Am I Focusing TOO Much on Retirement??

Am I Focusing TOO Much on Retirement??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!!

— Jim

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10 thoughts on “Am I Focusing TOO Much on Retirement??”

  1. Sounds very similar to my situation (except all the real estate stuff). My wife likes to read and spend time alone, so I hope it is not too bad. But maybe it is – you never know.

    I’m also thinking a lot about our finances and looking at the spreadsheets often.

    1. Unfortunately, too many people DON’T think about finances enough and that can cause major pains down the line. We might just be in the minority of people who think about it TOO much! 🙂

      I keep thinking that if I can just get over the hump with everything set in motion, I’ll be able to stop focusing so much on retirement. However, I think it might almost be an obsession – I have to conscientiously think about NOT pouring over our finances to stop and smell the roses.

  2. This sounds similar to me as well. In fact we are in a similar situation, age, etc. Although we don’t have kids (although we want too have some). I think because of my thinking about FI and work that I don’t have enough time with my spouse, but then I also feel a bit guilty if we do b/c we have debt and working to get rid of it. One of the reason I called my blog “reaching our balance” is because of this balance dance that a lot of us do. Good to know I am not the only one struggling.

    1. It’s kind of ironic that we have to ensure we find the right balance when the whole point of us getting financially set is because we’re trying to give the best to our families. Good luck to you on getting out of debt… it’s a fantastic feeling to have that weight off your shoulders once you get there!!

  3. Glad to read your post on this and know that you’re thinking about your marriage big picture, and not just focusing on your own personal goals! Sometimes just being aware of some potential problem or point of tension is the solution in itself, and sometimes you might need to pay more attention and actually do some problem solving. But either way, being aware of the potential pitfall is a great starting point. 🙂

    1. I’ve always been a little too independent, so I’m used to just going all in and concentrating solely at whatever the mission is. I’m getting a little better at taking time away to just stop and smell the roses, but I’ve definitely got some work to do on it! 😉

  4. Wow, that seemed like I was reading my one bio! I have been putting so much time into the consumption of FIRE everything, that I feel like I’m starting to miss out on other things.

    I have a husband and a young daughter, too, and I do my best to write posts on my lunch break at work and address comments and such after my daughter goes to bed. But let’s face it, the time is being stolen from somewhere. I watch almost no TV these days in the hope that my blog will pay off and I’ll be able to spend more time with my family. We do schedule couple dates at least once/week and that helps to keep our relationship fresh, but we definitely don’t spend as much time together at home like we used to.

    I think, if you have to ask the question, you probably already know he answer. Maybe try to tweak something so you can steal some time back for your marriage. Automated social media posts? 🙂 Good luck!

    Mrs. Mad Money Monster

    1. Haha, that’s funny, but I’m glad to hear I’m not alone in this feeling!

      I think you nailed it that time is being stolen from somewhere. I’ve had to be very conscious of keeping the balance just right or I would probably start neglecting the more important things in life. I think I now have a pretty good handle on this blog and posting – I’ve limited myself to one post per week while still at the 9-5 and my family knows that. The rest of the time I try to juggle spending time with the fam and then doing social media in the evenings after my daughter goes to sleep.

      It’s not a perfect system, but like you said – hopefully it will pay off down the line. Good luck to you as well!! 🙂

      — Jim

  5. Wow, it feels like i could have written the exact same post. The feeling is absolutely mutual, even to the small details…….it is almost scarry! It is good to at least realize you are potentially overdoing the FI thing a bit. However, doing something about it might be even more difficult, but is so critical to the overall succes of FI. Best of luck!

    1. The biggest problem with focusing too much on FI is that there’s always the possibility that something happens before then. If I get run over by a bus and end up bed-ridden for the rest of my life, I’d probably look back thinking about how I wasted a number of my years. Saving for FI is very important, but I’m getting better at balancing that “job” with my spending time with the family and it seems to be working pretty well lately.

      Good luck to you, too, Team CF!!

      — Jim

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