So where is all this work and family stuff headed, anyway?
Conventional wisdom says work full time, save, and retire. And have a family at some point. The average age of retirement in this country is 62, so Baby will be 30 when I’m 62. Sounds pretty normal.
Problem is, I don’t really like that plan. Baby turns 18 in another 15 years and my time with him drops considerably. In all reality, that will actually start when he’s 13 or 14 if my own adolescent experience is any indicator. Let’s pretend we add another child to the mix (and let’s pretend the due date is this year, Oct. 1st). That restarts the clock at another 13 or 14 years before she (we’re pretending this pretend new baby is a she) also finds a life outside of the parent bubble.
That means the next 13 or 14 years is when I’ll be spending the vast majority of my time with my children, and the time period when I have the most influence on what kind of adults they become. That, to me, makes this next 14 years very precious.
There’s nothing terrible about working through my children’s childhood. There’s still evenings, weekends, and two weeks of vacation each year. Plus, seeing your parents work is a foundational step in building your own work ethic. But if I had the choice, I’d do it all differently. I’d have full summers off to coincide with the school calendar. I’d make sure we had home cooked meals every day aside from occasional treats. I’d do more projects around the house. I’d have the “work” my children see me do be in building/fixing things around the house and community, instead of going off to an office. I’d have the time and energy to help with homework and school projects.
Choice comes from planning, so I’m on a mission. I’ve been thinking about this ever since Wife was pregnant three years ago. I’ve cut a lot of frivolous spending from my life to start preparing for the day when I no longer go to an office because I need the income. Switching to a bicycle commute was a big part of that. The plan is to reach a level of financial independence that allows me to optimize my time with more intent. Save, invest, reduce cost of living. Save, invest, reduce cost of living. Once our cost of living gets under the amount that still requires a full time job, a big change happens. Cost of living will drop significantly once children get into the school system. I’m hoping that the big change happens soon after.