In one of my recent newsletters, I supposedly wrote something absurd. It didn't occur to me I was being absurd until a reader called me out. Read for yourself the introduction before I got into stocks, the economy, and more.
Happy Father's Day to those of you who are fathers and still have fathers. And for those whose fathers have passed, let us remember the good times we had with them.
My parents, sister, and niece are in town for the week so I'll be busy spending lots of time with them. Too bad they live in Hawaii and New York and I'm in California.
When my kids grow up, I plan to at least be in the same time zone as them. It doesn't make sense that 80% – 90% of the time we spend with our parents is over after we turn 19.
One of the things that bummed me out the most about COVID was being separated from family for too long. Given my parents are in their mid-70s, I feel the time crunch more acutely. I want to see them as much as possible.
I regret not relocating to Hawaii before COVID. I had been looking intently at homes since 2015. If we had moved earlier, we would have been able to spend more time with my parents in Hawaii. Living in Hawaii after they shut down incoming flights for a year would have been sweet.
But it's hard to uproot a family. We've got our doctors, friends, and schools. Unfortunately, my parents aren't willing to relocate to San Francisco because they are used to their environment as well.
Due to my inaction, I am determined to make it easier for our children to spend more time with us by relocating closer to where they live. They don't have to spend time with us, but I'd like to give them the option if they wish.
A Reader's Response To My Plan To Spend More Time With My Adult Kids
I didn't think too deeply about the third paragraph I wrote in my newsletter until I got this response from a reader.
Happy Father’s Day!
I mostly enjoy your newsletters. Why only mostly? Because sometimes you write things that are absurd. You plan to live in the same time zone as your children? What if one moves to NY and one moves to Hawaii? You’ll either need to maintain homes in each location and travel back and forth frequently or choose one.
Your children are young. Just like you couldn’t have imagined life as it is today before you had children, it’s nearly impossible to predict how it will change when they are adults.
Life has a way of tossing surprises in your path. And while money can help you navigate, it doesn’t fix everything. Trust me.
To your good health!
It's OK To Have Absurd Dreams
I admit that I'm an absurd person, but I think it's more fun that way. Why do we always have to think and do things based on societal norms? Sometimes being absurd works out!
For example, if I followed the standard protocol of giving my manager two-weeks notice before quitting, I wouldn't have received a severance package.
If I didn't receive a severance package, I wouldn't have traveled to 20 new countries between 2012 – 2016. Visiting St. Petersburg, Russia now feels even more special because it looks like we won't be able to go back for a while.
Nor would I have checked off a lot of bucket list items like watching Roger Federer on Center Court at Wimbledon. That was an incredible experience while chowing down on strawberries and cream.
An Absurd Book
I also wouldn't have written a book that teaches people how to negotiate a severance. Before 2012, many people believed the idea of negotiating a severance was absurd. But I did it to the tune of a multiple six-figure package and so have thousands of others since.
I actually think people quitting their jobs after years of service with nothing is absurd! But out of ignorance or fear, millions of people do just that. Hopefully, the idea of fighting for your rights and benefits as employees becomes more commonplace over time.
Although I shared my regrets about not taking the money when a competing firm gave me a sweet offer, I was still able to leave work behind at 34. In retrospect, walking away from a steady paycheck so young was also absurd.
More Flexibility In Retirement
I don't see living in the same time zone as my children as a big challenge. Why? Because I thought about actually living on the same street in the same city as my adult children! Bwahaha!
If one child lives in a different city or country, then of course I'm going to rent or own a second home where they live. What a great way to diversify the real estate portfolio!
And if they relocate for another job opportunity, then I'll be relocating too. What a blessing to have more opportunities to see our country or the world. And of course, buy more real estate.
Flying back and forth between two children is not a problem since we will have the freedom to do so.
Like Kathy Bates in Misery, I will be their biggest fans!
Home is where the family is.
After spending 18 years raising my children, it's going to feel weird not seeing them every day once they leave the nest. So I think it's a fair compromise to at least see them once a month by living in the same time zone.
As retirees with excess passive income once the kids are independent adults, it's going to be easy to move around the country or the world with them. My wife and I will treat real retirement life as one great adventure!
Just like how I chose to save and invest more aggressively, I will choose to live closer to our children when the time comes. They might not like it initially, but they will grow to appreciate the time we spend together.
I refuse to believe 80% – 90% of our time with our children will be over once they turn 19. Therefore, I will not let this statistic happen to us.
But let me check with my wife first about my plan. She may not be on board and think I'm nuts!
Don't Be Afraid Of Being Absurd
Society is an artificial construct.
For example, we have Originalists who still believe everything written in the Constitution should be followed to the letter today, despite it being written on September 17, 1787 by slave-owning aristocrats!
Maybe I'm just weird because I like to write, paint, and play guitar during my free time. Being more creative makes you naturally question the purpose of always drawing within the lines. It's more exciting to do your own thing.
Sure, there are benefits to conforming and assimilating. Conforming and assimilating will help you get promoted and paid quicker. You'll also be able to have more friends, which means you're less likely be lonely.
However, there's nothing wrong with having absurd plans or thinking in absurd ways. So many things that are common today were once considered absurd in the past.
Typing on a iPhone with no buttons? Absurd! My Blackberry will do just fine thank you very much.
I know money can't fix everything. It's why some people with money still aren't happy. However, I won't stop going for the things I want, no matter how absurd they might sound.
If I arrive at a disappointing outcome, due to a blind spot or something else, I'll change my plans accordingly. Trial and error is what makes life more interesting.
Other Absurd Things That I Did Not Expect
- Got into my favorite state college despite getting into trouble in high school
- Got a job at a major investment bank despite coming from a non-target public college
- Reached 5.0 in USTA, a top 1% level dominated by ex-college players when all I played was HS tennis
- Wrote a Wall Street Journal Bestseller after not being able to even get an agent in 2012
- Kept Financial Samurai going for 14 years in a row and counting
You just never know until you try or keep trying. Please free yourself of society's shackles. If you do, you'll discover new adventures you never thought possible!
Reader Questions and Suggestions
What are some absurd things you thought about that ended up happening? Why is it so difficult for some people to think outside of the box? What are the challenges or downsides of relocating closer to your adult children to spend more time with them?
Pick up a copy of How To Engineer Your Layoff. It will teach you how to negotiate a severance package so you can spend more time with your children or do what you want. Use the code “saveten” at checkout to save $10.
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