Gus' road to retirement

Where are you and where are you going?
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Augustus
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Re: Gus' road to retirement

Post by Augustus » Wed Jul 25, 2018 5:40 pm

Not mobile, ecommerce plugins right now, I have a few different platforms I've written custom apps for for various clients, I plan to turn some of the stuff clients requested into plug and play apps/plugins.

SavingWithBabies
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Location: Midwest, USA

Re: Gus' road to retirement

Post by SavingWithBabies » Wed Jul 25, 2018 9:48 pm

Ah! Whoops. I have mobile apps on the brain. That makes sense. There seem to be some really good opportunities with Shopify plugins and that kind of thing.

Augustus
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Re: Gus' road to retirement

Post by Augustus » Thu Aug 02, 2018 12:42 pm

@SWB I certainly hope so! But honestly, I don't really care all that much. in 3 years I'm done working full time , but I have been wanting to try this for about 8 years now, I need to either do it or stop kidding myself. One more thing to cross off the bucket list. If I could score like 2-3k/mo I'd be more than happy with that outcome. If it went even bigger, great. I just don't want to have it take over more than a few hours a week of my life once I get the foundation finished.

In other news...

I picked up another peter hamilton scifi book, which has thrown the rest of my life goals into a state of neglect. I love a good story, when I retire I imagine I'll probably knock out a good 1000 pager in a couple days, once or twice a month. It's funny because I'm so progress oriented, that that should bother me, what do I gain from reading fiction? But I love it, they're some of the best moments of my life.

My wifes new job has great insurance, this may reduce expenses another 500/mo, woohoo! I'm not sure if we'll go with it, the last time I used a corporate plan, I called up the drs and the insurance company and asked if I'd have access to the same drs, they both said yes, then we used the dr we had used before for a minor surgery for my wife, and the assholes said it wasn't covered. Cue 7 months of arguing where I have in writing that they said it was covered before I switched plans. Bastards. I'm getting it in writing before we do anything.

I've been doing a good job of exercising every day, eating well, and making progress on my book list. I keep slacking on working in some guitar and surfing into my weekly life though. I really need to get on that. Procrastination makes other things take longer than they should, and then later on I don't want to bother venturing into new territory. I need to put up or shut up when it comes to that as well, either I want to do those things, and I do them, or I let go of the idea. Right now it's the idea that has me enthralled. I've surfed a few times, I know I enjoy it, because every time I've gone I've felt awesome, totally happy and in my element, but it's new to me, and the newness makes me not want to deal with it, just another complication in my overly complicated life. I think I'll book a surf lesson for next Thursday? Maybe? I need to buy some sun proof gear first, rashguard, uv protected pants of some kind, and a surf hat. I got a gnarly, as in swollen to the size of a grape fruit and purple/yellow burn the first time I surfed on my leg because I didn't apply enough sunscreen. Maybe that will be my weekend mission.

Augustus
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Re: Gus' road to retirement

Post by Augustus » Wed Sep 12, 2018 4:16 pm

I'm going to try and maximize my enjoyment of the next 2 years by getting as much enjoyable time in as possible. I've been working on the sand at the beach about twice a week on average, it's my favorite. I always end up not wanting to leave and feeling like the time passed too quickly. I can verify that an umbrella + a beach chair + a backpack (doubles as a table) + good hotspot signal + a laptop is all you need. Check the weather regarding wind speed though, anything above 10mph and the umbrella wants to fly away, which makes it a no go. I don't have the testicular fortitude to try doing a conference call on the sand what with the noise of the waves and the beach goers, that's really the only thing holding me back from working on the sand a good 6-8 hrs at a time. I looked into solar powered power banks for charging laptops and found a few, which would extend my laptop battery power time beyond 8 hrs, would cost $400 for panels + power bank. I used a kill-a-watt to monitor actual draw, and even though my charger is rated at 160W, I haven't seen it go over 120W in practice, even under high load. The power banks say they're rated up to 10 amps with 250 watts, so should be fine, I hope? You can't charge while drawing power though, so I'll have to set up the panels somewhere and remember to plug it in, or top it up on grid power each day.

In other news, my rentals are currently generating about 1950/mo in profit, yay! It was an abstract theory until the money started being direct deposited in my bank account, it feels GREAT to see the money actually come in. I'm sure there will be maintenance that eats into the profit, but I was only figuring on 1700/mo in profit to account for maintenance, so we'll see. One thing I'll also be comparing is the maintenance costs between the townhouse and the single family. Additionally, I've been using a home warranty on the townhouse, which limits my maintenance costs to 45/mo + 75 per each broken item. So far I've really enjoyed having the home warranty because it eliminates a ton of hassle, and keeps maintenance costs from fluctuating wildly, at a cost of 45/mo.

Finally making some progress with savings goals, the move wiped out all the savings for 2 months, ugh. I am hopeful I'll be able to sock away another 20k by years end. If I can save 70k in 2019 and 70k in 2020, that puts me right where I want to be. My kid will enter kindergarten in Sept 2020, bringing monthly costs down by 1340/mo. I am hopeful that 2021 will be my year to say good bye to full time employment. Probably around June 2021, I'll either put 50% down on a new rental or pay off the current half paid off rental, boosting my passive income to about 2200/mo. With the passive income going up and the daycare costs becoming a thing of the past, I'll be done! Now it's just a matter of enjoying the years until I get there as much as I can.

We'll see, I have proposed and missed my date a few times now. I need to keep my housing desires in check, that would kill my budget, and it obviously depends on me being employed for the next ~30 consecutive months, which is out of my control. I have noticed that I give less and less of a shit about work though, and it's affecting my performance, or at least my appearance. I really just don't care anymore, I'll do a professional job, but I used to be much more focused on making good impressions, networking, etc. I still do, to a point, but I have noticed I am not doing it to the same level that I used to. I say no a lot more, the general inefficiency and incompetence pervasive in all human enterprises bothers me more, I've gotten more careless, etc

Not sure if that's age/life stage related, or the fact that I have a large cash buffer and believe that I can always find another client if needed, or if I'm just getting bored with being in business, my 10 year anniversary of being self employed is coming up next year.

Whatever... as long as I can work on the beach a few times a week and not have to go in to an office, and as long as I can maintain at least a 50k savings rate per year, that's good enough for my purposes. If I have some gaps of no work in between and it slows me down by burning through 20k of savings each year, well, so be it. The next 2 years should be the worst of it as there is still a large chunk of money to save and my expenses are at (I hope) an all time high because of child care costs, and the worst of it is still pretty good.

Oh, and making solid progress on apps, yay! Shooting to get the first app in the store by Christmas, ideally before Thanksgiving, but properly estimating software completion dates is practically impossible.

Augustus
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Re: Gus' road to retirement

Post by Augustus » Mon Nov 12, 2018 7:34 pm

Life is good! My personality is such that it feels weird saying that (I must be missing something! Something must be wrong somewhere!!). As far as I can tell, I am on track, there really isn't anything for me to do other than maintain. I got off the rails for the last year or so financially, wifes tuition (30k), move (20k), my tuition (12k), tax guy messed up (10k). That wiped out a year of savings at my current rate, which is much less than my past rates since I've decided to basically halve my workload, which halved my income, due to...burnout? Or overall satisfaction? I don't really know how to put it. For years I was focused almost entirely on income at the expense of everything else. I realized that that was basically going to be the death of me and probably my marriage/family, and shifted focus. I've lost 55 lbs so far, my marriage is in a much better place than it was (although there are always rough patches), I spend a couple hours each day with my kid, I spend a couple hours each day with my wife, and I spend a couple hours each day on myself. My new definition of wealth is that is has 3 pillars: health, money, family. You're not wealthy unless you have all 3.

Anyways, wrt finances I went back to fundamentals, watching cash flow, making sure to set targets each month, making sure I'm going to hit those targets. I am on track to accomplish my goal for 2018, which was hitting 150k in savings. I've lowered my expectations as to what I can save each year, but it's basically just a matter of time. I'm about 2 years away, assuming I save 70k per year in 2019 and 2020. The house market here is stalling out, my hunch is that jobs will stall out soon, I know a lot of people getting laid off in IT right now. If that happens and house prices go down, in 2 years I think we'll purchase what I'm calling our forever home. A 3 bed/2 bath roughly 1300 sqft detached house (not very ERE but I consider it worth it). I should also have enough for 50% down on a 3rd rental property around the same time. My passive income will be about 2200/mo after the 3rd rental property, or paying down the second one if I don't qualify, I'm not sure if they'll lend me more. I suppose I could get a HELOC on the paid off property I already have, I'm only planning on borrowing about 100k, the HELOC would cover that, and the tenants can pay that off the loan over time. It would mean lower profit in the short term, but in the long term I'd have 3 rentals instead of 2, and that's really what I'm targeting. I need to get into a bank and open one in the next month or so, while the economy is riding high and they're lending freely.

That's all boring stuff, and I've mostly put it on autopilot.

I'm much more interested in the stuff I've been doing for me. I have accomplished my dream of becoming a surfer! I started surfing on my lunch breaks once a week. I researched the closest beginner surfing spots, I took a lesson to refresh my memory, I was able to paddle and pop up on my own and ride a few all the way in, I bought a basic 8' soft top board, and lots of sun protection gear (surf hat, surf sunglasses [to keep my eyes undamaged by UV], wetsuit top, wetsuit bottom). I also got an annual parking pass at a cost of $13/mo so I can drive down to the sand in the morning, work in my car a bit, then surf for lunch. I love surfing, I love how it makes me feel. I have a really hard time keeping things in perspective with all the various stressors in my life. I'm always worried about this or worried about that. Working on the sand, watching the water, listening to the waves, watching kids play, catching some waves, all those things kind of reset my mental state. All the things I was stressed out about before I do those things become...silly? I don't have a good word for it, it's one thing to theoretically know you should not be worried, but after being on the beach it's more of a visceral relaxation, and a why was I even worried at all mental state. Those worries are all stuff that I know that I wont even remember in 5 years. That's how I've been trying to think of it. If I'm working for a jerk, or I'm worried about financial goals or whatever, I realize that I wont even remember the stuff I've been stressing on in 5 years, so in the grand scheme of things, it's not something worth getting all worked up about. Do what needs to be done, make sure it doesn't fall apart, and focus on the good stuff. I'll remember my kid running on the beach having a blast, and I'll remember the way the light plays on the water, and I'll remember what it felt like after a good surfing session. The rest is just noise. My only concern there is that I don't want to neglect it too much. Finances are a foundation, my skills are a foundation, the surfing and all that are built on that foundation, so I need to spend enough time keeping the foundation secure, without letting it become a hindrance to the things I really enjoy, and while keeping it in perspective.

I also picked up video course on paying guitar, I bought a guitar years ago and never put the time in, now I regularly practice at least once a week. I'm not any good at it, but I can make noise that sounds good to me, and I have fun. It's been very rewarding. I remember taking a few stabs at guitar in the past, I always got discouraged by how long it would take to become really good at it. Now I enjoy playing badly :) The key word there is enjoy. The course is from The Great Courses, and one thing I like is that the guy gets you started playing something that isn't half bad in lesson one. He's doing all the hard work, you're doing an accompaniment or some improvisation, but it actually sounds good, and it's fun.

suomalainen
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Re: Gus' road to retirement

Post by suomalainen » Mon Nov 12, 2018 10:34 pm

Ha ha ha. Way to water all the plants, man. Congrats. Always heartening to read of life's little successes while working towards what are sometimes considered bigger goals.

Mister Imperceptible
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Re: Gus' road to retirement

Post by Mister Imperceptible » Tue Nov 13, 2018 5:57 pm

But yes Augustus you forgot to mention ‘what’s wrong’!

Congrats on finding your zen.

Augustus
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Re: Gus' road to retirement

Post by Augustus » Wed Nov 14, 2018 5:06 pm

Thank you gentlemen. If you're ever in SoCal drop me a line, we can go surfing :)

Augustus
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Re: Gus' road to retirement

Post by Augustus » Mon Dec 10, 2018 6:45 pm

On track financially to hit a little over 150k in cash this month. I fell off the horse for a while when it comes to savings, it feels good to be back in the saddle. I kind of feel like I'm on a hamster wheel though, saving cash with nothing to show for it. I think I'll open up a higher yield savings account soon, I read you can get 2% with an amex personal savings, I owe it to myself to get SOMETHING out of that money since it's not doing anything productive right now, but I don't want to invest it because I want quick easy access to it when we're ready to buy. The next big jolt of joy/reward over money will be when we buy what I'm calling our "forever home" in approx 2 years. I never want to move again after the next move, so I'll probably spend a bit more than I want to. We'll see, best laid plans of mice and men and all that. I've been considering trying to rent in some of the neighborhoods we want to buy in to test drive them, but then again, I HATE MOVING. I also hate transaction costs. Moving a family around is just expensive, no real way around it. When in doubt, do nothing I guess. If we buy what we think is a dream house but in reality we hate it I'll just have to eat the costs of moving.

I've been reading "A Christmas Carol" and thinking about charity and compassion. I have difficulty relating to people who find themselves in dire financial straits. If someone were doing all the right things and life just threw them a curve ball I'd feel bad for them, and would probably help out, but I suspect this is seldom the case. I looked up an old classmate of mine from grade school the other day and it turned out she was homeless for a while, drugs and bad decisions. I feel like I should be doing SOMETHING for my fellow man, but I don't know what, I've even considered getting involved at a church. I was raised Catholic, but became an on the fence agnostic in my teens, well, probably more of a militant atheist in my teens, but mellowed out now. To me it's kind of a non issue, I see good aspects of religion, and I see stuff that is not good. Anyways, not looking to have a discussion on the validity of religion, but I think the charitable and compassionate aspects of religion are good. I think those ideals are valuable, regardless of whether or not someone believes in a higher power.

Which leads me to another aspect of my thinking, my parents raised me as a Catholic and I believed it until I was 14 or so. Even though I became agnostic, I think it did lay a moral foundation/worldview that has never left me. I am wondering if I should do the same thing for my daughter. It would be kind of funny wouldn't it? An agnostic taking their kid to church purely for the moral character building aspects of it. I think it's sad that there isn't a secular institution that adopts the same values and methods. Meeting once a week to listen to a lecture on how to be a good person is not a bad thing. I think it was beneficial for me, I don't know how to provide the same benefit to my daughter. I think that peer groups and role models are the strongest influences in our formation of a world view, it would be nice to find something that would put my kid around the right types of people. The whole moral relativism thing in the west right now is beyond strange to me. I don't know why people feel inclined to throw the baby out with the bath water. It seems like we're a society of extremes when it comes to these issues, but maybe that's just the news/media. A lot of liberalism revolves around making victims out of everyone, and absolving all blame, whereas a lot of conservatism revolves around identifying evil and making a big stink, without enough compassion.

I think I ought to find a place to volunteer, and bring my kid along, at the very least. That is one thing I really miss about the smaller community we lived in last year, we were in a very tight knit community, and people were constantly helping each other out, I really loved that. Groups of people are so hit and miss though, and they change over time. Which is probably where the church thing is coming from, it's so standardized and avoids a lot of the pitfalls of ad hoc groups.

Quantummy
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Re: Gus' road to retirement

Post by Quantummy » Mon Dec 10, 2018 11:13 pm

Given various circumstances, 2 years seems like a long way out to find the forever home. But regardless what happens, we'll all be aboard the train. How long do you expect to b in the forever home - 10/20/30 years? It seems that if prices go down interest rates may go up. Maybe you can limit to a few areas / neighborhoods and be ready to buy if a house that fits comes on market.

Good thoughts on compassion/ charity - while you don't want to "reward" bad decisions, helping people in need is worthwhile.

classical_Liberal
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Re: Gus' road to retirement

Post by classical_Liberal » Tue Dec 11, 2018 10:12 pm

Kids and morals/religion are tough as hell, which is why I don't have any kids :D. My path regarding religiousity is very similar to yours. I have very fond memories of church and youth activities until teenaged years, when it turned to angst and bitterness. Now I'm a very mild agnostic, but the morals those childhood social activities instilled remained present.

If you are interested in monetary donations I've found Kiva to be a great option, although it's very nonlocal. It's great because it provides loans to people to help themselves. That is very much my mentality and yours, at least it reads that way. The other benefit is the majority of donations are paid back. So with ERE being a goal, one could make larger donations while accumulating, then much smaller ones once FI to maintain the principle as an ongoing fund for charity. Just a suggestion, this type of thing is very personal.

Augustus
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Re: Gus' road to retirement

Post by Augustus » Thu Dec 13, 2018 6:54 pm

Quantummy wrote:
Mon Dec 10, 2018 11:13 pm
How long do you expect to b in the forever home - 10/20/30 years? It seems that if prices go down interest rates may go up. Maybe you can limit to a few areas / neighborhoods and be ready to buy if a house that fits comes on market.

Good thoughts on compassion/ charity - while you don't want to "reward" bad decisions, helping people in need is worthwhile.
Forever home would ideally be until I die (~40-50 years or more), though I'm not sure how realistic that is. Yeah my thinking is that I want to be ready, hence the large amount of cash, otherwise I'd have invested it somewhere else by now. When a deal comes up, I'm going to need a large down payment, and that's not something that can be cobbled together quickly. Out of the blue though my wife says she thinks we should downsize again, previously she had been resistant to that idea. So I think we may move into a 2 bedroom townhouse in the area I was thinking checks most of the boxes, we downsized into a 3 bedroom detached house in a HCOL area this year from a 5 bedroom in a much LCOL area. Downsizing while renting would let me experiment and see if we'd be happy with a smaller attached house, or if we're truly happier in a larger detached house. If we do end up enjoying the smaller attached house, the rent reduction would be very beneficial to my semi retirement prospects.
classical_Liberal wrote:
Tue Dec 11, 2018 10:12 pm
Now I'm a very mild agnostic, but the morals those childhood social activities instilled remained present.

It's great because it provides loans to people to help themselves.
Strongly agree with both of those statements. I need to formulate a plan and implement.

Augustus
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Re: Gus' road to retirement

Post by Augustus » Wed Dec 19, 2018 5:01 pm

Hot damn, just hit 150k in savings! I was honestly worried I wouldn't hit my goal this year with all the insanity that's happened so far. I thank the fed for raising rates again today and hopefully making my future home purchase less expensive.

I've noticed a new trend in myself recently, I've been diverging away from money and progress wrt a career/accumulation/conventional idea of success as my primary focus. It's a really big shift for me as I've spent the last 10 years or so totally engrossed in that viewpoint. Always watching my bank account, planning out the next move, and the next few years. These days I'd rather spend my time being in awe of the cosmos, contemplating life and my place in the universe, imagining the future, surfing, playing guitar, cooking, etc. I suppose this bodes well for my eventual semi-retirement aspirations.

I reread Sagan's Cosmos a few months back, and I feel like he just nailed it. We are so lucky to be alive at this moment in time, it seems crazy to squander it being worried about the future or trivialities like numbers on a bank account, provided that you have solved the money problem of course. The main thing seems to be having a savings rate of 50% or more, if you do that, you'll always have more money than you need. If you internalize those ideas and set up a resilient strategy for money (which seems to take a number of years), after a certain point there really isn't much of a point in investing much more thought in it. I really can't foresee myself having money issues for the rest of my life, provided that I spend a bit of time each month monitoring the situation and adjusting assets/spending as needed. It's a really nice feeling. My wife is still so focused on her job and career, and is shocked that I don't want to take on new clients. On the other hand I feel like this client is taking too much of my life already, and I don't really care if I am making half what I made a few years ago. I think my career is effectively "finished" at this point. It's like a work of art that I'm done with. I'll need to do some basic maintenance while I semi RE and work for a few months a year, mostly learning and stay up to date.

I just need to slog through the next 3 years until I get the final rental, drop preschool costs and get daughter into public school, and get us into a permanent dwelling. Then I can get out from underneath full time work, since full time work is getting in the way of having fun.
Last edited by Augustus on Wed Dec 19, 2018 9:35 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Mister Imperceptible
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Re: Gus' road to retirement

Post by Mister Imperceptible » Wed Dec 19, 2018 7:06 pm

I have contemplated how to imbue hypothetical children with a moral compass.

Having them go to Church and take confession like I did seems like it would be valuable on the face of it. But the other children did not ask questions, they were unconcerned with moral dilemmas, and they never took voluntary confessions like me. What compass I had was within me, whether genetically or because my father employed corporal punishment and insisted on honesty as a virtue. I think the Church is better at terrifying those who might otherwise not have the compass, with dogma.

I would probably give them the Bible, along with the classics, and a good portion of the Western canon, and let them choose belief or apostasy. I would not hide the truth. No one gave me the classics, I had to seek them out. So they would have an advantage.

It would seem particularly important not allowing life on Earth to be deemphasized for the sake of a hereafter. We are indeed lucky to be alive.

Now that you are a rich semi-ERE bastard I would say your primary concern is that your wife spoils them.

classical_Liberal
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Re: Gus' road to retirement

Post by classical_Liberal » Wed Dec 19, 2018 10:27 pm

Congrats on the cash! It makes a big difference in mentality. With semi-ERE I tend to think of it in a savings vs investment standpoint. While my investments can cover X% of my income, savings allows me X# of years off to take a breather. For some reason the second feels more freeing in a context of not being FI.

Augustus
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Re: Gus' road to retirement

Post by Augustus » Fri Dec 21, 2018 6:14 pm

classical_Liberal wrote:
Wed Dec 19, 2018 10:27 pm
Congrats on the cash! It makes a big difference in mentality.
Yup, I've been a remote contractor for 10 years now, my income has varied wildly from month to month over that time. I wouldn't be able to sleep at night without at least 6 mos expenses in cash. I figure that I could need that much time to find a new big client or figure something else out, I really don't want to go back to an office. The other big piece of mind benefit is that you aren't as concerned if someone makes unreasonable demands, they fire you and you go on vacation for a little while, boohoo :lol:
Mister Imperceptible wrote:
Wed Dec 19, 2018 7:06 pm
I think the Church is better at terrifying those who might otherwise not have the compass, with dogma.
That is a really good point. When you're really young you usually don't have any preconceptions for moral code, it's just a big blank. I'd rather her have christian morals installed than a void. Some people need the fear of god to not act like an ass, hope my kid isn't one of them, but it probably wouldn't hurt. I'm pretty sure it gave me a foundation to build on top of.

suomalainen
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Re: Gus' road to retirement

Post by suomalainen » Fri Dec 21, 2018 6:33 pm

Augustus wrote:
Fri Dec 21, 2018 6:14 pm
I'd rather her have christian morals installed than a void.
What void? You wouldn't teach her anything? Unlikely.

Augustus
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Re: Gus' road to retirement

Post by Augustus » Sat Dec 22, 2018 1:41 am

suomalainen wrote:
Fri Dec 21, 2018 6:33 pm
What void? You wouldn't teach her anything? Unlikely.
How much do your kids listen to you vs their peer group? It's one thing to hear it from you, it's another to hear it from other people they respect. At least that's my hunch. I'll do what I can, but I know that I rebelled a lot.

suomalainen
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Re: Gus' road to retirement

Post by suomalainen » Sat Dec 22, 2018 9:49 am

I dunno. They appear to listen to us a lot. But we are very very open about what the rules are (and they are few) and about WHY the rules are the way they are. The most important lesson in my view is to teach the kids to think for themselves. When it comes to a more general sense of morality, they do go to church with the wife and get "instruction" there, and then at home she talks about her values and I'm always talking about my values which float somewhere in the atheistic, buddhist, stoic, "poetic naturalist" and this-cool-idea-from-the-latest-thing-I've-read arena. I'm not a purist. I dunno. Even if your kids rebel, I think you might be surprised how much of you they absorb. In any case, it certainly won't be a void.

ThisDinosaur
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Re: Gus' road to retirement

Post by ThisDinosaur » Sat Dec 22, 2018 5:10 pm

Augustus wrote:
Sat Dec 22, 2018 1:41 am
How much do your kids listen to you vs their peer group? It's one thing to hear it from you, it's another to hear it from other people they respect.
It's possible to respect one's parents. Allegedly.

Good point about the importance of peer groups. I'd say that's more important than religion. Compare (1) a church-going kid with thuggish friends to (2) an atheist kid invested in competitive extracurriculars. I say the atheist kid gets in less trouble.

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