Author Topic: My hobby made me not care about FIRE  (Read 6494 times)

stratozyck

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My hobby made me not care about FIRE
« on: March 21, 2017, 12:43:02 PM »
I searched on here about hobbies and came up with a thread about people with some really expensive hobbies! Whoa, flying lessons? Horses? Man...

My philosophy on hobbies was always high fixed cost/low variable cost. That is, I spent some decent money for a telescope some time ago (like 2 grand about 5 years ago) and in my head I amortize the cost over the # of hours I use it.

But now... I have a hobby that fits that description that no longer makes me care about early retirement. FWIW I am on track I think to do my goal of teaching when I am 50 or so (and leaving a high paying/lower satisfaction field). I no longer care about that because now I realize that I am willing to work in this field for much longer if it means....

MORE AQUARIUMS!!

YES!! I have had a freshwater aquarium (first a 29 gallon and then downsized to a 10G for a while) for years. But when I finally settled I knew I wanted a saltwater aquarium, and to grow coral. After researching for a month, I realized that this was not a hobby you wanted to cheap out on. Especially with me being a novice, I decided to go all out.

I bought a $2,200 all in one 69 gallon tank. The key parts of these tanks are the filtration and lighting. This has the best and in the long run, it is worth it to get the best in this area because all your coral that you spent years growing need the best.

Its been 3 months and I am completely consumed. It is like the fish and corals are secreting some mind control chemical that is slowly turning me into their servant. I canceled cable because I watch the tank several hours a day. Now that I got over the hump and made the newbie mistakes, all I can think about is getting another larger tank. I want a 150g+ tank because things like starfish need that, in addition to tangs (Dory in Finding Nemo).

I can afford it in a year. That's not the problem. The problem is - then what? I am convinced that at every point in my life from here on out I will believe that working another year at this job is worth it because I can afford more and bigger tanks. After I get the next one, the limitation to bigger tank will be my house. If I work more, I can afford a bigger house to get more fish tanks.

Crazy? I can't describe what this has been like. I thoroughly enjoy tank maintenance and get excited about sump pumps and filtration fascinates me. I am a god to my fish and the other day a cleaner shrimp "cleaned" my finger. I never imagined I'd have a pet shrimp!

(Disclaimer I am probably not going to get to the point of getting a bigger house, but I can certainly see the appeal)

I know there was a thread about expensive hobbies, but anyone have a hobby that they actually would be wiling to work until they are 60 or so to have more of? The nice thing about fish tanks is they still are low variable cost in terms of dollars. If I had multiple 100+ gallon tanks my main concern would be what happens to them when I die. I would be willing to work extra for them so I could put away extra money for them in my will so that a local fish store can properly care for them in the worst case scenario.

Chris22

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Re: My hobby made me not care about FIRE
« Reply #1 on: March 21, 2017, 12:48:46 PM »
anyone have a hobby that they actually would be wiling to work until they are 60 or so to have more of?

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swick

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Re: My hobby made me not care about FIRE
« Reply #2 on: March 21, 2017, 12:49:37 PM »
I think you are thinking about this the wrong way. If you love it that much and are that passionate/obsessive it is time to figure out how to monetize your hobby. Having FIRE money would allow you to start up a side biz growing/designing/maintaining (whatever aspects you enjoy the most) which would allow you to play all day and not have it bankrupt you - or make you have to buy a bigger house!

lentil

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Re: My hobby made me not care about FIRE
« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2017, 01:16:44 PM »
You're probably already aware of this, but tanks (and gear) can vary widely in price if you're patient & watch the used/free market (Craigslist, Freecycle, etc.). I have a 75 gallon that I got for free (including stand & accessories) -- just had to reseal the tank and do a tiny repair on the light fixtures. I realize saltwater is far pricier, of course, but since you know you're interested, a little patience may net you some significant savings!

Vindicated

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Re: My hobby made me not care about FIRE
« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2017, 01:33:34 PM »
That's so great that you found something you can be so passionate about!  My SIL will sit and watch her fish tank for 30+ minutes sometimes, and I imagine it's akin to meditation.

Don't throw out all of your plans now though.  What if you wake up one day and are no longer interested in the fish tanks, or the maintenance becomes unappealing?  In the past, there have been times I get really into a hobby.  I tend to take on too much, and end up creating too much work for it to be enjoyable.  The only way for me to find the joy again is to downsize to find the right balance.

I too plan to FIRE around 50 to teach.  I was a teacher previously, and loved it.  However, I had trouble keeping up with my finances, and decided to get back into a higher paying field until I'm FI, or at least close enough to make the move.

Linea_Norway

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Re: My hobby made me not care about FIRE
« Reply #5 on: March 21, 2017, 01:36:16 PM »
Hobbies can become really expensive if you stop thinking rationally. We always want more or bigger or both. I am also an amateur asteonomer and it took me only half a year to need a bigger telescope. And lots of extra equipment from the start. I could spend enlessly on it. Not good... Second hand is the way to go and save some money. You can often make a good deal from someone who stops with the hobbie.

No, I wouldn't want to work longer for my hobby, because my work privents my to do my hobby as long and as often as I would like to.

WithScience

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Re: My hobby made me not care about FIRE
« Reply #6 on: March 21, 2017, 03:11:20 PM »
If you could afford to quit your job while living comfortably, you could open a small fish shop and run several thousand gallons worth of tanks professionally.  You can get there by taking a small business loan or by self funding, your choice.

In the short term, once you get good at maintaining a tank, try raising frags.  You can sell them for quite a bit.  There's a stiff up front cost to setting up an aquarium, but you may be able to make it cost neutral to maintain.

I know at least one small business owner who hosts two giant (several hundred gallon) tanks that he uses to raise sharks from eggs in exchange for financial contributions from (I think) the zoos that will eventually host them.  I'm not sure if the tanks help pay the rent or he just likes having them - they're in the back of his ice cream / vintage toy shop.  It's a weird establishment.

BFGirl

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Re: My hobby made me not care about FIRE
« Reply #7 on: March 21, 2017, 03:38:02 PM »
I think you are thinking about this the wrong way. If you love it that much and are that passionate/obsessive it is time to figure out how to monetize your hobby. Having FIRE money would allow you to start up a side biz growing/designing/maintaining (whatever aspects you enjoy the most) which would allow you to play all day and not have it bankrupt you - or make you have to buy a bigger house!

While this is a good way for a hobby to pay for itself, think about it very carefully.  Once you monetize your hobby, it tends to become work.  Whatever you sell in your hobby becomes about what is popular with your customers and not necessarily about what you want to do.  There will be certain obligations that you have to meet that have to be done on someone else's schedule and not necessarily your own.

Ask me how I know...

steviesterno

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Re: My hobby made me not care about FIRE
« Reply #8 on: March 21, 2017, 03:46:35 PM »
I like the idea, but what about if you work hard and FIRE and then volunteer at an aquarium? You could teach classes there for free if you don't need to earn a living anymore.

One of the things that's driving me is my wife wants to work in marine biology. But since there are only like 4 jobs in that field but volunteer opportunities abound, it would make sense for her to not need to work. Then she can spend all day donating time and energy to a resource that needs our help.

I got to chance into some baby turtle rescues while I was in Florida, and it was fantastic. To do that all the time would be amazing!

cbr shadow

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Re: My hobby made me not care about FIRE
« Reply #9 on: March 21, 2017, 03:48:57 PM »
I understand your hobby.  I got deep into fish keeping for several years and just loved it.  I kept freshwater African Cichlids and had several aquariums setup, the biggest being 265 gallons.  I started getting some pretty rare fish and then started breeding them and selling them online or at local club auctions.  It's really a fun and rewarding hobby.
The reason I no longer do it is because we moved overseas and I sold everything.  If we purchase a house sometime in the future I'll probably get back into it.

I'm sure saltwater aquariums are similar in that you can find a way for it to "pay for itself" at least partially.  Breeding and selling fish paid for about 50% of the hobby for me, and I loved it.

Slinky

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Re: My hobby made me not care about FIRE
« Reply #10 on: March 21, 2017, 04:02:07 PM »
I have the same passionate obsession about my own hobbies and will absolutely work a little bit longer to ensure I can fund them through FIRE. I absolutely would not work indefinitely to support an unlimited budget though. I will decide how much is enough, work to there, and then FIRE so I can spend my time actually doing and enjoying those things. Balance in all things!

PJC74

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Re: My hobby made me not care about FIRE
« Reply #11 on: March 21, 2017, 08:11:28 PM »
I've added this hobby to my list fo hobbies as well.

I picked up a 20 gallon tank setup at a yard sale as my girls wanted a pet.

We initially bought 3 glo fish and 2 albino catfish. We have since added 3 more glo fish and another albino. We now have a school :)

My girls love the fish and I find it relaxing to watch them.

Eventually we will move up to a larger setup with more fish.




Dora the Homebody

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Re: My hobby made me not care about FIRE
« Reply #12 on: March 21, 2017, 08:17:21 PM »
Haha, I've been down the aquarium road.  Sold a few tanks last summer; have a few more to sell this year.  Fish can definitely eat your money. 

Now  my hobby is my farm.  My horses and chickens and veggie gardens.   I hope to live here and enjoy it until I die.  So I definitely won't be retiring as early as some, but that's ok.  I'm a lot happier and healthier than I would be if I lived in a small house/apartment in the city.

BurtMacklin

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Re: My hobby made me not care about FIRE
« Reply #13 on: March 22, 2017, 10:42:07 AM »
We need teachers so it's great that you have this as a goal, just be sure you realize that teaching can be very satisfying but it also can be very difficult. Best of luck! This may depend on what kind of teaching you have in mind of course.

Slee_stack

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Re: My hobby made me not care about FIRE
« Reply #14 on: March 22, 2017, 10:59:31 AM »
I'd advise temperance.

As the OP admits, its been 3 months.  That's great, but what happens in 3 years?  Does the interest fade?  Its OK if it does, and you can sell your stuff at that point.

Everything in life can be overdone.  Its when a person starts tending toward an extreme when money can start evaporating all the while satisfaction plateaus or starts to plummet.


I love MTB'g and working on bikes and love the idea of real high end bikes, but also recognize that I don't NEED the high end bike myself.  I might be 0.5% faster on it and receive more oohs and ahhs if I own it, but at the end of the day, how much MORE satisfied will I be riding the trails on it?  Probably not much at all.  Diminishing returns apply to everything.

Enjoy the hobby.  Enjoy the passion.  Quit obsessing.  How much happiness does 100 fish bring over 50?  200 over 100? 1000 over 200?  Try to put a check on the addiction.  You will be far happier in the long run.  Learn to appreciate the act, not the relative 'size' of the thing.

cobbb11

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Re: My hobby made me not care about FIRE
« Reply #15 on: March 22, 2017, 11:21:01 AM »
"Guns...lots of guns" - Neo

Linea_Norway

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Re: My hobby made me not care about FIRE
« Reply #16 on: March 22, 2017, 11:37:29 AM »
I'd advise temperance.

As the OP admits, its been 3 months.  That's great, but what happens in 3 years?  Does the interest fade?  Its OK if it does, and you can sell your stuff at that point.

Everything in life can be overdone.  Its when a person starts tending toward an extreme when money can start evaporating all the while satisfaction plateaus or starts to plummet.


I love MTB'g and working on bikes and love the idea of real high end bikes, but also recognize that I don't NEED the high end bike myself.  I might be 0.5% faster on it and receive more oohs and ahhs if I own it, but at the end of the day, how much MORE satisfied will I be riding the trails on it?  Probably not much at all.  Diminishing returns apply to everything.

Enjoy the hobby.  Enjoy the passion.  Quit obsessing.  How much happiness does 100 fish bring over 50?  200 over 100? 1000 over 200?  Try to put a check on the addiction.  You will be far happier in the long run.  Learn to appreciate the act, not the relative 'size' of the thing.

Wise words.

It could also be stat the OP is a person like myself with many interests and who easily goes 100% into a new hobby. But it will become less interesting over time. In that case it would have been so much smarter to have bought stuff second hand. In that case you can sell the hobby stuff for almost the same price.

Johnez

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Re: My hobby made me not care about FIRE
« Reply #17 on: March 22, 2017, 11:55:57 AM »
This is my hobby as well. I stuck with fresh water, because frankly there seems to be less complexity in setup and more room for error. I totally understand the excitement about everything fish related hehe. The stocking possibilities are endless with fresh, the plants, shrimp, snails, and of course fish. Put together fish and plants from five different continents, or build an accurate biotope. Monster or nano?!

The truth is-even though I have kept fish for a bit over 2 years, I have been researching for at least 5 years-the funnest part of the hobby in my opinion. Putting it all together requires some deep reading and research, and the planning part doesn't cost anything! There are massive communities to draw info from and share stories with-it free as well. Tons of YouTube videos and how to sites to browse.

Where can you go from here? One of two paths-constant optimization-aquiting equipment piece by piece to build the perfect tank, or learn to DIY your pieces. In the fishkeeping hobby there is no "standard" anything-your filter can be canister, hang on back, swirl filter, radial flow, sump (like five different types of these), or even deep sand beds (for only the brave).

Damn I need another tank!
« Last Edit: March 22, 2017, 12:01:16 PM by Johnez »

Landlady

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Re: My hobby made me not care about FIRE
« Reply #18 on: March 22, 2017, 01:10:29 PM »
I feel you on this one! I started scuba diving when I was 13 and it's one of those things that I will happily drop a few grand on every few years to get my fix of seeing underwater creatures. Cleaner shrimp are amazing. I've been on shark dives before, but was more than happy just to watch the transparent shrimp chilling with it's tiny crab buddy in the sand rather than observe the predators. Tiny creatures are much more interesting in their behavior.

redbird

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Re: My hobby made me not care about FIRE
« Reply #19 on: March 22, 2017, 01:19:31 PM »
I'd advise temperance.

As the OP admits, its been 3 months.  That's great, but what happens in 3 years?  Does the interest fade?  Its OK if it does, and you can sell your stuff at that point.

Everything in life can be overdone.  Its when a person starts tending toward an extreme when money can start evaporating all the while satisfaction plateaus or starts to plummet.


I love MTB'g and working on bikes and love the idea of real high end bikes, but also recognize that I don't NEED the high end bike myself.  I might be 0.5% faster on it and receive more oohs and ahhs if I own it, but at the end of the day, how much MORE satisfied will I be riding the trails on it?  Probably not much at all.  Diminishing returns apply to everything.

Enjoy the hobby.  Enjoy the passion.  Quit obsessing.  How much happiness does 100 fish bring over 50?  200 over 100? 1000 over 200?  Try to put a check on the addiction.  You will be far happier in the long run.  Learn to appreciate the act, not the relative 'size' of the thing.

Agreed. It's nothing compared to aquariums, but I had a short-term hobby with Dungeons and Dragons. That can potentially be a cheap hobby, as you really only need the Player's Handbook and your imagination, but of course the hobby has tons of other things you can buy too. Too many books, minis, etc later, and I realized that it was a hobby that wasn't for me - mainly because once a week or more meetups isn't my thing. I only actually played for maybe 6 months, but the stuff stuck around my house for several years. Fortunately I managed to get some of my money back, since those things have pretty decent re-sale value.

The point is, I was super excited at first, spent lots of money, and then didn't stay with it long term. I don't know if aquariums will be short or long term for you. If it is long term, if you keep your hobby to a reasonable level, you can probably still FIRE. Just build it into your budget.

The Money Monk

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Re: My hobby made me not care about FIRE
« Reply #20 on: March 23, 2017, 02:06:34 AM »
Pretty cool. My stepdad set up a pretty elaborate 100 gallon saltwater tank when I was a teenager, and it was masmerizing to stare at. Way etter than a freshwater tank. Live barnacles, coral, live rock and plants, sea urchins, anemones and clownfish, shrimp and crabs - even a lionfish at one point.

If it's really a hobby that you can spend multiple hours a day staring at, there are probably other expenses you can cut as well in favor of the tanks. And after the initial costs of tank and fish/creatures, the ongoing costs arent really that bad. Lots of yahoos spend more at bars every weekend than you will on your tanks most likely, as long as you stay somewhat under control.

Lmoot

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Re: My hobby made me not care about FIRE
« Reply #21 on: March 23, 2017, 03:51:11 PM »
My hobby is relatively lower in cost, but unfortunately high on time. I love hiking and would love to do distance hikes in different locations but I work seven days a week. I can barely get out to local hikes. FIRE is not really a goal of mine; I am aiming for more flexibility (part time work, seasonal, intermittent, or frequent "sabbaticals" between multiple jobs/careers).

 I am working on rental income so I can lower my active income requirements and have more time for hiking and going back to school. Thing is though the housing market is exploding and since I bought my first house in 2009, I am not used to a booming market. It's insanity. Anything house related is also a hobby. I contracted for my personal property reno (total gut) and it was more fun than stressful for me and I will never get anything but fixeruppers Would love to go to trade school for residential construction.  But again...time and money. So it sounds like what you are suggesting is to get a hobby that doesn't have a large time requirement....but that is hard to do.

Exhale

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Re: My hobby made me not care about FIRE
« Reply #22 on: March 24, 2017, 09:17:33 AM »
I know folks who keeping working in order to own a horse (some show them as well which is even more expensive).

Ynari

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Re: My hobby made me not care about FIRE
« Reply #23 on: March 25, 2017, 12:08:20 PM »
This post makes me so happy.

My dad has had a 60 gallon freshwater tank for as long as I remember. Since he's military, every 2-5 years when we moved, he would rehome the fish at the end, sometimes getting paid a pretty penny, even though that wasn't the intention. He tried a saltwater tank once and decided that the upkeep wasn't worth it for the size and time frame.

Larger tanks and saltwater are certainly more expensive than a moderate freshwater tank, but I can't see them throwing off FIRE that much unless your plans are already very tight. Especially if it means tempering other costs (cutting cable) and occasionally selling fish to dentist-offices-in-need, it probably will add a year or two but not a decade to your working life.

stashgrower

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Re: My hobby made me not care about FIRE
« Reply #24 on: March 26, 2017, 04:49:25 AM »
My approach is to buy second-hand where possible. That way the start-up cost is low.

I turned some of my hobbies into side gigs. One side gig pays for my hobby. The others create more administration than cash.

KungfuRabbit

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Re: My hobby made me not care about FIRE
« Reply #25 on: March 27, 2017, 05:51:41 AM »
Aquariums are dangerous. 

I really really really really want a shark aquarium.  Not a reef shark or anything, just a eppaullette or banded or coral, but its still about a 500 gallon saltwater tank.  Annual costs are like $5,000 on water and food and electricity.

TELL ME NOT TO DO IT!!!