I’ll admit it… I am passionate about becoming financially free and quitting my day job. I think about it 24×7. It’s constantly on my mind and I’m always trying to figure out ways to make it happen more quickly. I consider that to be a very good thing to help make my goals come to fruition.
However, it can also be a bad thing. And by that I mean that if I’m focusing entirely on early retirement, I’m not focusing all my attention on other things that may also be important.
For instance, although I still stay on top of my task list at work, it’s no longer consuming my whole day. My mind is usually elsewhere – and by elsewhere, it might be that I’m focusing on what will be my next blog post or picking up a new rental property. In the long run, I don’t plan on staying at my day job forever, so that’s not the end of the world. But, it’s not like I’m leaving tomorrow either, so I need to make sure that I don’t become so lax there that I get the boot.
So that’s obviously one concern, but more importantly, I’m starting to get concerned that I’m not putting in 100% at home. Now, it’s not like I’m sitting at home watching movies and drinking beer all day in my recliner (though that does sound ideal!). It’s actually exactly the opposite. I always have something going on and never really get a chance to just veg out.
Either I’m working on tweaking our finances to figure out ways to save more, out checking out possible properties for a new rental, working on new blog posts or maybe improving the site layout itself. And when I’m not doing those things, I’m trying to maintain my regular chores around here like mowing the lawn and “fun” responsibilities like that.
In the meantime, I think my wife gets less time with me than she would probably (maybe) prefer.
So the question is – am I focusing too much on reaching financial freedom and not enough time on my wife?
My wife understands the end game and has been very supportive. Although I handle the good majority of the finances and tend to pave the way on our financial future, my wife is on board. She plans to keep working part-time after I retire, but she recognizes the end game and is accommodating of the time spent working toward the goal.
However, in the course of my working on all the money projects, I don’t always spend as much time as I should with my wife. I think I’ve gotten pretty good at striking a balance between my need to “get stuff done” and spending time with my family. There was a fair amount of time that we had a while back where I was always “too busy” and didn’t make the time to focus on my family. I saw that and made some changes and I think I do a much better job with balancing these things.
If you remember, I have a daughter who’s currently five years old (although she already thinks she’s 13!). She’s also one of the biggest driving forces for me to retire early. I am very aware of my time with her. She’s never a burden on me and I ensure that I make time to play with her and just be a good dad. I want to make sure that when she grows up, she never thinks “I wish my dad was there for me.” It’s probably easier with one kid than it would be for more, but I try to take advantage of every opportunity I can to guide and teach her or to allow her learn and understand things herself.
On the flip side though, my wife and I don’t spend a lot of “me and you” time (sure are a lot of air quotes in this blog post!!). We don’t really have date nights like you’re supposed to and I think the majority of our alone time is maybe sneaking in a TV show after our daughter goes to bed and before we do.
I think that might not be that uncommon out there for couples with kids, but the bigger concern I have is that I might be focusing too much on my goal of early retirement and neglecting my wife’s dreams. It’s a little tough because while I tend to keep my eye on the prize and aim for the long-term, she’s all about the here and now. Both are important, but it’s definitely adds to some bumps in the road for us.
My friends over at Our Next Life put up an article last week called Why Married Early Retirees Should See Our Marriages As Our Most Important Investments. It’s something you don’t really hear too much in the early retirement blogs, but it’s something you really should be aware of. If your marriage goes down the tubes, so might your early retirement!
I already had this article in the draft stage at the time I read that article, but I thought it good to mention because it definitely underscores the importance of making your marriage work and not disregarding your spouse’s needs. That was a good reminder to make sure that I don’t just make assumptions that my marriage is good and that I check in with my wife periodically to make sure that we’re both on the same page.
I’m truly excited about the possibility of beating the odds and making early retirement happen sooner than later. And even though part of my wanting to reach early retirement is so I can spend more time with my family, I need to make sure that I’m not neglecting them in the process of getting there. I think we have a solid marriage, but it’s time to open up the lines of communication a little more and make sure of it!
Anyone else focusing too much on their finances and neglecting other things?
Thanks for reading!!