Another reason to be financially independent

The other day had a conference call at 6:30 AM. Instead of waking up at 5:00 AM and head to the office for the call, I decided to take it from home so I could get an extra hour of sleep. Somehow, the call didn’t end until 8 AM. Since I had another meeting at 9 AM that I had to be in the office for, and it takes about 30 minutes to drive to the office, I was in a bit of a rush. I took a quick shower, shaved, helped Mrs. T with Baby T1.0 and T2.0 to get them ready for the morning (i.e. taking diapers off, changing clothes, etc), and ate breakfast. I was rushing through everything so I could get out of the door before 8:30. I sat down for maybe 5 minutes to chow down my breakfast. I barely had time to talk to Mrs. T and Baby T1.0 during breakfast. Once I finished brushing my teeth I rushed out of the door to make sure I could get to work before 9 AM.

Having to rush out of the door was not a good feeling. I felt like I didn’t spend any quality time with my family this morning. Rushing out of the door had made me felt anxious and jumpy while driving to work. I felt a bit frustrated that the earlier conference call had gone overtime. I started telling myself that I should have just toughed it out and woke up at 5 to take the call from the office.

It was a busy day at work with quite a few meetings throughout the day. Although I started the day early and planned to leave before 4 PM, I didn’t get out of the office until 4:45 PM. Someone had call for an emergency 1 hour meeting for 3:30 PM. Due to an earlier accident on the highway, the usual 30 minute commute home took almost an hour.

Just before arriving home, a meeting notification popped up on my phone. I had forgotten that I had a call at 6 PM to talk to my colleagues in Asia.

I spent  about 15 minutes with my family before locking myself in the den room to talk to my colleagues. In the dining room, Mrs. T and Baby T1.0 were eating dinner.

By the time I finished my call around 7:15 PM (again the call went overtime), Mrs. T and Baby T1.0 had already finished dinner. Mrs. T was getting ready to put Baby T1.0 to bed. I sat down at the dinner table and ate dinner all alone. I could hear that Baby T2.0 was crying upstairs in our bedroom while Mrs. T was tending Baby T1.0. I quickly ate my dinner so I could help out upstairs.

It wasn’t until around 8:30 PM that Mrs. T and I were able to sit down together to spend some much needed quality time together. Then Mrs. T showed me this story:

 

A man came home from work late, tired and irritated from a tough day only to find his 5-year old son waiting for him at the door.

“Daddy, may I ask you a question?”

“Yeah sure, what is it?” replied the man.

“Daddy, how much do you make an hour?”

“That’s none of your business. Why do you ask such a thing?” the man asked angrily.

“I just want to know. Please tell me…how much do you make an hour?”

“If you must know, I make $50 an hour.”

“Oh,” the little boy replied, with his head down.

“Daddy, may I please borrow $25?”

The father was furious. “If the only reason you asked that is so you can have some money to buy a silly toy or some other nonsense, then you march yourself straight to your room and go to bed. I don’t work hard everyday to put up with such selfishness.”

The little boy quietly went to his room and closed the door.

The man sat down and started to get even angrier about the little boy’s questions.

“How dare he ask such questions only to get some money”, he thought to himself.

After about an hour or so, the man had calmed down, and started to think.

“Maybe there was something he really needed to buy with that $25.00 and he really didn’t ask for money very often”. The man went to the door of the little boy’s room and opened the door.

“Are you asleep, son?” He asked.

“No daddy, I’m awake”, replied the boy.

“I’ve been thinking, maybe I was too hard on you earlier” said the man.

“It’s been a long day and I took out my aggravation on you. Here’s the $25 you asked for.”

The little boy sat straight up, smiling. “Oh, thank you daddy!” he yelled. Then, reaching under his pillow he pulled out some crumpled up bills.

The man saw that the boy already had money, started to get angry again.

The little boy slowly counted out his money, and then looked up at his father.

“Why do you want more money if you already have some?” the father grumbled.

“Because I didn’t have enough, but now I do,” the little boy replied.

“Money for what?”, the father asked.

“Daddy, I have $50 now. Can I buy an hour of your time? Please come home early tomorrow. I would like to have dinner with you.”

The father was devastated. As he eyes welled up with tears, he put his arms around his little son, and he begged for his forgiveness

Source: Unknown

 

A day like this just reinforces my desire to become financially independent in the near future. Although this kind of crazy day only happens occasionally, I do not enjoy it at all. If I were to climb the corporate ladder, it only means I will get busier. Work-life balance can be a struggle working in the high tech field.

Higher salary but way less quality time with my family?

No thank you.

I’m fighting for my financial independence so I don’t have to rush out of the door again.

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57 thoughts on “Another reason to be financially independent”

  1. Stories like that are hard to read without welling up myself. Days like that happen to me on occasion too, always tough missing quality time with family since it can never be made up. That is one of my biggest motivators to reach FI asap as well!

    Reply
  2. I have had this exact situation happen. I feel your pain and this kind of thing is the #1 reason I want to be financially independent. Working in a global company has its perks and usually good pay but you end up having some challenging times at the beginning and end of your day.

    Reply
  3. I really dig this story Tawcan. It really outlines the reason we are all striving towards FI – to have the flexibility in life, and ability to control our time better, so we can spend with with people we love. Not spend our lives stuck in a rat race or keeping up with the Joneses.

    Reply
  4. This post really hit home for me Tawcan. My struggle to obtain a work life balance is never ending, and I’d gladly pay the ~$50 out of pocket daily to spend an extra hour with my family. Thanks for the reminder of why we’re all working so hard to achieve FI.

    Reply
  5. A great story and lesson Tawcan. With technology the work/life balance only seem to get worst, e-mails, conferences calls etc. all hours of the day and night. You have a lot of great reasons to be working towards FI, but non greater than family.

    Reply
  6. This post is exactly why I want FI as bad as I do. I have had enough times when I have barely been able to see my family because I’m out the door at 6 and hopefully home by 4:30 but that doesn’t always get to be the case. I never want to get to the point where my daughter thinks its normal for me to not be at home for dinner.

    Reply
  7. Touching story Tawcan. It shows that being high up the ladder is not as rosy as some people may believe. If you add on the constant pressure to respond to emails outside working hours and take calls on vacation it can take a toll on you. Hopefully financial independence comes soon so you can enjoy these moments.

    Reply
  8. I haven’t heard that story before but that is good (and of course brought a quick tear to my eye!).

    I’m pretty lucky that my job pays pretty well and, for the most part, is a M-F 8-5 position. It’s pretty rare that I work outside of those hours. And I can “escape” here and there when needed like I did for my daughter’s kindergarten graduation… not sure why that would be at 2pm, but whatever! šŸ™‚

    Regardless, even with my straightforward schedule, I hate that I’m not around for my daughter as much as I want to be. Even though we spend a lot of time together, there are those routine things that need to be done (paying bills, chores, etc.). I would much rather get those things done while she’s at school and then be able to focus on her for as much as she would want me to.

    — Jim

    Reply
  9. Yep, time with family is exactly the reason I wanted financial independence. Life is too short, and the little ones grow up so fast.

    As I write this, I have Tako Jr. #2 all snuggled up beside me. Not having the luxuries of a consumer lifestyle is so worth it.

    Reply
  10. I hear that! With Mrs. SSC’s new position we’ve been able to eat family dinners more often, and I have about another hr or more with the kids a night before they go to bed. It’s been great, even though it was a 6 figure pay cut. But prior to that I’d leave at 6:30 and be back at 6pm and maybe get to see the kids for an hr before bed, and definitely no eating together.

    I’ll gladly take less money for more family time, and hopefully in 2 more years, it will be all family time. šŸ™‚

    Reply
    • Man that’s tough Mr. SSC, leaving at 6:30 and back at 6 PM or later, only to see the kids for an hour before bed. I think eating meals together is so important.

      Reply
  11. What a touching post, and such a stark reminder of your “why.” I admire how much you want to be there for your wife and kids, and completely relate to getting frustrated when work gets in the way of what’s actually important in life. I hope you keep making fast progress to FIRE so you can jump ship ASAP! (Also, as someone who has mastered getting ready while on a work call, I highly recommend making use of the mute button — I am often packing for the plane or getting ready for a meeting while on calls, and it helps me keep my personal time personal.) šŸ™‚

    Reply
  12. One of the Best reads I’ve seen this week. I’d be lying if that story didn’t put a lump in my throat, even though I could see exactly where it was going. Bravo!

    -PoF

    Reply
  13. Your post couldn’t more timely. As it turns out, I’ve just finished a call with Asia myself that finished at 10pm.
    Some days are combined with 7am meetings with Europe and that makes for pretty shitty days.
    I’m with you : climbing up the corporate ladder to miss out on time with my family is having less and less appeal. A VP I talked to the other day told me that he works 24/7, till 11pm and week-ends, which means his wife had to make some sacrifices. I guess he likes it, but never sees his family.
    Financial Independence is a better ‘career’ path for me.

    Reply
  14. Oh so true it hurts.
    Mr. PIE has the worse end of the deal with work and calls that demand his attention. I have the worse end of the deal with my commute, every day is a rush to hit the road before it hits me. We are on the go from 5am to 8.30 pm most days, when we finally sit down for an hour or twp then head to bed. We know that’s no way to live and no way for our kids to live. Hence our path to financial independence.

    Reply
  15. Great story and perspective Tawcan. I don’t mind working hard sometimes, putting in a long day or week. But there has to be light at the end of the tunnel. It certainly gets old when you have to do it all the time and its not worth it. These companies will run you ragged. When I was younger, I was more up for that sort of thing but now at 47 I dont want to live that kind of life. Im not interested in climbing the corporate ladder anymore. Let someone else have the title (and responsibility). At my previous IT job, I saw what some of the managers had to do and its not for me. Im basically FI at this point so I dont need the money that bad. I think more people need to realize how important reaching financial independence is. Its not about trying to be “rich”. Its about having a choice. I really value my personal time and know what it feels like to be spinning your wheels all the time running around. I’ve always been good at hustling but after 20 years it can start to get old. You dont really want to be 50 and having your job force you to live this hectic lifestyle.

    Reply
  16. I’m single/childless and feel pressed for time during the week so I can only imagine what it’s like to be a parent. Of all the reasons to strive for FI, this is by far the best.

    While I don’t have kids (or ever plan to), my parents are aging and I want to make sure that I will have the time to help them out whenever they need it so that’s one of my main reasons for working towards FI. Family is the most important thing and I don’t want to look back with any regrets.

    Reply
    • Hi Kate,

      You’ll learn to adjust once you get married and have a kid (if your plan ever changes). Family is indeed the most important thing and you don’t want to have any regrets looking back years down the road.

      Reply
  17. Ouch, sounds like a long day šŸ™ I used to do games development when I lived in Vancouver, and the hours were brutal, so I can relate. Months and months of 16 hour days, 7 days a week. Never want to revisit that, especially now that I’ve got kids.

    Reply
    • I’ve heard lots crazy stories with games development. A few of people I know worked at EA and they’d sleep at work to make the deadlines. Crazy stuff.

      Reply
      • Yeah EA was legendary back in the day. Knew a few people there, but didn’t work there myself. Other studios weren’t much better, just smaller and attracted less attention from the media. I did a couple all-nighters, and countless other nights where I left late enough that the skytrain service was closed for the night (meaning either cab or walk home).

        Reply
  18. Moving post. I know those work days well — when you’d happily pay anything or cut your own salary just to have some life back. Great reminder of why it’s worth making sacrifices for FIRE.

    Reply
    • Thanks Matt. It’s definitely worth it to make sacrifices for FIRE. The way I see it, these are small sacrifices we’re making for a better future.

      Reply
  19. hey tawcan.

    i normally do not share posts from all over the web, but your post is something special, so i did it.
    I never heard such a sad story.

    I feel your pain, i think most of the population feel the same.
    Money is something, who can buy us time for those who we love.
    I think it is very important for everyone to reach that “financial-independece-retire-early-thing”.

    Even if we love our job, maybe our family do not like it, that we spend so much time in the office.
    I feel for the young little boy in the story.

    I am now 24 years old. I do not have kids, but a very sweet girlfriend. Maybe we will have kids in the future.
    I will try to do everything to spend as much time as possible with my kids. I am on a very good way.

    But there is something I dont understand:
    Why are there so many dividend growth investors with huge portfolios, but do not implement a simple put and call options strategy in their investment style?
    the monthly income will at least double, and so many investors could reach that “FIRE” earlier.

    thanks for sharing this amazing story, tawcan!
    best regards, keep it up!

    Chri

    Reply
    • Hi Chri,

      I guess I’m one of those DGI that do not implement simple put and call options strategy. I’ve read a bit on options before but just haven’t actually made any puts or calls yet. The concept is still slightly confusing to me. Also some DGI might not like the idea having to monitor their portfolio closely for these options.

      Reply
  20. Boy this one hits home. I can’t tell you how rushed I am every morning when I go to work, at work and then at home in the evening. It is all a blur and the time (quality) spent with the family is minimal. I have a solution all worked out though. I just need to convince my wife now is the time to execute on it.

    PS I do not want to climb the ladder at work…up only means more hours (so do you really make more per hour)?

    Thanks for the reminder on FIRE,
    DFG

    Reply
    • Hi DFG,

      It sucks that you’re rushing through everything during your day. Definitely need to execute your solution so you can enjoy more quality time with the family.

      Reply
    • When you climb the ladder they will put you on salary instead of hourly and also probably expect you to work longer hours, plus check emails etc from home. My old boss made a comment to me that we probably made more per hour than he does once you factor in all the work he did from home at night and weekends.

      Reply

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