Author Topic: Children's perception of FIRE'd parents  (Read 4696 times)

Albatross

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Children's perception of FIRE'd parents
« on: November 24, 2020, 01:10:20 AM »
I intend to FIRE one day and perhaps run a small, unassuming business for fun, or do carpentry, or build my house etc. Both my wife and I will probably not be working 'corporate' jobs by the time our children are early to late teens - and I wonder if this will (negatively) affect their perception of the way the world works, the importance of hard work, grinding, doing things you might not enjoy but which puts food on the table.

I remember going into my Dad's office when I was young, seeing him instruct his secretary and get on with some work in silence as I read a book and did some drawing. I think this gave me a sense of perspective, that what my Dad was doing was important and sustaining the family, and that this stable corporate environment he was in, was something to be replicated. When I was in my teens, he would invite me for informal dinner / drinks with colleagues and friends and this in a way introduced me to this 'adult' world. I picked up social cues and guidance on how to interact with people, and I didn't know it, but I was already building up a network, one which I can refer back to even in my work today.

I am concerned that FIREing might disconnect my children from the necessary evils / social world / network of the money-making world (lets face it, we don't all get to run successful start ups or invent the next best thing and love what we do for a living). I am concerned that their perception of me and my wife will be that we are just a couple of hippies (one who is doing carpentry for fun and the other running a dog shelter) and life is, and always will be, dandy.

How have you coped with this and is my concern above unfounded? Thanks in advance and appreciate any honest advice.



Goanywhere

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Re: Children's perception of FIRE'd parents
« Reply #1 on: November 24, 2020, 02:55:27 AM »
I canít add anything but Iím also interest in this topic.  My son is 1 and Iíll be a long time retired by the time heís a teenager. 

Cranky

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Re: Children's perception of FIRE'd parents
« Reply #2 on: November 24, 2020, 04:31:07 AM »
Isnít it possible that theyíll learn itís possible to work at things that are fun and interesting?

Malcat

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Re: Children's perception of FIRE'd parents
« Reply #3 on: November 24, 2020, 07:24:52 AM »
You don't have to be working to teach your kids about the importance of work. Also, kids can't contextualize what work looks like to them, you need to be available and present for them to actually teach them anything valuable about work.

When my dad wasn't working, we did so much together, and he talked a lot about his previous work. We also did a TON of volunteering together, which taught me so much about how work can be challenging and joyful.

There's no right answer when it comes to raising kids, they aren't programmable, and you can never predict how they will respond to various signals and messaging, so exposing them to you working could actually have a negative impact on their motivation. Basically, you just don't have that granular a level of control over how they turn out, so don't worry too much about the specifics.

However, you can pretty much bank on the fact that kids will ALWAYS benefit from happier, healthier, present, involved parents.

I spent my summers with my dad. I didn't go to camp or daycare, I spent two straight months spending every day with my enthusiastically, involved parent dad learned so, so much more from him than I ever could have watching him leave for work in the morning and come home tired.
« Last Edit: November 24, 2020, 07:26:34 AM by Malcat »

Abe Froman

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Re: Children's perception of FIRE'd parents
« Reply #4 on: November 24, 2020, 08:46:22 AM »
... I spent my summers with my dad. I didn't go to camp or daycare, I spent two straight months spending every day with my enthusiastically, involved parent dad learned so, so much more from him than I ever could have watching him leave for work in the morning and come home tired.

Thank you for this, @Malcat. This helps me a lot.
I am on the edge of FIREing and have been going through a pre-FIRE checklist making sure I have everything set, including touching base with a Financial Advisor or two to confirm that I am in a good spot. Both FAs asked why now  and why so early, and my answer was to spend at least a few years with my boys before they run to friends during high school and college. Worst case I return to work for a little, but that would be everyone else's worst case right?


rockstache

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Re: Children's perception of FIRE'd parents
« Reply #5 on: November 24, 2020, 09:08:18 AM »
I spent my summers with my dad. I didn't go to camp or daycare, I spent two straight months spending every day with my enthusiastically, involved parent dad learned so, so much more from him than I ever could have watching him leave for work in the morning and come home tired.

This is beautiful. I hope my kids feel this way too someday looking back.

NotJen

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Re: Children's perception of FIRE'd parents
« Reply #6 on: November 24, 2020, 09:25:32 AM »
Isnít it possible that theyíll learn itís possible to work at things that are fun and interesting?
This.

I have fond memories of going to work with my mom in the mornings so that I could walk to middle school.  Probably, the memories are more about the one-on-one time we got (I have 2 sibs), but I also got a small glimpse of working life, and got to play on a computer before they were a household thing.  I doubt this influenced my future work ethic.

I also have good memories of the year my mom didnít work when I was older, and she made us nachos after school every day (ok, it probably wasnít every day).  It was rough when she got more important and had to work more.  I would have preferred to have her (or my dad) home consistently after school, even as a teenager.


ysette9

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Re: Children's perception of FIRE'd parents
« Reply #7 on: November 24, 2020, 02:10:51 PM »
What I learned from my father working was: every morning he left the house and every evening he came home.

Yup, that was super instructive for life. ;-)

Actually, I knew that sometimes he was super stressed because his company was going through another round of layoffs and they didnít know if the axe would fall on him this time.

My mother was more instructive. She spent the early time of our lives running a daycare out of the house and homeschooling my sister and me. I learned that that shit looks like hard work and I had no interest in doing it (right on both counts, as it turns out). Then she went back to work and I saw our lifestyle increase as they had more money coming in. I went along with her for a Bring Your Daughter To Work Day, back before it became Young Minds At Work, and I learned what a cubicle office environment looks like. Then she lost her job and went back to school and I learned how much it sucks to retrain as an adult.

For the most part what my parents did during the day was totally opaque to me, and the concepts of money were also mysterious except for the bits they taught here and there. The lesson I got was that I learned way more from the actual conversations they had with me explaining how the world works than second-hand observations of them going off to work.

If you FIRE with kids Iím pretty sure they wonít see you sitting around reading books and drinking tea all day. For one thing, running a household and caring for kids is work. For another thing, the traits it takes to FIRE with kids likely mean that you will find industrious things to do with yourself, which teach about learning and work even if money isnít necessarily attached.

Trifele

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Re: Children's perception of FIRE'd parents
« Reply #8 on: November 25, 2020, 04:47:59 AM »
Interesting topic!

We lean-FIREd at 49 and 51, and have two kids who are now in 9th and 11th grade.  They definitely don't see us lounging around all day, as we homestead and are also building our house.  They put in plenty of time helping with both -- gotta love teenage labor.  :)

To answer your question OP about how we cope with the kid's perceptions of our situation -- We're completely open with them about our finances and we talk a lot about money and FIRE.  They know both DH and I worked for many years before FIREing.  We've told them in detail how we did that.  I've showed them (among other things) the recommended investment order and the J.L. Collins stock series.  They've both been investing in index funds for a few years and are growing their mini-stashes.  They know how much is in their 529 college savings accounts, and that's all we'll be giving them; the rest they have to work for.  They both understand the math behind how many years of work will be needed to FIRE, if that's what they want to do.  They might be budding FIRE-ees, or they might not.  Too soon to tell! 

Our 17 year old was applying for a study abroad program the other day, and the form asked for her parents' ages and employment statuses.  She was concerned about listing both of us as "retired" -- that it would make her look rich or privileged, when we don't live that way at all.  (She ended up listing DH as "retired" and me as "self employed", which is technically true as I have a small side gig.)  So she's definitely aware of how "odd" our situation is, and how it might look to outsiders.   

TL/DR:  Because we talk so much about FIRE I think our kids just view us as people who valued our freedom over more money, and chose that path.     

chemistk

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Re: Children's perception of FIRE'd parents
« Reply #9 on: November 25, 2020, 05:25:50 AM »
What I learned from my father working was: every morning he left the house and every evening he came home.

This was my experience, too! I did occasionally get to go into the (completely empty, even no security) office/shop with my dad when he had to work weekends and my Mom didn't want a 6th or 7th day of us at home with her, but generally that was uncommon and ended when I was probably 10 or 11. In fact, I just assumed that working also involved constant travel - my Dad usually is gone 2 months of the year total, but there was a span of a couple years where he was gone 8 months out of the year.

Now, I'll admit that my kids don't know the full extent of what I do at work, but they're getting to the ages where they'll be able to grasp why I leave the house (or log onto my laptop at home).

Further, I think a lot of people (here especially) would agree that the modern American work ethic and expectations are just terrible. Wouldn't it be better to teach your kids that it's not necessary to completely submit your life to that system in order to live an enjoyable life?

Malcat

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Re: Children's perception of FIRE'd parents
« Reply #10 on: November 25, 2020, 06:16:15 AM »
Another point:

I really want to challenge the very concept that you need to even teach kids the "necessary evil" of work. Society will do an amazing job of pressuring your kids as it is, you don't really need to pile on.

My parents wanted me to be an artist, they wanted my brother to be a musician. Instead, society got it's claws into us and we both ended up successful professionals.

I've actually read quite a bit about how the younger generation today are overwhelmed with career pressure, to get into good schools, pressured to study STEM because they're told that otherwise their efforts in education will be worthless, etc, even from a very young age. It's not exactly healthy, since the main prerequisite for healthy child development is a sense of security.

The kids who flounder, who lack the skills and capacity to find their way professionally are usually those who lack emotional resilience and strong sense of self. Often they have powerful models of work at home, which they can feel helpless to live up to.

Basically, a confident, caring, self actualized, emotionally healthy kid will have all the tools they need to find their way in the world. They will want to thrive, they will want to be self sufficient, and they will have the confidence and sense of self to be able to figure out how best to do that *for them*.

My profession is one of those that parents always want their kids to go in to, and they're constantly trying to get me to talk their kids into it. Instead I explain why most people shouldn't choose my career, and the complicated process I went through of choosing it for myself.

Parents always think I'll support their narrative that if their kids pursue the wrong thing they'll end up stuck working at Starbucks forever, and if they pick the "correct" path that they'll be set for life. I sorely disappoint them.

I've mentored a lot of young people, and the ones I've seen thrive the best are always the ones who have a solid sense that their decisions are their own responsibility, that they aren't just picking a "good career", but are building an entire future for themselves.

The ones who suffer most? No question, it's the ones who are either imitating their parents career or pursuing exactly what their parents told them to. Why? Because they feel that thinking for themselves results in failure.

Basically, worrying about instilling in them a drive to be successful makes about as much sense as instilling in them a drive to find love. There's a 99.9% chance that it will happen naturally.

And if it doesn't??? Well, you don't really want to be the parent who pushed their kid into a future that isn't even right for them. If your kid is meant to be a barefoot artist/activist living in a tree house, the last thing you actually want is for them to end up being an accountant.

Mmm_Donuts

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Re: Children's perception of FIRE'd parents
« Reply #11 on: November 25, 2020, 07:29:36 AM »
I don't have kids, but my memory of my parents' working lives is not positive, and did in no way inspire me to want to work a professional or even well-paying job. They were always miserable, complaining about work, their bosses, etc. I still to this day (~40 years later!) have memories every Sunday night of the 'We have to go back to work tomorrow' dread they talked about every single Sunday.

So I never really thought about it but it probably affected my career choice (I went into the arts.) When I went to college I remember specifically thinking, well, jobs suck so I might as well choose a career I enjoy.

My parents also spent quite a bit on frivolous things - clothes, vacations, renovations, etc. So I was aware of a treadmill of "earn more so we can spend more". I often thought as a teenager I would rather be poor and happy than have to be on that sort of treadmill.

Papa bear

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Re: Children's perception of FIRE'd parents
« Reply #12 on: November 25, 2020, 07:34:00 AM »
My dad FIRED on rentals the year after I was born. My mom was an educator.  My parents were ALWAYS around.  My dad was at every school field trip, coached every rec team, was there in the mornings and when I got home, and we could take 8-10 week long RV vacations during the summers.  My

I learned an incredible amount from my parents.  My dad didnít stop ďworkingĒ as he was always building and remodeling things.  I learned by holding the flashlight and when I was older, Iíd work on projects. What are we doing today dad? Letís go remodel this bathroom! By the time I was a teen working part time jobs, I figured I could FIRE one day, too. 

So 5/5 stars.  Would recommend. 


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ROF Expat

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Re: Children's perception of FIRE'd parents
« Reply #13 on: November 25, 2020, 07:52:56 AM »
I retired four years ago just about the time my child turned six years old. 

It is difficult to tell what any child's perceptions are going to be, but here are the lessons I hope mine will draw from seeing me at home every day rather than going to a job: 

1.  Money is a tool.  If you earn and use it wisely, you will have more options in life.  One of those options is not having to work to earn more money.  This, in turn, gives you the opportunity to focus on things you care about. 

2.  I loved my job, but I value being with my family more.  Lesson one gave me the option to stop working and focus on other priorities in my life, the top one being my family. 

3.  You don't have to follow the herd.  You can be "different" and still succeed if you make good plans and are willing to live with the consequences of your actions. 

4.  People will have different opinions about you and how you choose to live your life.  You get to decide how much you want to care about their opinions. 

5.  "Not working" doesn't have to mean sitting in front of a tv and letting your mind and body atrophy.  Right now, instead of seeing me commute to work, my child sees me enjoying my hobbies, studying to earn a certification in new fields that interest me, and learning a new language. 

Or maybe she'll just decide that I'm an old hippie...

chevy1956

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Re: Children's perception of FIRE'd parents
« Reply #14 on: November 27, 2020, 04:02:52 PM »
I can offer my perspective on this. I'm 47 and my wife is 44. We've just retired this year.

I have 3 kids - 19, 17 and 10. They don't even notice because of the pandemic and I was working from home. They pay less attention to us that what you think. We've also always been frugal and they know we aren't paying for them to live the high life.

My take is that the kids have seen us going to work and saving money which means not spending like other people do. I think they take this on board a bit in the right way.

Lastly - your kids are your kids. They aren't you and they get to live their lives the way they choose. I reckon at some point you have to make them realize and we need to realize that it's up to them.

Loren Ver

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Re: Children's perception of FIRE'd parents
« Reply #15 on: November 30, 2020, 08:53:03 AM »
My dad retired when he was 40 and I was in grade school and I have to agree with the others that had parents that retired early, it's the best.  I learned lessons that people should be teaching their kids by doing but can't.  Mom substitute taught so she worked on and off.

A few lessons learned:
- about walking away money and never letting financials be the thing that traps you in a situation that goes against what you know is right or keeps you from speaking out.

-money is a tool.  It isn't really special or mystical, it is just like any other tool.  It has a purpose and if you learn how to use it, you can wield it to do even cooler things.  You also need to grow it or it withers.

- Family (and therefore communication) is important.  Dad was a diplomat (or had been with the Air force), so he understood communication and what happens when it breaks down.  Two kids and neither went through an awkward teenage or rebellious stage.  Maybe having two solid parents around helped with that?  As one of those kids avoiding all the teenage drama certainly made growing up a lot more pleasant and peaceful.

-Introductions can change the narrative.  This I learned, but now am really started to viscerally understand now that I am retired in my 30s.  My retired dad would tell people he was a bum when they asked him what he did.  As a kid I didn't really get it, since it wasn't really true, but now I am seeing the nuance of that answer. 

My dad died instantly of a genetic heart condition no one knew he had at the ripe old age of 54 and 11 months, after almost 15 healthy years of retirement.  More than most people ever get.  Don't wait if you can pull it off.  I wouldn't trade those years with him for anything.   

totoro

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Re: Children's perception of FIRE'd parents
« Reply #16 on: November 30, 2020, 11:32:40 AM »
I ER'd when the youngest of our four children was 13 and eldest was 17.

I do sit around at home a lot drinking tea and reading/researching.  I'm not bored.  I just enjoy being at home after years of work travel.

I also volunteer and have real estate projects that I manage, including setting up a small farm.  I have an academic background so ended up helping all the kids with school and continue to provide support and career guidance now that they are in university, as well as give them lessons on financial planning.  I also do all the cooking which I enjoy and pre-pandemic spent a lot of time planning family trips and events.

I just asked my kids what thought about the change from having a working mother to FT stay at home.  It was clear that it hadn't really been something they'd paid attention to in a huge way, but when they thought about it they felt that the fact that I was always available and less stressed was a big benefit for them.  They were happy if I was happier.  I would say that my relationship with my kids is excellent and they and doing well in their studies.  This is not really a result of me or of ER, but having more time means that we have more time with each other which we all enjoy.

The clear winner in this all though is the cat :)

Missy B

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Re: Children's perception of FIRE'd parents
« Reply #17 on: December 01, 2020, 08:17:10 PM »
I think we need a video of children answering the question 'what does it mean to be FIRED' and 'what does your Dad/Mom do all day?"

ysette9

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Re: Children's perception of FIRE'd parents
« Reply #18 on: December 01, 2020, 08:54:01 PM »

The clear winner in this all though is the cat :)

This is the best part. :)

loungeroo

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Re: Children's perception of FIRE'd parents
« Reply #19 on: January 13, 2021, 11:39:45 PM »
I'm 32 and both of my parents retired when I was a toddler, so I pretty much never saw them work (the only exception is that my dad had an art gallery passion project for a year or two.)

If your kids are like me, they will start life with a natural inclination towards achievement, hard work, and common sense. It will be in their genes since that's how you retired early. 

They will like excelling at work, but they won't like sucking up to the boss or  pretending to look busy (afterall, they never saw you do a thing like that, even though you did tell them you once had to). They will understand what is a healthy balance between work and leisure, since they have seen you pursue hobbies and be active in retirement.

If they are a millennial, they will search for a job that they love and hopefully also pays them well. Their goal will be to work in said job until they're 65, and enjoy a standard of living where they spend most of what they earn for the rest of their life. Their parents might not be working, but the whole rest of society tells them their career will define their life.  Their parents are a pleasant aberration. They are really glad you didn't work because they got to spend so much time with you growing up and you were barely ever stressed or grumpy around them since you didn't have a job! It was the best part of their lives so far. 

It *will* be especially excruciating for them when their boss or coworker is a pain, since they see that mom and dad don't have to put up with that anymore. If they feel they have some sort of safety net due to your wealth, they will be a tad bolder at work than their coworkers are. They will be the one person to advocate occasional work from home days (pre-covid) and they will sometimes be honest when they think the boss's ideas are bad, since they are not super scared of losing their job (they know they can sleep on your couch if they had to, but they never expect to actually need to). Their coworkers will email them afterwards to say thank you for saying something. 

When they are really sick of their well paying job, they will complain to you about it and hope that you say they can quit, THEN look for a new job, but you never will. You will always tell them to get another job before you quit, and they always will, since they respect you, want your blessing, and know you are probably right, even though it really sucks. 

They will go from job to job, getting raises every time, and eventually realize that working in general sucks and it wasn't just that they were unlucky over and over again. They'll then find a job where they mostly love the actual work, but the stress, repetitiveness, deadlines and inauthenticity will kill their motivation. They will still work hard, but they'll realize they are working for money and they will give up trying to work for love.   

Only then, will they realize the true value of money. Thanks to this realization, they will no longer spend waste their money. They will start reading MMM, buy less and be happier planning their early retirement. 

What's my advice? Teach your kid that working in itself is great, but working for money sucks (but they still have to do it). They will have low expectations, which might possibly lead them to liking their job more. They will also understand the value of money more since they won't be expecting to find this job they love, which would essentially mean they would work for free. If they are working for money their entire life, they will likely prefer to save more of it, so they don't have to work as long. 

loungeroo

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Re: Children's perception of FIRE'd parents
« Reply #20 on: January 13, 2021, 11:51:01 PM »

If you FIRE with kids Iím pretty sure they wonít see you sitting around reading books and drinking tea all day. For one thing, running a household and caring for kids is work. For another thing, the traits it takes to FIRE with kids likely mean that you will find industrious things to do with yourself, which teach about learning and work even if money isnít necessarily attached.

Ha! My fire-d mom was a voracious reader and tea drinker so I really did see her do that a lot of the time. But you're right, she also raised me, fed me, kept a beautiful house, and had hobbies.

ysette9

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Re: Children's perception of FIRE'd parents
« Reply #21 on: January 14, 2021, 11:01:08 AM »

If you FIRE with kids Iím pretty sure they wonít see you sitting around reading books and drinking tea all day. For one thing, running a household and caring for kids is work. For another thing, the traits it takes to FIRE with kids likely mean that you will find industrious things to do with yourself, which teach about learning and work even if money isnít necessarily attached.

Ha! My fire-d mom was a voracious reader and tea drinker so I really did see her do that a lot of the time. But you're right, she also raised me, fed me, kept a beautiful house, and had hobbies.
Lucky her! I hope to get to that point when my kids are a little older and arenít ďmummy! Mummy! Mummy!Ē-ing me every waking plenty of every goddamn day and sometimes in their sleep

soccerluvof4

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Re: Children's perception of FIRE'd parents
« Reply #22 on: January 20, 2021, 08:59:03 AM »
To be fair when I fire'd at 50 I had 4 kids still at home 15, 14, 10, 9. Wow that was just unreal to type. Anyhow , that was a concern of mine as well BUT what was more important was to increase the risk to be around for my kids as my Business was literally killing me from stress and so on. You have to take care of yourself first before you can take care of others and that often gets lost I feel with having kids.

I also found that I probably have done more teaching my kids being around when it comes to the important things like money as just one example. And in teaching them it is taught from how I came to be able to do it. I always worried that they would say the words " Well you dont do anything" or something to that nature BUT that has never happened and in fact I think they appreciate how much more I can be there for them and supportive. So it really comes down to how engaged you are with them on the matter. Plus they see me working on projects around the house and always trying at least to improve my own knowledge on things.

I see more upside then downside and that is not with blinders on but a reality.

TrMama

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Re: Children's perception of FIRE'd parents
« Reply #23 on: January 20, 2021, 11:18:45 AM »
I intend to FIRE one day and perhaps run a small, unassuming business for fun, or do carpentry, or build my house etc. Both my wife and I will probably not be working 'corporate' jobs by the time our children are early to late teens - and I wonder if this will (negatively) affect their perception of the way the world works, the importance of hard work, grinding, doing things you might not enjoy but which puts food on the table.

I remember going into my Dad's office when I was young, seeing him instruct his secretary and get on with some work in silence as I read a book and did some drawing. I think this gave me a sense of perspective, that what my Dad was doing was important and sustaining the family, and that this stable corporate environment he was in, was something to be replicated. When I was in my teens, he would invite me for informal dinner / drinks with colleagues and friends and this in a way introduced me to this 'adult' world. I picked up social cues and guidance on how to interact with people, and I didn't know it, but I was already building up a network, one which I can refer back to even in my work today.

I am concerned that FIREing might disconnect my children from the necessary evils / social world / network of the money-making world (lets face it, we don't all get to run successful start ups or invent the next best thing and love what we do for a living). I am concerned that their perception of me and my wife will be that we are just a couple of hippies (one who is doing carpentry for fun and the other running a dog shelter) and life is, and always will be, dandy.

How have you coped with this and is my concern above unfounded? Thanks in advance and appreciate any honest advice.

Our kids are 12 and 14. DH "retired" this fall and I've now worked my corporate job from home since March. I'm not concerned at all about my kids being harmed in someway from us not working. As others have mentioned, teens are really self absorbed and don't notice the details of their parents lives. If you asked my kids they'd tell you the best part of mom and dad being home so much more now is that they don't have to take the school bus anymore (although this is mostly due to covid). Now, mom or dad drives them to school on the days it's not dry enough for them to bike. They pray for rain every weekday.

I also strongly disagree that the most important thing for kids to learn is "the importance of hard work, grinding". I'm constantly telling my kids to stop working so hard and to try working smarter. Maybe it just my kids, but they seem to instinctively thing they can just muscle through any difficult school task, when the reality is that it's 100x more effective to just find a smarter solution.

As for "doing things you might not enjoy but which puts food on the table" they're going to see you do all kinds of unfun things in RE. If you open a dog shelter, they're going to watch you clean dog crap out of kennels. No one does that for fun, they do it for some larger purpose, even if that purpose isn't putting food on the table. My kids have watched, and participated, in many home maintenance tasks. They know none of us enjoy cleaning the gutters, or scrubbing the toilets. But we do it so we can live in a nice place that keeps the rain off our heads.

btvs7

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Re: Children's perception of FIRE'd parents
« Reply #24 on: January 29, 2021, 01:13:12 AM »
Just wanted to thank the OP for posting this question, and to everyone else for their insightful answers.
I, too, worried about FIRE life setting wrong perceptions to kids on adult life, especially to my younger ones who were very young during the process.

ROF Expat

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Re: Children's perception of FIRE'd parents
« Reply #25 on: January 29, 2021, 01:26:20 AM »
The other day I couldn't help but overhear my 10-year-old daughter talking to three of her friends. 

One of the girls said:  "Whose dad do you think works the hardest?"  My daughter instantly replied:  "Not my dad.  He's retired.  He might be the strongest, though.  He lifts weights all the time.  And I think he probably bakes the best bread." 

I retired about the time she turned six, so I think she has only vague recollections of me working for a living.  When I was working, I was one of those dads who rarely made it to day care or school events.  Sometimes I picked her up from day care and took her to my office while I worked late.  For me, being able to spend time with my daughter is the best thing about FIRE. 


ysette9

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Re: Children's perception of FIRE'd parents
« Reply #26 on: January 29, 2021, 12:19:49 PM »
The other day I couldn't help but overhear my 10-year-old daughter talking to three of her friends. 

One of the girls said:  "Whose dad do you think works the hardest?"  My daughter instantly replied:  "Not my dad.  He's retired.  He might be the strongest, though.  He lifts weights all the time.  And I think he probably bakes the best bread." 

I retired about the time she turned six, so I think she has only vague recollections of me working for a living.  When I was working, I was one of those dads who rarely made it to day care or school events.  Sometimes I picked her up from day care and took her to my office while I worked late.  For me, being able to spend time with my daughter is the best thing about FIRE.
Congrats on your bread baking muscles :)

LightTripper

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Re: Children's perception of FIRE'd parents
« Reply #27 on: January 29, 2021, 04:11:38 PM »
That sounds great @ROF Expat !  I am trying to retire this year and my daughter is 6.  I'd love it if she said something like that about me in 4 years time (well, the bread bit is possible... the muscles bit is less likely :)  )

I have a pretty strong work ethic but I genuinely think it came from a deep desire to be independent and have security, rather than from any direct example set by my parents (a Dad with an office job who started to work for himself in my teens - something he could only do because we were financially secure and made him much much happier; and a largely SAH Mum).  They did both teach me good money lessons I think.  I knew it was important, that we were lucky to have it (and shouldn't take it for granted).  I knew debt could trap you (for example, I knew by the time my Dad started working for himself they didn't have a mortgage).  My Dad also tried to teach me you should sometimes spend it on fun things and experiences (but that the planning and choosing is often a huge part of the pleasure of that, so it's worth taking your time over that part!)  I think they could have taught me the same things if they'd been retired though.