Posted by Tim Stobbs on July 12, 2016
Dee asked a few questions the other day with respect to kids and early retirement.
How old will your kids be when you retire? I remember my mom retired for my last year of high school and I had to get myself up and to school while she slept in. She did let me use her car to get there, though, so that part was nice. Do your kids anticipate any particular feelings about your retirement?
The first question is rather easy, so let’s address that first. My oldest will be 13 at the time while my youngest will be almost 10. So they won’t be really young, but that will be in that lovely stage just before teenagers. So on the plus side they will be mature enough to explain the entire concept to them if I want, but I’m not sure I will.
I have to admit I’m a big concerned about my kids thinking we have lots of money. We live a comfortable life right now, but we don’t act rich. Yet I do worry about telling them straight out that their Mom and Dad have a million dollar net worth. I’ve seen odd things happen to kids who think their parents are rich. Like for example: a lack of motivation, a sense of entitlement or just plain old arrogance regarding money that isn’t theirs.
While my wife and I haven’t firmly decided on what to tell them yet, I’m leaning towards the truth, but in a context that makes more sense for them. I don’t have an exact speech in mind but it would likely be something like:
Hi guys, we need to talk. Dad is leaving his current job on [insert date here]. But that’s okay, since we have got a lot of savings we don’t have to worry about paying for groceries . Dad is going to change jobs to writing. You remember his book downstairs, well I want to make more of those. So my new job will be writing books. I will work from home just like Mom does from now on, so I will be here when you leave and get home from school. Any questions?
Of course I will play it by ear a bit. It depends a bit on how much they already know. It’s not like I actually hide my retirement plans or anything, but at the same time I don’t put it in their face.
Now some people may assume by telling them my job will be writing, that I’m lying to them. I personally don’t see it that way, as writing will be my job. I just don’t worry about making much money at that job and all my deadlines for work will be entirely self imposed (until I sell a book to a publisher and then I have to meet their deadlines). I do love to write, so I will be doing that regardless of anyone paying me. Like you know, right now, writing this post for you.