This is a guest post by Robert, who lives in Calgary and
works as a financial adviserretired at 34. He is married, has three kids. Robert and his wife then plan to return to school and become teachers, eventually living and working overseas.
Last week my wife and I were at the stable with my two year old daughter. My wife was riding, while my daughter and I watched and visited the other horses. The owner of the horse my wife was riding had come to meet us, and she had her three young children in tow. “How can you both manage to come out here on a weekday afternoon?” she asked. She needs to work around the schedules of her husband’s work and her children to be able to find a time to get away. For simplicity, I answered, “Neither of us work.” “But … you must!” she blurted.
Of course, I explained that I had worked as a stock broker and sold my practice, which allows me to not work right now. Since I look even younger than I am, she probably wasn’t totally satisfied. But what struck me is the expectation that everyone runs their life the same way: go to work, earn income, spend it all, go to work again tomorrow. I remember when I started working and our income just covered our expenses; we were in the same position. As our income rose, our expenses rose much slower, and we chose to manage our life differently (spend less, save more, invest at opportune moments).
I still work. I don’t have an office, and I don’t have set hours. I don’t receive a paycheque. I do some work on our investments, and I receive our income from our investment accounts. But to feel like I’m using my abilities and continuing to learn and grow, I spend a lot of time volunteering. I volunteer at the school, I chair the school council and I advocate for public education with the school board and, to a lesser extent, the province. I also spend time with my kids, while my wife works on her Masters degree. I never realized how much work caring for the kids can be!
I have thought about getting a regular job again. I’ve applied at a couple places that sounded just perfect for the skills I want to continue to develop. I haven’t heard back yet, but I question how much money I would want to earn to make it worthwhile to leave behind the things I’m doing now. I’m proud of the contribution I feel I’m making in my family and in my community.
What work do you do that you are most proud of?