A few weeks ago, I was talking to Don, a successful young business owner and he really dislikes the idea of early retirement. He wants to provide a good example for his kids and he thinks early retirement is not the right way to do it. This was just a passing conversation, but he clearly thinks that I’m a bum and he’s afraid my kid will turn out to be one too. To him early retirement is the anti-thesis of hard work. Is this really true? I’m sure he’s working long hours to provide a good life for his family, but is that much better than me being a stay at home dad/blogger?
Actually, I wrote a bit about this last year, but I’m going to take another look today. Is Early Retirement a Good Example for Your Kids?
Time is limited
First of all, a business owner like Don can easily work 60 to 80 hours per week. I’m just blogging part time and I’m already spending way over 20 hours per week on this. A business has a way of sucking all your time. I’m making some assumptions here, but let’s say Don works 80 hours per week to build a successful business. How much time would he really have to spend with the kids?
Don’s family may have a nice house, luxury cars, and international vacations, but they won’t have much time to spend with him. Sure, this shows them that hard work can provide a good standard of living, but the truth is most kids would rather have more time with their parents. I watched our kid being raised by daycare workers for a year and I didn’t like it one bit. I’d rather spend more time with him and teach him about life myself. I’ll tell him that I used to work hard and that’s why I can reap the benefits now. We saved and invested for many years before I could quit my corporate job. Now, we can spend a lot of time together and it’s a happy time for us.
Studies have shown that kids with involved fathers do better in school and in life. RB40 Junior will be a genius with the amount of time and energy we’re spend on him. (joking…) I’m sure Don is a nurturing dad too, but working 80 hours/week does tend to limit your time. He’s depending on other people to raise his kids. That’s one way to do it, but I don’t think it’s very effective. My dad didn’t spend much time with us when I was a kid and I didn’t like it at all. I was resentful that he worked so much and spent a lot of time socializing. As an adult, I can see that work was necessary, but we still don’t have a very close relationship. I’m sure I’ll have a better relationship with Junior, but I guess we’ll see how it turns out in 20 years.
I don’t mean to alienate everyone with a full time job, of course. I’m sure most of you work 40-50 hours/week and still have time to spend with your loved ones. It’s a luxury to spend so much time with my kid and I really appreciate this opportunity. He’ll start regular school soon and he’ll be much more independent then. I’ll most likely work a little bit more then.
I guess my message to RB40 Jr. is to prioritize happiness over wealth. We are doing fine financially and we have a happy family life. Our kid is happy because he gets to spend a lot of time with his parents. We can’t buy every toy he wants, but I think that’s fine, too. We are teaching him that there are limits in life.
I feel Don passed judgment a bit too quickly. He likes being the traditional provider and isn’t open to a different view point. I love my life so I’m not going to let Don cramp my style. I’d rather be happy than be rich and I want my kid to feel the same way.
What about you? Do you think early retirement sends the wrong message to the kids?
*See my guide – How to Start a Blog and Why You Should. Starting a blog changed my life. It provides some income after retirement and it’s a great way to build a community. Those are the two biggest problems after retirement. It’s a great way to use some of your free time.
Passive income is the key to early retirement. This year, Joe is increasing his investment in real estate with CrowdStreet. He can invest in projects across the U.S. and diversify his real estate portfolio. There are many interesting projects available so sign up and check them out.
Joe also highly recommends Personal Capital for DIY investors. He logs on to Personal Capital almost daily to check his cash flow and net worth. They have many useful tools that will help DIY investors analyze their portfolio and plan for retirement.