laura33

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Re: Requesting Some Insight
« Reply #3 on: April 01, 2017, 07:19:08 AM »
FWIW, I think where you are and the questions you are asking are totally normal.  Most of our young life is always about planning for the future -- what degree, what career, what relationship, do I want kids, do I want to own a home, how long do I want to work, etc.  There is this sort of feeling that there is a definable future time at which Things shall be achieved and all will fall into place.

The problem is when you are taught that life is a series of milestones/achievements, what do you when you have achieved the milestones that were laid out in front of you?  You can feel empty, adrift, bored.  So most people just add on new goals -- the next promotion, the bigger house, etc.  But then what do you do when you get there?  Rinse, repeat.

The good news is that you seem to be figuring this out early on in life; better now than after, say, 25 years of work and kids and mortgages and all (ask me how I know).  So my advice is for you to take the next six months or a year or whatever to figure out:  what brings joy and meaning to your life?  Not money/raises, not achievements, not more goals (that's just trading one empty chase for another).  But where do you feel most alive?  What makes you feel most engaged, like your talents are being fully utilized, and you are learning and growing?  What do you value most?  If you RE today, what would you do with the rest of your life?

There's no right answer here -- just yours. 

matchewed

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Re: Requesting Some Insight
« Reply #4 on: April 01, 2017, 07:54:25 AM »
So if you're feeling like you are living an unfulfilled life define what a fulfilled life is and move towards living it.

Also - "Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water."
« Last Edit: April 01, 2017, 08:01:44 AM by matchewed »

Freedom Invested

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Re: Requesting Some Insight
« Reply #5 on: April 01, 2017, 08:25:12 AM »
Thank you for the additional comments. The common trend here I see is to identify what fulfilled/joyful/engaged are for me. I'll keep trying to figure that out.

FIREby35

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Re: Requesting Some Insight
« Reply #6 on: April 01, 2017, 08:36:08 AM »
OP - I think I totally understand you. I'm at the same point and have even seen the "auto-pilot" savings turn into a huge stash unexpectedly fast. At least for me, that adds another level of, "what am I even doing."

Anyway, after rolling this around in my head I have come to the conclusion that yes, "This is all there is in life." By that I mean, what else is there? Travel a little. Read a little (or, for me, a lot). Hang out with family and friends. Watch my three kids grow up. I continue to work because I am the business owner and can make all the rules. I've taken up gardening. I'm sure there will be some new hobby in the future. Yeah, that is basically it. There is no more big mystery about life.

I really like the prior poster's point that while we are younger we are always building for some future time when everything will be accomplished. I went to law school - seven years of building for something more and deferring today for tomorrow. Now seven years of saving, deferring today for tomorrow again. Now today is tomorrow. I've arrived at "tomorrow" very early in life. I, for one, have never lived in "tomorrow" and I'm doing my best to learn how.

In some ways that makes me feel "bored." I mean, I'll be reading, traveling, being with friends and family, and working for the next few decades. It will be variations on the same theme repeated over and over and over.

On the other hand, I feel content. I see some friends who have "made it" but they don't know it. They are stressed out because they have mental illusions they are chasing. A bigger house. More money (they can't spend because they are to busy working). Whatever. Chasing one illusion after another and always feeling a little unsatisfied when they seize their prize. They think, "This is what I was chasing? It was supposed to be more!" As said above, imagine waking up two decades in the future to that realization.

I will say, I've given myself some big goal to chase. But, I'm chasing it just for fun. I know there is no inherent value to the goal except that is an enjoyable way pass the time. I'll have some satisfaction just from completing a task I set out for myself. If, for any reason, I feel like this goal isn't serving its purpose of being a fun, worthwhile way to pass the time - I'll drop it like it's hot.

So, yeah. Long way of saying, "I hear ya." Your new challenge in life is simply finding enjoyable ways to pass the time - for decades.

P.S. Watch the movie, "Midnight in Paris." It always makes me think of this feeling.

spokey doke

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Re: Requesting Some Insight
« Reply #7 on: April 01, 2017, 08:38:40 AM »
I think that lots of people go through this...they find MMM, get motivated and make great changes and are excited about the prospects, but then keep looking for/expecting something more (and so hang around on this forum...wait, why am I still here?). 

But the show is elsewhere...in your life, with the people in it, your interests and projects, etc.. If you have your finances on track, one of the big pay-offs is NOT having to worry about and fuss over them all the time (but if you really like doing that, great).  The expectations of many seem to not be so well aligned with the nature of this particular beast.

Ocinfo

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Re: Requesting Some Insight
« Reply #8 on: April 01, 2017, 08:42:25 AM »
Thank you for the additional comments. The common trend here I see is to identify what fulfilled/joyful/engaged are for me. I'll keep trying to figure that out.

I'm in pretty much the same place you are. I grew up poor and focused on getting to a place where lack of money wouldn't be a constraint. This means most decisions over the last 10 years have been driven by making money. Now, everything is on cruise control and FI is just a matter of time and going through the motions.

I travel and generally enjoy my job but don't really have goals like I once did. All of life's big milestones have already been passed (degrees, already work at likely the best company for my profession, etc.) or aren't on my list (e.g., don't want kids). I'm only 31 and basic goal is just keep going for a few more years until I'm actually FI. The stage between knowing you will be (pressure is off) and actually being seems the roughest so far.

Once I'm FI, I might end up starting a company or buying another rental or two. Maybe the answer is to do that sooner?


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FIFoFum

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Re: Requesting Some Insight
« Reply #9 on: April 01, 2017, 09:06:22 AM »
There is a difference between being happy and fulfilled. I think part of the challenge is realizing that there are things that will leave you fulfilled that require you to not be happy (or even comfortable) every minute of every day. This is a universal struggle - there is no one magic answer & billions of dollars are spent seeking it out. Somewhere along the way, we need to find peace with being exactly where we are, independent of someone else's gold star or cookie, without losing the interest or motivation to do/be more.

Giving to others and being of service to others is one path to fulfillment. However, there is a gap between things that can actually make the biggest difference (e.g., ethical altruism) and things that will give you a personal sense of fulfillment (e.g., making a different to 1 person or a small group). For people who like MMM-type of thinking, this can be a tough balance to achieve.

Candace

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Re: Requesting Some Insight
« Reply #10 on: April 01, 2017, 01:01:55 PM »
Personally I'm most fulfilled by setting a BIG goal and working towards it. I'm talking about things that involve more than something for myself. in the past those have been spaceflight work projects or home projects that I wasn't sure I could do. Now, for me, it's political action as part of a group. Do you want to make the world a better place and have an idea for how to do it? Whatever​ that is, get involved. Or, better yet, start your own project. Make it something challenging, even scary in the sense that failure would have a decent sized downside. I'm kind of babbling here, but hopefully making some amount of sense. You are in a position to do something big, because you're not on a treadmill and you don't have a lot of obligations. Pick something big.

Or, just be happy and grateful for where you are, and enjoy every day in some way. Nothing wrong with that.

Classical_Liberal

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Re: Requesting Some Insight
« Reply #11 on: April 01, 2017, 02:35:28 PM »
I think this happens very often with folks whose primary goal is to reach FI, myself included.  I'm in the exact circumstances of the OP and I have had to ask myself, "why do I want this so bad?".  Now that I am beginning to find the answers to that question, my focus is shifting & I am looking at this whole thing with a different lens.

spjulep

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Re: Requesting Some Insight
« Reply #12 on: April 01, 2017, 05:29:41 PM »
I like the suggestion above to identify some of the things you would do with your time once retired, and start building them into your life now.

justchristine

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Re: Requesting Some Insight
« Reply #13 on: April 01, 2017, 06:35:11 PM »
When I first got the finances on auto pilot I went through the same thing.  I realized that I needed to start cultivating some hobbies so that I actually had something to do once I was retired.  So far, I've started woodworking with the ultimate goal of replacing all my store bought wood furniture with pieces of my own creation.  This winter I got on a knitting kick with ultimate goal being a bunch of sweaters to wear in time for next winter.  Once the weather gets nicer, im planning on starting a small garden.  Other things that I've thought of trying but haven't done much with: photography, kayaking, biking (yep, a mustachian that doesn't bike).  I'm considering the next 4-5 yrs as practice time for having fun so I'm an expert by the time I'm FIREd and have to have fun as my full time job ;)

joonifloofeefloo

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Re: Requesting Some Insight
« Reply #14 on: April 01, 2017, 06:42:43 PM »
I think you were on to something when you said about giving back...   For me, that is an essential and primary need. I *must* be doing stuff to ease others' journey, whether relieving them of physical pain, connecting them with resources, advocating for their benefits, etc.

I love to play, and do a lot of that, and enjoy reading, etc, but without the contribution to others, I quickly feel like my life is...(not meaningless, because for me meaning is independent of action) but...duller, sadder, too close to empty.

Lucky for me, there are countless projects to help with or create, that help others :)    They're fun, too!

dess1313

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Re: Requesting Some Insight
« Reply #15 on: April 03, 2017, 08:52:29 AM »
Thank you. Your advice is good and logical. No two people are alike and I can work towards more fulfillment right now by considering the problem a bit more.

I do feel somewhat selfish not feeling fulfilled given I have had such great opportunities. Perhaps I should do more to give back?

So... a primary thing on my bucket list is to set foot on every continent. Perhaps I could couple that with helping people in some way.

If travel is one of your things that you want to do then i recommend you sign up for the http://www.travelmiles101.com/ course and learn how to travel hack.  Its a great way to save money when traveling through cheaper flights and or hotels.  makes a single trip last a lot longer without a lot of $$$ beign wasted.  I was able to get an almost free hotel in florida for 12 days through miles. 

you could also look up programs abroad and at home like habitat for humanity(communities get together to build houses for low income families to cut the costs of building).  got any skills that could be used there?

If you have computer talents, even things like making websites, promotion material, or helping with organizing campaigns will assist a lot of organizations that have limited tech options, people to do the tech, or funds to pay for the technical things to be done

CowboyAndIndian

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Re: Requesting Some Insight
« Reply #16 on: April 03, 2017, 10:22:15 AM »
OP have you read our Dr.Doom's posts on LivingAFi?

This article is excellent which should help you find what you want to do in FIRE.

https://livingafi.com/2015/03/09/building-a-vision-of-life-without-work/

Every article by Dr. Doom is excellent.

Freedom Invested

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Re: Requesting Some Insight
« Reply #17 on: April 05, 2017, 05:16:44 PM »
Thank you. Your advice is good and logical. No two people are alike and I can work towards more fulfillment right now by considering the problem a bit more.

I do feel somewhat selfish not feeling fulfilled given I have had such great opportunities. Perhaps I should do more to give back?

So... a primary thing on my bucket list is to set foot on every continent. Perhaps I could couple that with helping people in some way.

If travel is one of your things that you want to do then i recommend you sign up for the http://www.travelmiles101.com/ course and learn how to travel hack.  Its a great way to save money when traveling through cheaper flights and or hotels.  makes a single trip last a lot longer without a lot of $$$ beign wasted.  I was able to get an almost free hotel in florida for 12 days through miles. 

you could also look up programs abroad and at home like habitat for humanity(communities get together to build houses for low income families to cut the costs of building).  got any skills that could be used there?

If you have computer talents, even things like making websites, promotion material, or helping with organizing campaigns will assist a lot of organizations that have limited tech options, people to do the tech, or funds to pay for the technical things to be done

I've gotten a couple of free flights (100,000 or so miles on my venture currently), but I am not so advanced to be transferring balances and the like. Maybe I should look more into this as our traveling picks up. :)

I have some home DIY skills and web dev/design skills I could lend to a non-profit. I'll need to look more into this. Thank you for the ideas.

Freedom Invested

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Re: Requesting Some Insight
« Reply #18 on: April 05, 2017, 05:19:30 PM »
OP have you read our Dr.Doom's posts on LivingAFi?

This article is excellent which should help you find what you want to do in FIRE.

https://livingafi.com/2015/03/09/building-a-vision-of-life-without-work/

Every article by Dr. Doom is excellent.

Looks cool and entertaining. Again, I was so caught up in focusing everything on improving my saving + investing skills I did not stop and think enough about why I was doing it.

I'm sure I can apply this same obsession to finding that why.

englishteacheralex

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Re: Requesting Some Insight
« Reply #19 on: April 05, 2017, 05:37:32 PM »
Maybe try reading Ecclesiastes?

I know several FI, early retired people who are bored and unhappy despite their Mustachianism. They don't have kids. They do a lot of traveling and take up hobbies to drop them a year or two later. They live lives of idleness.

My husband and I have no interest in early retirement. We wish to be FI so that we can give more away and volunteer more for causes that are important to us. Currently we give away around 15%-20% of our gross income and save around 15%-20%. We have two kids in daycare and live in an HCOL so that's about the best we can do at this point.

If money is your only source of meaning/purpose in life, it's going to be a pretty boring life. For us, our faith is our source of meaning/purpose, but I think it generally works to just pick something larger than yourself. That being said, sometimes life is just kind of boring. No reason to panic. Sometimes being a little bored is kind of nice. Have some kids and you'll know what I mean. :)

ulrichw

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Re: Requesting Some Insight
« Reply #20 on: April 05, 2017, 05:51:15 PM »
One friend suggested I owe it to the world to have a kid (We're maybe 30% in favor 70% against this idea).[...]
Plenty of good answers in this thread, and I know you probably meant this item as partially tongue in cheek, but I'd like to add a counter-argument to your friend's assertion:
The best thing anyone can do for the environment is to avoid having kids.

Think of it this way - an individual can reduce their carbon footprint by maybe 50-60% by focusing all their energy on being environmentally conscious; How much of your progeny's carbon footprint will you be saving by not having them in the first place?

I'm not trying to deny anybody's reproductive rights here - for those who've chosen to procreate, more power to them - but I just wanted to point out a not insignificant item in the "plus column" for not having kids.