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January 22, 2010

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"Life isn't about dying with the biggest bank account, it's about all that you do while you're still given an opportunity to do it."

While the goal of FMF is "Grow your net worth," I think it is important to be reminded of this every once in a while.

I always need a "why" for action. Why do I work at growing my net worth? So that I can have a comfortable life, retire early, help others, and appreciate life, most importantly my family. Not to grow a bank account to pass on. After your time on Earth, you're remembered for what you do and the lives you touch, not how much junk and money you accumulate.

(steps down from soapbox)

I read a few years ago that the average person will work 10-14 jobs in their lifetime. At age 39, I'm already on job #5 since I got my undergrad degree.

I never thought about taking a job that paid the most money. I've always pursued a career that aligned with my passions and helped move me a step further in achieving my dreams.

Gratefully, each time I've changed jobs, I've earned more, and I've gained more freedom to pursue personal entrepreneurial interests.

I agree with PDubbs, you can't take it with you.
Looking back now at age 75, working from the age of 16, and now after being retired for 18 years, what are the most important events in my memory bank?

They aren't associated with my work, even though I enjoyed my work very much and it enabled me to retire at 58 and to enjoy a really nice working life and retirement life.
What stands out above all the mundane time when you're getting your education, moving up the ladder at work, sitting in your car on the freeway, kissing up to your boss, and performing creative and satisfying work, are the things that happened outside of the schools, universities and workplaces.

I would have to say my best memories all seemed to take place on vacations, both the long ones and the short ones. They include all the wonderful times spent at a cabin at Lake Tahoe where my wife and I and the three kids would go throughout the year - skiing - fishing - hiking - boating etc. Then there are the backpack trips I did with one or more of the kids, climbing to the top of Mt. Whitney and Half Dome in the Sierras. Then my solo trips such as treks to Everest Base Camp, around the Annapurna Range, and climbing a 21,000ft. peak in Nepal, trekking in the Amazon & the Andes in Peru, and a 16 day, 230 mile, solo backpack trip the full length of the John Muit trail in the Sierras. Last but not least, canoe trips in 1957 with two buddies into the wilds of Algonquin park in Canada, portaging between lakes, climbing over beaver dams, fabulous rainbow trout fishing, howling wolves at night, and watching the Northern lights, the Aurora Borealis.

Then, the trips with my wife, Game viewing in Kenya, Botswana and Zimbabwe, climbing the Sacred Peaks in China, exploring Java, Bali, Sulawesi, and Lombok in Indonesia and many more in Turkey, Morocco, and Europe over the years.

Bottom line - You work to get the money to enjoy life through all of its very unique stages. This is why I fail to understand the mentality of people I have known that want to work until they drop. It doesn't make a scrap of sense to me. Work should be just the means to an end. This is why growing our net worth is no longer meaningful, there is no point in taking big risks and putting yourself through lots of stress just to leave a larger inheritance to others.

After thinking about my prior posting one thought that I had is this.
If you are self employed and the owner of a business, large or small, you probably travel a different path through life than a person that was always an employee. People like this that I have known, either retire very late in life or not at all.
I never had the confidence or desire to think about self employment so it was never an issue for me.

Old Limey:

I agree with your last comment. I am banker who works exclusively with small business owners. In my experience, people who own small businesses see them as more of a passion than a job (the business is the end goal). The money is secondary. The business in and of itself is (most times) what makes these people happy. Now granted, they typically make a lot of money because they invest so much blood, sweat, and tears into the business.

Retirement is a lot of times not an option because they are already doing what they want to be doing....or they love the business so much they cannot fathom doing something else, or they are scared to sell the business because it might fail under new ownership.

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