What is Important in your Life?

Discussion in 'Shooting the Breeze' started by aristotle, Feb 9, 2018.

  1. aristotle

    aristotle Frequent Poster

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    I am re-evaluating what is important in my life and what are the things that make you happy.

    I am a few weeks from turning 40 and it somehow, over the last few months has made me think and re-evaluate what exactly I am trying to do in this short life. I have had a few other reality kicks where my brother was diagnosed with cancer, my mother in law died from cancer, but other joyeous times like the birth of my children and nephews.

    So, currently, I would list these as important things in order and would like to hear what others think considering this whole site is all about money give or take.

    1) Have little debt (or at least little expensive debt)
    The reason I put this as number one is that it gives you freedom. Freedom to take time off from work, freedom to loose your job, freedom to spend more money on some of things listed next, freedom to retire at a young age, freedom to buy things that you like and not just material things for the sake of it.

    2) Experiences
    Seems to me that time goes by very, very quickly when you get lost in the routine, the regular commuting and working pattern. When you experience something new, holidays whatever, you can look back and time doesn't seem to go as fast. Memories you create from experiences with friends and family is really all you every carry forward with you. The cars, houses, and whatever are just things that mess up your priority one above.

    I am the type of person who will pay crazy ticket prices to see musicians who probably wont tour again or are on one of their last tours, Rolling Stones, U2, Neil Yong, I will literally pay hundreds to see them if I wanted to go. I will take time off from work to spend time with family.

    3) Health
    Might go without saying this one but I am one person who spends literally thousands more per year on my car than I do my health. That is plain stupid, but I did go and get my blood tests done yesterday. Please, please, please, go to your GP once a year for a check up.

    My brother could not do anything to prevent a cancer diagnosis, a very rare type and very aggressive cancer, but all I can do is add to the voices who experience this that health really is your wealth. You must look after yourself.

    4) Family & Friends
    Friends come and go and as one of the people who grew into their late 20's without social media I find friends can go very quickly and you loose touch easily. I am trying to meet up with some old college friends again and I always knew the importance of direct family. But anyways, family and friends - you have to make efforts to keep them sometimes, they wont be around forever either. Forget about the silly things they do to annoy you.

    5) Income
    For many years I was focused on my salary, it was all I knew as a measure of doing well. It would have been number one in this list 10 years ago easily. But then over time it has become just means of spending and living and the difference between say 50k and 80k after tax isn't earth shattering. I find adjusting your spending has a bigger effect. Just yesterday I was in Dublin to buy some outdoor gear and I spent €140 in Trespass (a cheapish place for outdoor gear) and I then went into the Great Outdoors just to compare. I would have spent 5 times as much in there, granted you might argue the quality differs but I didn't see it.

    I lost myself in measuring my income as a measure of success. You do need good income obviously to enjoy experiences but the extra enjoyment you get from say an extra 10k does not increase proportionally. I am now at a stage of thinking that I would take a large income decrease to work at something that benefits society in some way.

    6) Wealth
    This is bottom of the list because it becomes less and less relevant to having a happy life once you reach a certain level. In fact, from what I see and read, it can make you less happy unless you know how to handle it. I don't consider myself very wealthy, I will have to keep working until retirement but I previously felt almost inadequate when you read about the many very wealthy people in Ireland. But then I realised wealth in itself does not bring happiness.

    Thanks for reading, its probably all very obvious but I would love to hear other peoples view.
     
  2. RETIRED2017

    RETIRED2017 Frequent Poster

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    Last edited: Feb 10, 2018
    The above is close to Maslow's hierarcy of needs ,I spent the last 35 years working in a job I loved. In fact I can say I enjoyed every job I worked in , Most work benefits society in some way or another,
    My outlook very close to above
    As a matter of interest do you have kids if so what is your outlook on preparing them for life. once I found a job/work that I liked and enjoyed the next most important thing in my life was investing time rather than money in making sure the had a chance to make what the wanted out of life looking back it worked out well for me,
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2018
  3. Leper

    Leper Frequent Poster

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    Last edited: Feb 9, 2018
    What a subject. Great to remember when I first started working, earning a week's wages, freedom, choice, ambition, hopes, ups, downs, happiness, opposite-of-happiness, relationships, opportunities, gains, losses, etc etc. I realized you could not have a rat race without rats when I was in my mid thirties. Opted out of the rat race, concentrated on realistic positive family values. We lived modestly, made mistakes, recovered, got on with life, took what there was to take on the chin. No whinging, moaning or groaning.

    Now that I have retired, no regrets - never progressed from being a low grade public servant. I never thread on anybody's toes and gave a week's toil for a week's pay - none of my employers owes me anything and I owe them nothing. Unfortunately, some did thread on my toes and I will never forgive them. Honestly.

    What do I want out of retirement? - Nothing. Just hope I'm around for as long as possible.

    Wealth:- Never thought too much about it. Enough to survive on will do. I don't run a BMW and realize most cars do the same as each other irrespective of the name badge. I couldn't care less if I missed the next Elton John concert and care less again of what other people think of anything. I just live and let live and don't expect anything and therefore will never be disappointed.

    Drab, I know, but is there a realistic viable alternative?
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2018
  4. Black Sheep

    Black Sheep Frequent Poster

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    I'm with Leper. I love retirement, the freedom of it. No mortgage, no kids (gone) no ties. One can be selfish and lazy or up and doing, the choices are yours. I don't wish for the moon, just a fairly simple life style with a few surprises now and again. Love to nip off to the sun when we can get good rates or head out for a drive and pop in for a meal on the way home. Cooking is not my first love but I can do it in batches and thank goodness for freezers.

    Love meeting up with friends and catching up with their lives. There's a group of us who started work in Dublin together at around 18 and still meet up a couple of times a year. A great day out as we are all scattered around the country

    Never had high powered jobs with great salaries, just enough to get by in reasonable comfort by knowing how to stretch the cash.

    Grandchildren are the added bonus especially as they move into the teenage years, and we learn a lot from them.

    Good health is the big bonus and we are very lucky. Fingers crossed
     
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  5. Leper

    Leper Frequent Poster

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    I think Black Sheep and I should have married each other. Imagine our off-spring names, derivatives of Leper and Black Sheep. I am retired fulltime. Now I'm doing more walking than all the leaders in Operation Transformation combined. My wife thinks she is in Heaven with the silence because I'm reading the livin' daylights out of everything and subscribe to The Washington Post online. Mrs Lep continues to work (well, somebody must support my new lifestyle!). I retired nearly 18 years ago too which lasted 36 hours before I found myself working again in a different area of the Public Service.

    Some of my old buddies from my original job visit from time to time many of which although retired are still in some kind of rat-race mixing only with people who were of their former grade. It's like somebody from the East marrying only in their appropriate sect. One thing these guys have in common is "Hey Lep, if you want to give something back . . . " You'd swear that I owed something to someone or even to them. Marvellous people, some of those managers; can't do their own "giving back" and want somebody else to do it for them. I could say more, but I'm a nice guy - well, a kind of nice guy.

    The ol' bike now fully restored is working overtime and the greenways of Ireland are in danger of my presence high vized, helmeted and with plenty of time for non job orientated chat. A few weeks in the south of Spain are on my short list too. I'll be giving "something back" to myself while there.

    Right, just two GAA matches today (junior hurling) and not only have I all day, I have all week.
     
  6. Dan Murray

    Dan Murray Frequent Poster

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    Never thought I would be constructing these words.......Hey, Aristotle, you seem to be getting very philosophical.
     
  7. Black Sheep

    Black Sheep Frequent Poster

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    Hi Lep
    I think that could have been a match made in Heaven!
    Now I'm just wondering why you choose that name. I think mine seems obvious, How about yours?
     
  8. Purple

    Purple Frequent Poster

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    What is Important in your Life?

    People. That’s all. That means family and friends. As long as you are reasonably healthy and not living in real poverty and you are surrounded by people you love and who love you then you should be happy. Everything else is just stuff.

    I’d rather have good friends than a good car or a big house. I’d rather spend the extra time I have with those good friends than working harder for the good car or big house.
     
    cremeegg likes this.
  9. Betsy Og

    Betsy Og Frequent Poster

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    We're all very Zen for a money website. :)

    A very wise phrase I heard a few years back: "What's your priority, do you have to be rich or do you really want to avoid being poor?" So everyone who has responded so far is in the avoid being poor category (as I am myself).

    Family & health are my be-all. I'm fairly constantly 'on to go' but its mainly with kids sports and a normal work schedule - I have given up on any notions of ruling the world. Maybe as the kids get older (into teens) I can dial back the busyness a bit.

    In financial terms getting debt free - or having liquid assets to match it - has been our priority. So we're now at the stage of looking at tackling pension oblivion. That said I think I want to work until I'm carried out in a box, but we'll see (maybe its just a reaction to current pension oblivion). So getting debt free has had the knock on effect that we've never lived "high on the hog" - have never bought a new car or had a premium car. Since I don't put much value on those I don't really feel I'm making any huge sacrifice. With the kids I dont scrimp - not in terms of designer clothes or consumerism - but if they want to try an activity I wont let the money put me off. My personal mantra is: You can get 80% of the utility for 50% of the price. So I'll buy a 2 year old car, shop in Aldi & Lidl etc etc

    Friends - come and go a bit, am not a very social animal so again its not a huge factor. Enjoy an odd work night out and meeting up with college buddies once a year or something like that.
     
  10. gnf_ireland

    gnf_ireland Frequent Poster

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    This reminds me of something that was said to a friend and I down in a pub in Kerry long after closing time in 2003. My friend was 35 at the time and we were heading off to the RWC in Australia having both lived there for a bit previously, and then planning to head onwards to South America for 6 months or so. His father was telling him he was daft and would be not settle down etc...

    A lad in the corner of the bar said "Leave the young lad alone - sure I have yet to meet a man on his death bed saying he wished he worked harder in his life. Let him go out and enjoy himself. Sure he might meet a wife along the way"

    The running joke of the trip became it was a trip to find my friend a wife - and as it turns out he met his now wife in Madrid (our last stop on the way home)...
     
  11. gnf_ireland

    gnf_ireland Frequent Poster

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    To answer the OP's question, so much of it comes down to personal decisions. I have seen so many friends who would consider themselves to be high fliers and are stressed to the 9's and work all hours of the day & night. I have also seen so many people (parents of friends, colleagues and neighbours) who have unfortunately gotten very sick immediately after retiring and struggle to enjoy it.

    I think whats important is a good work/life balance - not being a slave to the job and being able to spent time with your family and doing things you enjoy. Its nice to be able to walk up the street and talk to the neighbours, and being able to pop out and collect your kids from school on occasion and doing something with them.

    I definitely value experiences over material goods in general - and have always loved travel. I do think my kids end up a bit spoiled in that regard. That said, our trip to Iceland just after Christmas, looking at their faces seeing geysers go off and being able to walk on a frozen lake was special. The two of them absolutely loved swimming in the blue lagoon with stream rising from it and snow all around the place. Comments such as "I cannot believe my eyes" when the nearly 4 year old saw the place covered in snow is something we will not forget !!

    And above all - health is very important, although we probably all dont give it enough consideration.

    I agree - I would personally struggle to justify a new car. A new car in my head is one 18 months old :)
     
  12. michaelm

    michaelm Frequent Poster

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    Good luck with that.
    On the face of it, yes. The engine on my 10 year old car gave up over Christmas and I couldn't afford to buy a decent second hand replacement. It was easier for me to buy/finance a new car.
     
  13. Betsy Og

    Betsy Og Frequent Poster

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    Could you not leave me to my delusions? :)
     
  14. gnf_ireland

    gnf_ireland Frequent Poster

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    Yes the harsh reality is the financing models for new cars are actually cheaper than older cars.
    We were looking at a VW Tiguan before Christmas - with everything, including 0% finance and the finance discount, it would have been cheaper to buy a new one than a 1 year old one with 20,000km on it. Makes no sense, but there you go !