Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Reflections on Trading Money for Time

And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years. ~Abraham Lincoln

As the sands through the hourglass, so too are the days of our lives. ~TV Soap Opera

Nobody knows what the future holds. My dad, Grant Anderson, worked into his 70s. All he wanted to do after he retired was to ride around on a motorcycle with me. He bought a little Yamaha 250, and took the written test for his motorcycle endorsement. On the day before he was supposed to take the driving test, at age 73, he had a stroke from which he never really recovered. He never rode that motorcycle with me.

We are very envious of the adventures of many of our C-Brat friends. Jim and Joan cashed in everything in Spearfish, South Dakota, and now divide their time among a home on a canal on South Padre Island on the tropical tip of Texas, their luxurious Hitchhiker 5th wheel and their CD 25 cruiser, Wild Blue. Ron and Anne cashed in everything in Vancouver, B.C., and headed out on the road with their camper and CD25 Meander in tow. Last we heard, they were headed for the Sea of Cortes. And there are lots of other stories.

Trading money for time. Cashing it all in in your 50s, or earlier, to enjoy whatever time is left to each of us. What an alluring idea!

Nobody has done it better we think than our friends Bill and El Fiero. The story of how they got started is on the "Launching" page of . Basically, the drill was to figure out how much would be coming in from all sources after liquidating everything and limit outgo to income. Zero-based budgeting. Needs versus wants. (But really, Bill, I have watched your computer boot up - you NEED a Mac!). They did indeed lead the nomadic life, living between a 22' C-Dory and camper on their pickup truck, until they decided they needed a "safe haven," and ended up in a Lakewood, CO, condo - fortunately, as it turned out, when Bill had his stroke. They traveled virtually every navigable waterway in America. They still are able to be on the road in their CD22 Halcyon a great deal of the time, going where fancy dictates.

The key in every case, though, was that the kids were out of the house. We had our first (Barrett) in our early 30s, our second (Lydia) in our mid-30s, and our last (Austin) in our mid-40s. Cashing it all in in your 50s is not really an option with a kid in school!

But now Austin is nearly 18, a senior in high school, on his way to college as a Running Start student with a year of college credits. Dare we dream of his graduating in three years instead of four - or five? We need to see him through college, and the simple fact is, we still use money...and I am really lucky, I know it is heresy, but I enjoy getting up and going to work every day, I work with great people, and I am fairly well compensated. Still, work does get in the way of the Great Adventures!

For us, trading money for time is not for a decade or two but for a year or two. But nobody ever said on their death bed "Gosh, I sure wish I had worked a year longer." Trading money for time - still an alluring idea!

1 comment:

  1. Great post. I'm 44 yrs old and I was lucky enough to have quick success in a computer business and then commercial real estate to allow me to enjoy my young kids. That was 10 yrs ago, and yes I have given up many dollars by not following the money path, but I can never get back those 10 yrs being with my boys everyday. I still have the commercial real estate and plan on keeping that, but it is my time that matters to me.

    Our youngest is 11 yrs old, so we have some time - but once he is off to College, we are off on a boat/rv/etc. life is way too short.

    That is one reason that I love following the people on C-Brats that have cashed it in and living MY DREAM.

    Have a nice day