Author Topic: Why do you do what you do?  (Read 5807 times)

Sid Hoffman

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Why do you do what you do?
« on: January 15, 2015, 01:32:07 PM »
I'd love to hear from a few people on the forum as far as reasons that you do whatever you do.  What is the ultimate goal of your life?  I see a lot of posts where people clearly seem to value financial independence or early retirement above all else, even if that means things like living in an old single-wide trailer and having only a few thousand a year to devote to any activities above the bare minimum to sustain life.  The upside is the earliest possible retirement.  The downside is this means the most possible years at the lowest possible standard of living.

I see others who see FI mainly as the ability to switch from a high COL area and high-stress lifestyle to one where FI means they can raise a family on a single income, for example, in a low-medium COL area with plenty of money for a reasonable lifestyle that includes owning at least one car and engaging in fun activities outside of the home.  Even this one is blurry as there seems to be clear divisions between people who are single, married without kids, married with kids, and single with kids.  Some may have even covered some or all of those categories, such as a person who has many single years, then married, later has kids, then divorces and eventually the kids move out.  Such a person can be counted as all 4 categories at one time or another in their life, by choice or by circumstance.

So what drives you?  What motivates you to do the things you do in your life?

firewalker

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Re: Why do you do what you do?
« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2015, 08:33:30 PM »
Seems like your question may be what most would like to have an answer to, but don't. It's most common answer in this forum may be, I want to travel or pursue hobbies. But people wouldn't say that those are their reasons for their pursuits. Some, in all reality, may have no motivation beyond finding a comfortable way of life for themselves and their loved ones. Others hold the hope of finding a greater motivation as their motivation. These comments are just musings. But it is a question worth considering since so much spoken of here is on the matter of finding time to do what one sees as more important than working for money. 

tardis

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Re: Why do you do what you do?
« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2015, 09:19:44 PM »
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The downside is this means the most possible years at the lowest possible standard of living.

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plenty of money for a reasonable lifestyle that includes owning at least one car

Both of your "worst case" and "best case" examples could be what make someone happiest, or most unhappy.  You're equating owning a car and activities that need money to the best things vs. maximum independent time and low cost amusement.  I'd be pretty happy with food, a safe, happy, clean place to live, and hiking/biking/drawing all day, all of which are the next best thing to free.  If I could do that 3 years earlier and that was my total goal- why not?  It's all about what you value most, and that will be different for everyone.

I'm doing what I'm doing because it's something I will hate the least while being stable.  I will make meh money for the amount of education I have, but I liked that education, will not hate my job every day, and will be able to become FI to do what I really want.  My most banal goal for life in general is to not have to sit all day.  Everything gets better when that happens.

@firewalker:  Excellent response. +1

WYOGO

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Re: Why do you do what you do?
« Reply #3 on: January 15, 2015, 09:20:46 PM »
For those who have felt the fear and stress associated with threats to your livelihood. That is motivation enough to reach a point of passive sustainability.

MDM

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Re: Why do you do what you do?
« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2015, 09:47:21 PM »
I'd love to hear from a few people on the forum as far as reasons that you do whatever you do.  What is the ultimate goal of your life?
This has changed over the years.  It wouldn't be surprising if it changes again.  For now, however, "raise children who make good life choices" seems a reasonable summation.  Ideally we would like our children's lives to be "better" than ours, but that is not completely in our (or their) control - i.e., "stuff happens."  As we believe the better one's choices the better the likely outcome, we'll be satisfied to have done our part if we see the kids making good choices.

As a side note, this goal causes us to have little agreement with those who argue for "equality of outcome" in life.  A safety net for the truly unfortunate is a good societal norm, but it also seems a good societal norm for those who make better choices to reap better rewards.

looking for FI

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Re: Why do you do what you do?
« Reply #5 on: January 15, 2015, 10:21:10 PM »
I work a high stress, high paying job that I do not enjoy. I want to have FI so I can start a business in an area that does bring me joy but is now just a hobby.

Malaysia41

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Re: Why do you do what you do?
« Reply #6 on: January 15, 2015, 10:24:51 PM »
Now that we've reached FI and left our money gushing Silicon Valley jobs, here's what I do and why.

1. Teach my son American History.  We live overseas so he doesn't get this subject in school.
2. Teach my son Latin.  My education did not include Latin.  I was robbed.  I believe a year of Latin will help him communicate, understand what he reads, improve his verbal skills, and set him up for learning foreign (latin-based) languages.  He takes pride in communicating with me in our secret language :).
3. I write.  I like to explore an idea beyond a mental 'huh', and writing allows me to do that.  I'm writing my career memoir and it includes tips I learned in those 18 years at work.
4. I collaborate with DH on budget, cooking, household stuff, his side-hustle business. 
5. I play guitar with DH to give him a rhythm to which he can lay down creative solos (and then I solo on occasion too).
6. I read about / think about / plan for investments, spending, anything with $.   For example, yesterday I didn't feel inspired to write so I calculated - across all of our accounts - our total asset allocation.   This is what I go to when experiencing ennui.
7. I watch Star Trek episodes with my son at night after the kitchen is all cleaned up.  We enjoy the stories together.  He gets into the technology, I like the teamwork dynamics and moral dilemmas.
8.  DH & I bike to the local wet market every other morning to buy fresh food for home-cooked meals.
9.  I eat too much cereal.  I love cereal.
10.  I often wonder how I can help my sister, brother, parents and kids improve their financial chops so that they can free themselves from having to worry about money.  Results from all attempts thus far: undetermined.

I'm on MMM way too much.  I need to get a life!

AllieVaulter

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Re: Why do you do what you do?
« Reply #7 on: January 15, 2015, 10:34:43 PM »
I want the flexibility that FI will give me.  I'm pretty sure that I'll want to RE, but once I reach FI I'll have the flexibility to make that choice based on how much I enjoy what I'm doing.  I'd like to be able to stay home with our kids (when they come) and possibly home school them.  When I look back at my childhood it was spending time with my parents and doing activities that were more or less free that made the biggest impressions on me.  Becoming FI as soon as possible just seems to make the most sense and give us the most options. 

innerscorecard

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Re: Why do you do what you do?
« Reply #8 on: January 16, 2015, 02:11:43 AM »
For those who have felt the fear and stress associated with threats to your livelihood. That is motivation enough to reach a point of passive sustainability.

Very well-said. I really like the way you phrased it. Because it was so true for me. I never felt the desire for FIRE until I was on the brink. Paradoxically, really, since that was the time when I was least equipped to obtain FIRE.

Dances With Fire

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Re: Why do you do what you do?
« Reply #9 on: January 16, 2015, 03:58:40 AM »
For those who have felt the fear and stress associated with threats to your livelihood. That is motivation enough to reach a point of passive sustainability.

Very well-said. I really like the way you phrased it. Because it was so true for me. I never felt the desire for FIRE until I was on the brink. Paradoxically, really, since that was the time when I was least equipped to obtain FIRE.

There are many reasons, however I'll break it down the best that I can...

Grew up in a time and place where very few people had any wealth. (Although looking back, it was a wonderful place to grow up as a child.)

I always had a passion for adventure of any kind, anywhere, and I wanted to explore the world. That also meant leaving my small midwest town and I did.

Worked in the corp. world for many years with great highs and very bad lows. ( Lost a job that I loved to the corporate BS.) Also long hours and very hard work.

Today, no more long hours and very little corporate BS.

Monkey Uncle

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Re: Why do you do what you do?
« Reply #10 on: January 16, 2015, 04:33:27 AM »
I've been in the work force for 30 years, the last 22 in high-stress career work.  Although I am dedicated to my work and feel that I make a real difference in the world, I've simply had my fill of work stress.  I have no time to do anything but work and keep up with the most urgent chores around the house.  I'm probably half-way to 2/3-way through my life, and the thought of spending another 20 years this way depresses me.  So I want to get out as soon as I can.

surfhb

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Re: Why do you do what you do?
« Reply #11 on: January 16, 2015, 05:05:39 AM »
For those who have felt the fear and stress associated with threats to your livelihood. That is motivation enough to reach a point of passive sustainability.


Exactly!    Give me that and I'll take it from there.   

I'll never experience the hell that 2008/09 again.   

spruce

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Re: Why do you do what you do?
« Reply #12 on: January 16, 2015, 05:08:56 AM »
I'm doing it in part because there are several nonprofit organizations and community needs that I want to get more involved in but can't because I currently don't have the time/money to support myself while volunteering. I also want to have a life that involves more time outside, working with my hands, which also often doesn't pay well. I basically want to have options. I want to be able to travel for a few weeks on a non-holiday, spend quality time with far away family, be present for the kids I'd like to have someday. FI lets you choose the life you want, and I think that's extremely powerful and fulfilling. Plus, I've always railed against the idea of sitting at a desk for 40 hours per week regardless of how much work you actually have. What a waste of time! There's a life out there to go live!


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mak1277

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Re: Why do you do what you do?
« Reply #13 on: January 16, 2015, 06:32:45 AM »
My goal is to maximize the ratio of (stuff I want to do) : (stuff I don't want to do).

Stuff I don't want to do includes work...but it also includes "living in a single wide".  My tentative annual FIRE budget is significantly higher than what would be considered "mustachian", but I'm still tracking to retire early thanks to a high paying job (and a wife with a high paying job). 

I have a tangential goal of moving as many things as possible from the "stuff I don't want to do" bucket into the "stuff I don't mind doing" bucket.  I suspect when I retire and have more time this will be a much easier goal to achieve.

dude

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Re: Why do you do what you do?
« Reply #14 on: January 16, 2015, 06:59:07 AM »
I just really, really want to get out of the stifling confines of a 9-5 office job and spend much more time outdoors doing the things I love to do (which involves sheer rock faces, ice waterfalls, snow-filled couloirs, and ocean waves and currents). I want to gear my life to the natural circadian rhythm of this planet as much as possible, and not to the beat of our mechanized modern culture.  I want to feel the freedom of truly being able to do what I want when I want without having to worry about being late for work or missing a deadline, etc.  Fortunately for me, odds are very good that I won't have to do it on a shoestring budget, so it's not going to be some big sacrifice.

Noodle

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Re: Why do you do what you do?
« Reply #15 on: January 16, 2015, 07:11:17 AM »
I have a career that is really a calling (and a job I like most days). Unfortunately since it is in the non-profit world, funding is not a given. In four jobs since grad school, I have had one lay-off, one near-miss/major hour reduction, the third was fine when I left but thereafter underwent major staff cuts and is on rocky ground. I am now in about the most stable situation in the field, but even we could be affected by a severe downturn. Not to mention...in any job, management changes can make a previously great job untenable. Since I am a one-person household, I have to have a serious cushion to be able to sleep at night. During my first layoff, I had a very small emergency fund. Everything worked out fine, but I remember that period of sheer terror. During the second near-layoff, I had a whopping savings account and expenses low enough to be covered 90% by unemployment if it came to that. No worries, and I enjoyed the extra time off before the hours were restored. I would rather have the peace of financial security than 200 cable channels any day! A little different than many Mustachians, but I enjoy the company here.

greenshade

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Re: Why do you do what you do?
« Reply #16 on: January 16, 2015, 07:25:55 AM »

These are my goals:
1.   Time with family/friends
2.   Time in nature
3.   Low stress life

I have been reading about personal finance for the last 6 years or so (ever since I realized my boyfriend/husband and I had over 100k in  student loan debt).  In that time I have entertained lots of options:  work toward FIRE, work on my passion, get out of debt, learn about investing.  At this point, I realize that to achieve early retirement would require that we both devote a significant amount of time to work, and I am just not prepared to do that (neither is he).  My husband sincerely enjoys his job and is typically home by 5-6pm at the latest, no weekends.  I am planning to downshift soon in order to take care of our impending baby.

As far as my interest in MMM, I view frugality as a way to ensure that we donít have the stress of debt and are working toward retirement and other financial goals (even if we do it slower than some).  I also like the idea of saving the planet and not buying crap I donít need!

OutBy40

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Re: Why do you do what you do?
« Reply #17 on: January 16, 2015, 07:44:11 AM »
So what drives you?  What motivates you to do the things you do in your life?

Good question, Sid.  For me, my main two passions in life are fitness and photography.  I am a software developer for a living, however, because it pays well and allows me the opportunity to more easily save for retirement so I can ultimately quit writing code and start to focus more heavily on what truly interests me.

Along with photography is blogging, but I've combined the two with a photo related blog that I maintain, as well as another blog that chronicles my drive towards financial independence.  If I could write and photograph for most of the day, along with an intense gym session somewhere in-between, I'd be a happy camper.

After I retire from software development, what I'd really like to do is start pursuing photography a little more actively and earn some side income off of that, maybe even turn it into a second career, but that's still very up in the air in terms of whether I'd actually want that added stress or not.  After FI, I can take my time and do it right, pick and choose my gigs because money isn't the main driving force behind my willingness to do jobs.  For me, that's what drives me...the chance to turn my hobby into my post-FI calling in life.

Mr. Sharma

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Re: Why do you do what you do?
« Reply #18 on: January 16, 2015, 07:52:27 AM »

These are my goals:
1.   Time with family/friends
2.   Time in nature
3.   Low stress life


Well put.  The amount of time FIRE frees up far outweighs any materialistic possessions money could buy.   

Lia-Aimee

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Re: Why do you do what you do?
« Reply #19 on: January 16, 2015, 08:08:53 AM »
I'm terrified of poverty, so I live like I'm poor so that I don't have the stress of actually being poor. I enjoy working (so much that I pick volunteer jobs related to my profession, and in uni I knowingly gave up low-income student grant money because I liked my retail job so much) but money in the bank provides a peace of mind ai can't find elsewhere.

Skyhigh

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Re: Why do you do what you do?
« Reply #20 on: January 16, 2015, 08:18:40 AM »
My dream was to get one good job. The kind of job that most of my peers have where you are able to earn a middle to upper middle class living. The kinds of job that many here seem to enjoy where there is some sort of status and professional respect, and an abundance of income to save, waste, and enjoy. The career path I chose however was a facade of false projections and in decline. I was laid off at 37 with a wife two sons and one on the way with no means of support. Out of desperation and a lack of alternatives I took a hard look at my financial progress to that point in my life and realized that I did better when I was unemployed. As a result redesigned my life to follow what seemed to bare fruit. It was not what I really wanted but as a provider had to do what was needed to support my family.

That was over 12 years ago now and I have not had a paycheck since. I was able to build a real estate portfolio and small business that supports us however I am still looking for that job.


I do what I do because it provides for my family and I.

Emilyngh

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Re: Why do you do what you do?
« Reply #21 on: January 16, 2015, 08:46:48 AM »
  I see a lot of posts where people clearly seem to value financial independence or early retirement above all else, even if that means things like living in an old single-wide trailer and having only a few thousand a year to devote to any activities above the bare minimum to sustain life.  The upside is the earliest possible retirement. 


Really?   You see lots of posts like this?   B/c I read here a lot and really don't.   

I see others who see FI mainly as the ability to switch from a high COL area and high-stress lifestyle to one where FI means they can raise a family on a single income, for example, in a low-medium COL area with plenty of money for a reasonable lifestyle that includes owning at least one car and engaging in fun activities outside of the home. 


I made this transition already, am living this now (single income, low stress job) and did not need FI to do it, so if anyone is waiting for FI to do this-I'd suggest not putting your life on hold if not needed.

 I want FI because it will bring with it the absolute ultimatum freedom of pretty much getting to always do what I want without having to consider making money.   What would I do when FI?-whatever I want.

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Re: Why do you do what you do?
« Reply #22 on: January 16, 2015, 11:49:30 AM »
I've been in the work force for 30 years, the last 22 in high-stress career work.  Although I am dedicated to my work and feel that I make a real difference in the world, I've simply had my fill of work stress.  I have no time to do anything but work and keep up with the most urgent chores around the house.  I'm probably half-way to 2/3-way through my life, and the thought of spending another 20 years this way depresses me.  So I want to get out as soon as I can.

This describes my life too. My house is a disaster zone. Two weekend days is not enough to keep on top of laundry, dishes, grocery shopping, cooking, vacuuming...forget trying to visit family or have a social life!!!

arebelspy

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Re: Why do you do what you do?
« Reply #23 on: January 16, 2015, 11:54:24 AM »
Quote
Why do you do what you do?

Because it's what I want to do.

The answer seems so self-evident and obvious to me that I'm afraid I may not be understanding the question.

There's a few reasons people might do something.  A couple off of the top of my head: desire, fear, obligation.  I'm sure there are more.  I no longer do things for any other reason than the first.
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libertarian4321

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Re: Why do you do what you do?
« Reply #24 on: January 16, 2015, 12:15:54 PM »
Because I live in a semi-free nation (the USA) and can still do most of the things I want to do.

Cookie78

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Re: Why do you do what you do?
« Reply #25 on: January 16, 2015, 12:27:56 PM »
So what drives you?  What motivates you to do the things you do in your life?

I want the freedom to do what I want. I want to wake up and go to bed on my own schedule. I want to travel if I feel like it. I want to see the world! I want to have the time to spend with my dog, and do the hobbies I like to do, and learn everything I want to learn. I want to focus on little side-gigs that are fun to make extra income just to see if I can. I want to move somewhere new without the complications of finding a job. I'd like to spend more time with my family and friends and lovers. Today I feel I'd especially like to spend a couple months each year where I grew up to spend time with my parents and siblings and their children. I'd like to take the time to pay back the favors they've done for me in the past, like building me a garage. I want peace and simplicity. And I want to do it without being stressed about income.