For 10 years (or more), I’ve unrealistically had it in my mind that I wanted to retire at 30. I knew it wouldn’t be a possibility – and as I’ve grown wiser – I like that better than “older” =) – I feel like that’s not what I’d want anyway. I really enjoy programming and working on cool projects like I do now with FatCat Strategies and Financial Symmetry – 2 clients of mine in town. I think, though, retirement in a sense where you don’t have to worry about money is what I’m more interested in. I’ve got our family set up in a strong financially independent manner – where we have a good amount of savings, we can (within reason) do anything we want, we’ve never been late on a bill, and we have no debt – besides our house. But who can drop over $100k to pay for a house in cash?
Life is all about learning, and initially we all follow the same (or at least similar) path. We go to pre-school, we go through each grade K-12. Around 11th or 12th grade, most people get their first job, start to drive, then off to college after high school. Then you get your first real job that matters, something that pays the bills, has a steady schedule, maybe some benefits. Has your life taken you on this path? Maybe I’ve lost some of you after the high school part. I didn’t necessarily follow this exactly…I went to college for a year, couldn’t decide what I wanted to major in moved to Raleigh, NC, and finished up my associates part time a year after I moved, while I was working my first “real” job.
A job is just that – a job (Just Over Broke). When I moved to North Carolina, I also got my first place at the same time. I probably should have transitioned in smaller steps, I was working full time and I was still negative every month. It’s not like I was in a ritzy apartment, nor did I even have a car payment. I did have cable, which I later got rid of because it was making me sick to work full time and feel more broke than I ever have.
I learned that climbing the corporate ladder is a joke, and at least for me personally, I’d always have an itch to do my own thing. Maybe because I’m an introvert, maybe because the line of work I’m in, I can work anywhere, maybe it’s because I hated that you have one life and you spend 60% of it at a job, maybe it’s because every where I’ve worked, I’m always picking up other people’s slack. Maybe it was a mix of everything, but I ultimately did start my own company, Nevis Technology, in 2013.
The part-time jobs only kind of count – part-time jobs aren’t meant to build a career on, but just be some extra cash. I’ve had some really cool part-time jobs in terms of doing fun work. Cars are a passion of mine – my first job was at a car wash…I made a ton of money in tips and I really enjoyed it most times, except that it was brutally cold in the winter in upstate NY. I worked at an animal hospital and that was the most rewarding job, I like animals a lot. I sold Cutco knives for a bit too – they are the best knives. All of these part time jobs helped me build up some spending money, but there’s no way I’d be able to live off any one of their incomes.
The reason I’m telling you all of this is because in my process of learning, I found out what worked, what didn’t work, what annoyed me, what I wanted to change, and more. Over the years I’ve found that it’s not so much that I want to retire and do nothing – but I wasn’t ever satisfied with my past jobs, so I just kept daydreaming about how retirement must be so cool – you don’t have to deal with all of the stuff that I felt was annoying, useless, or a waste of time. And if you retire young enough, you might not have to worry about health issues for a while.
Programming, specifically programming technologies for the web, has always been a passion of mine, so I now work – but it never really feels like work. I also have the benefit of taking a day off if I really am just not feeling it, and I don’t have to beg my boss – I am the boss! Owning your own business does require you to have discipline – no if’s and’s or but’s. I’m going to write a post specifically on what I’ve learned in my first couple of years, but discipline is by far #1. Anyway, that doesn’t mean your perfect situation has to be owning a business, but that’s what I found out works for me.
I don’t daydream about retirement anymore. Well…it’s changed a little. I’d love to have enough money to get my helicopter license, and own a helicopter, a Porsche, a big house. It all sounds great until you think about the financial responsibility. That’s the next thing I have to tackle, is making a lot of money =). I doubt any of those daydreams will ever happen, and ya know what, I’m kind of OK with that – because my day to day work is rewarding, fun, and satisfying, that I’ve found peace, per se, that it’s just a dream.
Maybe I have “retired” already, before I turn 30.