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Thread: YMOYL Discussion: Week 4, Chapter 4: How Much is Enough?

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    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    YMOYL Discussion: Week 4, Chapter 4: How Much is Enough?

    This should spur some good discussion.

    I'd like to tackle just the first 4 pages about dreams, purpose, and living the good life.

    There's a great quote right in the first paragraph:

    ..to have a fulfilled life you need to have a sense of purpose, a dream of what a good life might be.
    They then talk about how our dreams often get "downsized." (Too bad it's our dreams that get downsized while our "stuff" upsizes.)

    Then they ask us to do this:

    Wherever you are, take a few moments now to reflect on your dreams. So many of us have spent so many hours, days and years of our lives devoted to someone else's agenda that it may be hard to get in touch with our dreams. So many of us have whittled away at our uniqueness...."
    Think about that, and share your response to one of the following questions they pose:

    • What did you want to be when you grew up?
    • What have you always wanted to do that you haven't done yet?
    • What have you done in your life that you are really proud of?
    • If you knew you were going to die within a year, how would you spend that year?
    • What brings you the most fulfillment--and how is that related to money?
    • If you didn't have to work for a living, how would you spend your time?


    For me, personally, this chapter is good timing.

    What is your dream of "the good life"? How big is that gap between the dream and reality?
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
    www.silententry.wordpress.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by catherine View Post
    This should spur some good discussion.
    So far, nothing?! I half expected that, since dreams are so personal.
    Then you have to differentiate from dreams when we sleep, to goals, and which does the book actually mean? (and this has an affect on dreams getting downsized, as realism. You may fly without a plane in your dreams as a child, but try it in real, and we call it falling and you know what they call gravity.) I have had the same "dream" for decades, and most would consider it a nightmare; I don't consider it a goal.
    Then you ask 6 questions:
    1. I remember a lot more of my life, then I should or want to. I have mentioned what I wanted to be as a kid (in the funeral business), but it was so I would work with my grandfather. He died when I was 6, and a good part of that dream died. I have had friends who worked for that funeral home and known some of the owners of it, before it went corporate. I may still end up with some kind of part time job there when I retire, like a couple of people I know have. (vehicle maintenance)
    2. There is nothing I have always wanted to do. I accomplished those mostly at great expense by the time I was 25. I always expected to be dead, long before 30, and have been in enough "interesting" situations, that I basically have stopped "dreaming" (goal making) this way. There are things I have thought it would be nice to do or see, but I have not made them goals, and in several, due to the internet, I could take virtual tours and then have felt disappointment and happiness that money wasn't spent to achieve them.
    3. I can't speak of it, that will die with me.
    4. Getting my affairs in order, stuff sold, etc. so there is basically only the laundry I am wearing to get rid of.
    5. I wish I knew. Money is now only a goal, because I have lived longer then I expected. I need to be prepared, realistically to live longer then thought. (have money for "retirement")
    6. Hopefully volunteering or learning new skills, because I expect I would be bored out of my skull.

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    1. a nurse- I watched my grandfather die at home with hospice when I was 14 and hospice was just getting off the ground in there. I achieved that goal and loved it.
    2. I want to tour around Europe and wind surf, I don't see either happening.
    3. my work in all kinds of nursing, being a mom
    4. reading as many great books as possible, spending quality time with the people I love, getting my affairs in order, too, I'd like to leave with the only mess being the clothes on my back.
    5. Right now it sort of feels like nothing is bringing me fulfillment, between being sued by the ex, not feeling well, worrying about money, unsatisfactory relationships., etc. My dog gives me a daily dose of fulfillment. When things settle down, I will examine this question further
    6. I don't work and what I do with my time is not particularly fulfilling. I have a lot to work on.

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    • What did you want to be when you grew up?

    I always played at being a doctor / vet and a school teacher. The doctor thing nearly happened, well it did for a short-while, I completed medical school but then got very ill and never returned. I did end up being a teacher and have now been one for 10 years. The vet thing was never going to happen due to phobias of reptiles (that is getting better) and allergies to most pet fur!



    • What have you always wanted to do that you haven't done yet?

    I want to visit every continent, I'd also love to do a long distance challenge of some kind, something like walk round the whole of the UK.



    • What have you done in your life that you are really proud of?

    Recovered from being suicidal, being a mum, ran the London marathon, broke away from toxic people.




    • If you knew you were going to die within a year, how would you spend that year?

    Eating lots of good food, travelling and having lots of sex



    • What brings you the most fulfillment--and how is that related to money?

    Travel and spending time with my partner. He's in the USA and I'm in the UK so seeing each other costs a lot of money at the moment. We're also part way through the visa process which again is costing a lot of money.



    • If you didn't have to work for a living, how would you spend your time?

    I'd set up a small school for those kids who get thrown out of regular schools and for kids with mental health difficulties. Or I'd foster lots of children. I'd probably spend a great deal of time making miniature stuff too.

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    When I was little I wanted to be a nurse. When I was in high school I wanted to get married and have babies and I had absolutely no career aspirations. Then at about age 30, after the 3 kids were born, I decided I still wanted to be a nurse. So I went back to school and after six years I had my BSN.

    After almost 20 years working as a nurse, I feel like I'm finally doing what I would do even if I didn't need the money. I really love teaching nursing students and I've been doing that on a part-time basis for a community college. My other work is 2 twelve hour days a week as a supervisor. It's hard work and it can be stressful - but at least it's only two days a week and it pays well.

    So even if I win the lottery I would probably still keep both jobs and continue toward my goal of a state pension in 10 years. Although if that lottery were high enough I would only do the teaching job.

    I also homeschool my grandson one day a week. And I watch the younger grandkids a few times a week as well. I like to take them to the children's museum and places like that.

    I'm pretty lucky that everything that I do really does match my dreams at this point in my life. I've had many years where that wasn't the case.

  6. #6
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    Thanks, all, for your candid responses.. You're right, TooMuchStuff--very personal (I didn't mean to probe--I DID say to pick ONE question--but I do I welcome all and any responses that might help reveal the alignment between our dreams and how we spent/spend our money throughout our lives.)

    I think life can be like a Plinko game--remember that game on Price is Right, where the person stands at the top of this big board that has a bunch of pins that will "plink" the puck down towards the bottom of the board. You are aiming for the big prize circle, but sometimes your puck just plinks down far away from where you aiming.

    People can unintentionally live like that plinko puck, taking one fork in the road after the other and winding up far from where you intended. Sometimes you choose which way you go; sometimes life chooses, but the bottom line is, sometimes you "win" your dream and other times you wind up somewhere completely different.

    That's what the point of this chapter is.. but where our lives depart from the Plinko board is sometimes we wind up winning a better prize. We THINK we want something but life guides us down a different path. I believe in human agency for sure, but I also believe in the miraculous power of life to give us happiness where we least expect it.

    So, getting back to that "gap" question for me.. When it comes to money, there have been many surprises.. some good, some bad. When it comes to how I have chosen to earn my money there have been many surprises.

    Like freshstart, I'm turning 65 next year, and it feels like a bit of a reverse puberty. Instead of seeing my future spread out in a tantalizing way like I did at 12, now I feel like I'm on my way out of Oz and back to Kansas. But that's not a bad thing--as Dorothy said, "There's no place like home." But what's home? AM I at home--comfortable with how I've used my income and outgo? If not, what do I have to do to rectify things?

    When I was young I wanted to be (at various times)
    A nun
    An artist
    A teacher
    A costume designer
    An actor
    A French translator at the UN
    A journalist

    I wound up being:
    A production assistant for a major broadcasting company
    A family day-care provider
    A newsletter writer
    A stuffer of birds (soft sculpture, not taxidermy)
    A public relations director for a school district
    Ultimately, a market researcher

    I'm not unhappy about how I chose to make money. That's only one slice of my life. The main slice is the greatest source of my satisfaction. When I'm on my deathbed I'll be able to say that I had four of the greatest kids in the world (entirely subjective, I know), and I'll carry with me the knowledge that they are making the world a better place by being on this planet.

    But moving forward, I HAVE to close the gap between my debt and desire for financial freedom; between my home and desire for a pared-down simple life; my time and my desire to share more of it with people and causes I love.

    If I can refocus on the principles of YMOYL, I think I can remind myself that every penny I spend that is NOT aligned with those three things is a plink away from the big win.
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
    www.silententry.wordpress.com

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    Senior Member Kestra's Avatar
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    I just read this chapter quickly as I've been thinking an awful lot about this topic in the last 2-3 years, and have made a lot of life changes as a result. Following the YMOYL example (or just happening to do it anyhow) is how I've managed to drop out of the "normal workforce" and do whatever I want.

    I am interested in answering the questions.

    What did you want to be when you grew up?
    Mostly I wanted to be Dave Barry. Or some other type of writer. I also wanted to live a minimalistic, self-sufficient, independent lifestyle, but I knew I'd need some money. I couldn't figure out how to do what I wanted and be able to pay for it. I didn't really have many big aspirations - everything seemed so stressful (anxiety issues) or completely unattainable.

    What have you always wanted to do that you haven't done yet?
    Learn how to sing. Or sing better. Travel more as an adult - Europe, most of Canada, Hawaii.

    What have you done in your life that you are really proud of?
    Getting my black belt in karate. Trying roller derby at age 39. Leaving my marriage (sort of; mixed feelings there - not really pride), quitting several jobs, and finally working on my own business.


    If you knew you were going to die within a year, how would you spend that year?

    Travelling around N. America, meeting all my internet friends, seeing all the beautiful places I hadn't seen yet, teaching personal finance, meeting new people and not being so self-conscious, spending time with my SO.

    What brings you the most fulfillment--and how is that related to money?
    Problem solving, making spreadsheets, doing math, talking to people, giving advice, improving situations for others. I'm trying to make money doing all my favourite things by starting a money coaching business.


    If you didn't have to work for a living, how would you spend your time?
    Exercising, travelling, growing and harvesting food, making spreadsheets, problem solving, volunteering with people who don't typically have access to financial planning services. Pretty much what I'm doing now, except I don't have much money and the main priority has to be making an income again.

  8. #8
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    What did you want to be when you grew up?
    I am lucky to not remember much of what I wanted to do. I suppose be a veterinarian at one point, like all kids who like animals. I probably thought about being a writer.

    But I distinctly remember wanting to live in a big city like New York, in a townhouse, and lead a city life with theaters and parks and taking advantage of the things that cities have. I kind of ended up doing that although St. Louis is no New York. Its likely that in my city fantasy I was svelte and better dressed.

    What are you most proud of?

    Apparently I am pretty far into being self actualized. This only occurred to me in recent years. I've always known myself and can easily identify and reject life choices that won't work for me. That rejection process always helps to narrow choices on what to do. I've never relied on others for guidance as to what I should do. I've had probably 4 or 5 major life decision points and for each one it took a while for me to work out what to do, but for each one I made a decision that I did not regret. I did have a bit of sadness that I couldn't do both things (had to choose one or the other) but that doesn't mean that I wish I had taken a different path.

    If you didn't have to work for a living...
    I spend entirely too much time on the stupid internet. Here I am, finally retired, not answering to anyone (well, DH has some expectations!) and I fritter the day away on the mf computer. What a waste of a life! I Do accomplish other things, just not nearly as much as I want to accomplish. It creeps me out. This has to change!!!

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    Senior Member flowerseverywhere's Avatar
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    I had a fulfilling career working with the mentally ill as a nurse. I do have some regrets, but dwelling on those is not productive. I realize how fortunate we were to never have been out of work and to have two middle class incomes. We did live below our means, living in a much cheaper house then we could afford and especially with our vehicles, we were the king and queen of rust buckets which DH fixed. Also, we stayed in a long term marriage. I realize that many people through no fault of their own lose jobs, end up in a divorce or have other unfortunate things happen to them. I read stories here all the time of bad things that happen to good people that make me very sad.

    I don't have to work for a living. Thanks to YMOYL I have way less stuff than most people. Many years ago I thought very hard about what we were valuing and DH jumped on board. It is much harder today as DH had a job with a moderate pension which are all but gone today. Also, we were able to limit our family size, something women slightly older than me did not have the option of doing.
    My life today:
    Almost every day I go to the gym. Surrounding myself with healthy people is a positive influence on me.

    i do all kinds of crafts, including pottery, quilting and am getting into working with glass. I am in a big sale next week so will pare down what my friends and family don't want.

    But what I really love is I have found some charities I love working for. Combat veterans to careers helps those returning from war to assimilate into the workforce and society. Also, a local organization that helps the working poor. They help people fix up their houses, help the kids with a tutoring/mentoring program, in the long run they have helped people take steps to leave behind generational poverty and step up to the lower middle class. They went into a very poor area of town where many people were of color, and it was normal for the young women to get pregnant young and the young men to go to jail. Through this organization the families they have touched have seen kids not only graduate from high school, some have gone to trade school or college or have successful military careers, and were able to break that awful cycle of the young in jail or pregnant. All done with donations and sweat equity. I also volunteer a few times a month at our local library. They sell used books and have programs to help the local schools, like mentoring, buying books for the classrooms and library and scholarships.

    Oh, and by not working I can help out with the grandkids whenever they need me. I love that freedom.

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    Being newly retired puts a new spin on a lot of these questions. It is so odd to observe most people caught up in the mad dash when you step away from it. I think the one over-arching theme to my life has been to make beauty out of chaos. I have always loved putting things in order. I did a good job of that in raising a happy and fulfilled child and in my various employment pursuits. As I will no longer be working full time, I will spend my days trying make my new neighborhood and city a better place in whatever little way I can, I will put my new house in order and I will create beautiful gardens.

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