Nov 8, 2013 at 11:21 am #1309616
@jenmitolLocale: In my dreams....
I ran across this in the NYT and I thought it resonated with a lot of us; Max talked about wanting to run free, so many of us dream of retirement and endless hiking without too much baggage (literally and figuratively).Nov 8, 2013 at 11:51 am #2042586
Interesting read. Thanks, Jennifer. At 26, I was on vacation 5 months of the year and working 7 months, a long-term trend. I figured the next year would "perfectly balanced" at 6 months of each. Then I got into a job I really liked and worked full time for 15 years. The adventures changed – money allowed that, and I let work cover as much of my travel as possible. In the last decade, I've been working part-time, parenting a lot and continuing to have adventures. Some as a family, a couple and some solo.
Broadly, I see two different paths to financial security – learn to earn more money, or learn to spend less money. Max, and his itinerant lifestyle (or Nick when he did that) are examples of the second approach. I see people here in Alaska without a mortgage, phone, electric, water, sewer, or cell bill. They can live on a few hundred dollars a month. My approach was in between – I learned to spend money slower than I learned how to earn it.
And then there's spending money to save money (e.g. a new Corolla will cost you less over 15 years than always fueling and repairing a series of 20-year-old beaters; spending a little more for an energy-efficient house will save you a lot over the years, etc).Nov 8, 2013 at 12:06 pm #2042589
Not only an interesting article, but some truly fascinating comments as well. Thanks for the link.
I like this line in the article: Maybe we should have an expression that captures the level of success you’ve achieved when you do exactly what you love every day.
It reminds me of a commercial on the tube – I'm not sure what for, some kind of financial planning, but it says something along the lines of: retirement is us paying ourselves to do what we love. I like that.Nov 8, 2013 at 12:25 pm #2042595
@harry-nLocale: Western US
Pretty good commentary but it sounds like the article Max is single without children. Once the hatchlings (i.e. children) arrive, the bills start to mount, … meaning the vast majority must work 9-to-5, wake up to beat the traffic jam, etc..
Same for substantial student loans which I assume he does not have from the article.
ed + addNov 8, 2013 at 12:47 pm #2042605
>"Once the hatchlings (i.e. children) arrive. . . "
Yes and No. We've taken a ton of trips with our kids. Snow camping with a toddler, backpacking trips since grade school, my son had flown 100,000 miles by age 2, been to all 50 states and 4 continents by age 11, etc.
And then this Spring, BPL's Erin and her hubbie Hig stop by our house with their 2-year-old and 4-year-old in tow having WALKED and PACKRAFTED 200 miles from their yurt and proceeded to go another 600 human-powered miles this last summer. We're doing pretty easy stuff, in comparison.Nov 8, 2013 at 1:45 pm #2042618Nov 8, 2013 at 2:27 pm #2042625
@fluffinreach-comLocale: no. california
" a new Corolla will cost you less over 15 years than always fueling and repairing a series of 20-year-old beaters; "
oh dear lord in heaven YES.
as a man that ran a 1965 International Travelall (which, with that huge bed in the back … they have their uses ) for 18 years, i can attest that if you are worth any amount of money per hour, a new car is a money maker.
it gets better : if you buy a new Yaris cheap version, run it for 3 years, sell and roll over the $ against yet ANOTHER new Yaris, pretty soon you will be driving a new vehicle, constantly under warranty, never needing so much as a set of tires, and all for not hardly any money per month.
up/down to a certain level, less need of money is vastly easier to attain than making more money.
a nice combo is to work it both directions. because then you have extra to give away, and ain't noth'n more fun than give'n away stuff.
all that said, a beater car is good thing, on account you can leave it at a trailhead, and not give rip xhit if it's there or damaged when you come back.
freedom's just another word for noth'n left to lose. (it's not quite correct, but the trend is accurate)
v.Nov 8, 2013 at 2:42 pm #2042628
@fluffinreach-comLocale: no. california
I like having a warm house on a cold day.
– i heat exclusively with electricity. my bill is NEVER over $28 a month.
I like having peace of mind of never getting evicted, foreclosed or hounded by a landlord or bill collector.
– me too. my landlord hikes with me. he's never a problem.
I like having a dog.
– dogs are good. vet bills can add up. that takes money.
I like quality food and fine dining.
– fresh food is cheap and vastly better for ones body. we have only one body. massive amounts of butter (a constant of fine foods ) is not supposed to be a staple of the diet.
I like having a full safety car that I can walk away unharmed, from a tragic accident.
– they're ALL safer than the ones we grew up in during the 50's and 60's. even cheap cars have airbags now.
I invest a great deal in personal and home security.
– once the huge screen made-in-china TV is removed, there's not really that much to take. so do a hard drive backup, and save tons.
I invest time and money in the safety and health of my extended family.
– always a good thing.
I like the extra financial security that will allow me the option to stop working the last 15-20 years before official retirement.
– nice goal, and best fortune to you, but … the gov't is going to rape Roger for the vast most of what he's got. this is a given in the equation of today's life in america.
they have a hard time taxing the memories of a cdt hike though.
let me conclude my opinion this way. it is right now, here in california (land of foreclosures) 2:39 PM.
time is not money.
ALL of the money Roger ever makes in his entire life … can not buy him 2:38.
v.Nov 8, 2013 at 3:26 pm #2042636Nov 8, 2013 at 3:39 pm #2042645
>"I like quality food and fine dining.
– fresh food is cheap and vastly better for ones body."
I built a 5-foot-diameter net from 1/8" plywood strips and Gorilla Glue 14 years ago for about $20 including the net bag. I've caught, hmmm, about 300 sockeye salmon in it so far.
The last caribou in the freeze was, total cost, 3% of my frequent flyer miles (there was some horse trading of money and miles) and I humped the meat more miles on a grassy volcanic island than my well-armed friends.
YMMVNov 8, 2013 at 5:28 pm #2042682
@rcaffinLocale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
> there's nothing good on TV anyway, and the big screens consume more electricity.
We turned our TV off quite some time ago, and have never regretted doing so. The commercial channels are just unbelievably bad! If it isn't a commercial, it's a semi-commercial (advertorial). I had heard of 'null-content', but they are 'negative-content'.
CheersNov 8, 2013 at 9:25 pm #2042724
It's an interesting article but if the kid's lifestyle was adopted nationwide, pandemonium would ensue. Hard to feed the cows and milk the chickens when you sleep in to 10am every morning. I think greater happiness can be found by balancing your life, balance that I admittedly don't have as much of as I'd like. I work an average of 50 hours per week on salary and spend much of my free time running kids from hockey, dance, volleyball, etc when I'm not at work.
The up side? I will retire with a pension, 401k, medical, etc when I'm 51 (8 years 10 months from now) and currently have enough time invested in my job that I now earn five weeks of leave per year. My mortgage will be paid off before I retire and we purchased a house below the median for the area so its tax burden will not be too much of a burden when we transition to a fixed income. We will have no debt and will be able to live off of my pension.
Even with a hectic schedule, we don't have to postpone our lives. We love exploring the country and travel every chance we get (packing our bags now actually).
The linked video is well worth watching and somewhat on topicNov 9, 2013 at 2:01 am #2042753
@glacierramblerLocale: NW Montana
I have to admit that I'm growing tired of these stereotypes of the "millennial lifestyle"–positive and negative. Frankly, they just don't exist in any meaningful form. I'm glad that Max gets to live the life that he does. Though, without much context (the article gives little), it's just not that meaningful.
There is a lot of wisdom in the realization that the tradeoffs inherent in being financially successful may (though, certainly not always) go against the idealistic lifestyle. But that's nothing new.Nov 9, 2013 at 2:39 am #2042756
Good stuff Jennifer. Thanks for sharing that.Nov 9, 2013 at 6:24 am #2042774
spelt with a tParticipant
@speltLocale: SW/C PA
Old people need to decide once and for all whether millenials are lazy and entitled or entrepeneurial free spirits. I need to know what stereotypes to fail to live up to, here.Nov 9, 2013 at 7:01 am #2042777
@retiredjerryLocale: Oregon and Washington
That's what I did Ian – save 20% mostly in 401K, retire at 51
But I don't see how you can plan it precisely. It depends how your investments do.
I worked fairly hard, some 50 hour weeks, enjoyed it for the most part, but took 2 or 3 weeks of vacation each year. I did more day hiking and less backpacking.Nov 9, 2013 at 7:13 am #2042780
"But I don't see how you can plan it precisely."
I'll have a pension that I can live off of and will use my 401k for fun stuff like travel.Nov 9, 2013 at 7:21 am #2042783
@retiredjerryLocale: Oregon and Washington
ahhhh – I didn't think anyone gets a pension anymore
the only thing I don't like about pensions is, what if the payer of the pension decides to quit paying? Like bankruptcy or the voters revolt?
I think that public employees and political leaders have made agreements that aren't long term stable. Like they make unreasonable assumptions about pension fund investment return or on bad years they don't make a full contribution to the fund and it seems like almost every year is a bad year
I'de maybe rather have a 401K or whatever so the money is mine and if it's invested 50% in SP500 index fund and 50% in government bonds then it's pretty secure and you can preety reliably withdraw 4% a yearNov 9, 2013 at 9:40 am #2042806Nov 9, 2013 at 10:49 am #2042814
@jenmitolLocale: In my dreams....
The article really resonated with me, as did Max's original post, because about 5 years ago I started becoming fed up with my situation.
I make a lot of money every year;
I have a great deal of debt thanks to the career change that allowed me me to a) make a lot of money and b) live and work wherever I wanted, and be able to easily find a job wherever I was;
I have no kids…
What I realized is that my financial resting metabolism (as I like to call it) was ridiculously high for a single person in Chicago with a mortgage and massive student debt. I worked 2 jobs, made gobs of money, and STILL had no time for myself, no money for vacations, nada. I just kept working working working, and paying bills. That was my life, and I didn't see it changing unless I changed it.
Then I read an article about a 100-thing challenge. The point was to trim the stuff in your life until all you had (materially) was 100 things. A fork? That's one. A lamp? That's 2…
This is about the time I discovered BPL and thought, yep…I don't NEED to take 3 changes of clothes on a weekend backpacking trip, I don't need 2 extra meals, I don't NEED a lot of what I brought. What don't I NEED in my life???
I bought an e-reader to cut down on my MASSIVE wall of books in my house (that I had to move all the time).
I sold my car.
I sold my condo.
I quit my disappointing job.
Now I'm living with my brother and his family in Austin (which, by the way, was HIS suggestion and so far it's fabulous for all of us!), working an amazing job that I had always considered my dream job and still making gobs of money. Other than the pay, it's probably a lot like that guy's job in the article: I work here and there, I teach here and there…I make plenty of money and have plenty of free time. Yeah!!
So…next steps for me involve enjoying this gig for a while, saving as much money as I can, hike the CT when the summer semester is over next year (I hope it's not too late..but that's another post…), and do the PCT in 2015. I can take this work gig with me (if I plan correctly…), but I realized that especially if you don't have kids and don't have adventures…what the hell are we doing all this for??
I can't go back to the regular grind…at least I can't imagine doing it anytime soon.Nov 9, 2013 at 10:57 am #2042816
@kat_pLocale: Pacific Coast
Wow, sounds like you have a great thing going Jennifer. Good on you for being brave enough to make the changes that have allowed you to be where you are today.
A big plus, in my opinion, is that you even get to be with family. Congrats!Nov 9, 2013 at 3:29 pm #2042867
@harry-nLocale: Western US
..I realized that especially if you don't have kids and don't have adventures…what the hell are we doing all this for??
Hit the nail right on the head for singles with no offspring, though some singles may be into collectibles or other hobbies requiring square footage. Even adding biking and maybe snowsports again there goes the gear closet, think I'll need a bigger square footage (paraphrasing Jaws).
I think most keep working out convention, never getting out of debt, but my thought is also a part knowing life circumstances can change, so keeping the resume updated, etc…. When to at least semi-retire is when kids are no longer an option (not relevant to the story but probably to those hitting mid-40's). That said, society assumes everyone has kids, spouse, house, car(s), and time-shares for vacation… (directly or through child support), so the economy has been set up that way (along with traditional societal expectations).Nov 9, 2013 at 5:01 pm #2042890
I down hill ski a lot during the winter. I see lots of Max and his counter part Maxine. Many are lower wage ski resort workers, some on unemployment and some just clipping Mom and Dad's coupons from their trust funds.
Most all are backstopped by their parents, seemingly the same situation of Max in the article.
There is so much wealth in this country, some of the millennial generation are already retired.Nov 10, 2013 at 5:23 am #2042992
What about community? Charles Eisenstein, author of Sacred Economics, explains how we now live in a society where we see each other as separate selves and we have made all human interactions some form of transaction. We have been told one story about what it means to be human, but that story isn't working anymore on all sorts of levels. Gift economies are the (past and) future. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EEZkQv25uEsNov 10, 2013 at 10:13 pm #2043221
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