My New Job After Reaching Financial Independence


One version of my story is very simple — After reaching financial independence and leaving the corporate world, I became “jobless” and “unemployed”.  According to standard definitions, I don’t have a job because I don’t earn money from paid work.

But do I really not have a job?  Being a “jobless bum” is only half my story after all.  There’s also the version of my story where I’m also a multi-millionaire investor that’s retired from regular work — living off the dividends like a King.

This version of my story definitely gets considerable more respect than the jobless-unemployed-bum version, but it’s also not entirely accurate.

It’s not accurate because I’m not playing shuffleboard with “the boys” at the social club, or watching daytime TV like your stereotypical retired person.  I still have plenty of “work” that needs to get done on any given the day.

So am I retired or not?

I’ve given this topic considerable thought lately and believe that I really do still have a “job” despite being financially independent (and perhaps a little under-employed).

 

How I Define A Job

If you asked any random 10 people off the street how they define a job, you’ll probably get 10 distinctly different answers about what a job is.

For funsies, I looked up how the dictionary defines a “job”:

Job  (noun)

  1. a piece of work, especially a specific task done as part of the routine of one’s occupation or for an agreed price.
  2. a post of employment; full-time or part-time position:She was seeking a job as an editor.
  3. anything a person is expected or obliged to do; duty; responsibility:It is your job to be on time.

The dictionary is definitely more of an authority than 10 random people off the street, but I personally don’t like how they define a “job” because it limits a job to paid work or an obligation.

What about activities that have economic value but we’re not paid to do?

This is how I define a job:  An activity or series of tasks that generate real economic value either through the generating of money or the saving of money.  These tasks can be either paid or unpaid.

Given this version of the definition, I actually have a series of “part-time jobs” that generate real economic value and then a larger “job” that generates the most economic value.

 

I’m Not (Really) A Writer

Let’s start with the elephant in the room — this blog.  Is this blog actually my job?

Despite current evidence to the contrary, I don’t actually think of myself as a writer.  Not in a professional sense anyway.  This blog does make a small amount of money, but I don’t really call myself a writer.

the ledger
I don’t consider what I do on this blog as “writing”. What I do is more akin to keeping a ledger — Recording all of the important numbers and thoughts that have economic importance in my life.

A really-real writer would definitely be able to generate more than $1,000 a year from writing.  So I feel like this blog should be classified somewhere in between a hobby and a part-time job.

I realize that’s not a very clear distinction, but it’s the best I can give right now.

 

The Stay At Home Dad

One of my part-time jobs is definitely being a “stay-at-home dad” to my kids.  This is the story I usually tell to people who ask me what I do for a living.

“What do you do for a living Mr. Tako?”

“Oh, I’m a stay-at home Dad.  I mostly take care of my kids these days.”

In most circles this a fairly socially acceptable answer, but it’s definitely not what I would consider my “primary job”.

Here’s how I look at the economic value of being a SAHD — We have a monthly daycare cost of $2200/month and this is with the kids not even going to daycare full time (just a few days a week).

So if we took them out of daycare and I watched them full-time I would guesstimate this has an economic value of nearly $3,000 per month (assuming 5 full days per week).

That’s $36,000 per year in economic value from being a SAHD.  I could derive this much economic value by watching the kids all the time.  Not too shabby!  But the problem is — the value of this job is going to start declining.  In the fall, our oldest son (Tako Jr. #1) will start kindergarten and he won’t need full-time care anymore.

goofy eater
Taking care of my kids has declining economic benefits, but the psychological benefits of spending this much time with my kids is growing. They’re total goofballs that constantly make me laugh!

In a couple of years our youngest son (Tako Jr. #2) is also starting school, so the economic value of this SAHD job will continue to decline even further.

At which point the economic value becomes that of a part-time babysitter (what do sitters make these days? $15-25/hr?)

 

Chief Capital Allocator

My view is that my main job is the activity where I generate the most economic value.

Back when I was working for a corporation and saving over 50% of my income, my main job was to serve my corporate masters.  I did this for about 15 years — working and saving everything I could.

Then one day something happened.  My portfolio actually started making more money than my traditional job — It was at that very moment that my primary job changed.  It was a big promotion — I went from “corporate wage-slave” to “Chief Capital Allocator”.

As Chief Capital Allocator my main job is to make certain our money (capital) is invested in the best possible places I can find for it.

At times in the economic cycle this might mean holding only index funds or stocks.  Other times it might mean holding cash, bonds, or preferred shares.  It’s my job as Chief Capital Allocator to decide what , where, and when our capital should be invested.

300 dollars
My “real” job is capital allocation — managing the money and making sure it’s well invested.

Lest ye think this isn’t an important job, let me remind you that last year our portfolio gained $570,180 in value.  That’s a ton of economic value!  Of that, we generated $53,504 in dividends alone.

That annual economic value is far more than I ever would have earned working at a corporate job, so it absolutely makes sense that most of my time and energy should be spent there.

This is why I’ve decided my “job” is primarily to be Chief Capital Allocator for our family.

 

Final Thoughts

I know, I know… the internet retirement police are probably going to have a field-day criticizing this one.

“Your not contributing anything of value for society, so you clearly don’t have a job you worthless bum!”

Well, maybe… but it really depends on how you define “anything of value”.  Traditionally we think of retired people as mostly sedentary humans — playing a little golf, watching tv, playing cards at the retirement home, knitting, and so forth.  Many people view this kind of retirement as “waiting” until they die.

Do I fit that model?  Nope!  I’m anything but sedentary.

While I do occasional indulge in a nap, I still feel like my life provides plenty of value to the world.  For one, I’m working hard to produce two good human beings to inherit the earth after I die — my kids.

We live in an age where troubled kids walk into a high schools and start shooting everyone in site.  I feel like I’m absolutely contributing to society by spending my time raising responsible and well-adjusted kids.

I’m constantly running around trying to contain the chaos that two energetic boys can generate AND I’m writing this blog  AND I’m solely responsible for the extremely important job of investing our millions.

It feels like a ton of work even though I don’t earn a paycheck.  If anything, I’m busier now than ever.

Yes, really!  I’ve never been more tired in my life!  Literally, every day is exhausting!

But here’s the important bit — I derive so much pleasure from my different jobs that I never feel like they’re a burden  — I absolutely love being involved with my kids and spending time with them.  My blog is mostly a labor of love.  And investing?  It’s one of my biggest passions.

So I do have a job? — Yes, and it’s the best damn job in the world.

 

[Image Credit: Flickr1, Flickr2]

40 thoughts on “My New Job After Reaching Financial Independence

  • June 27, 2018 at 5:01 AM
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    I love “Chief Capitol Allocator”, I’m stealing that. And you’re good with the retirement police for now since you admitted you have 3 jobs. If you didn’t they would arrest you 🙂

    Reply
  • June 27, 2018 at 5:18 AM
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    “Chief Capital Allocator” – love it! I think all three of those are worthy “jobs” regardless of the pay. And your writing is motivational so I think that’s a pretty good contribution back to society. But, if anyone disagrees, who cares – let them continue being a slave to the grind everyday while you enjoy doing your own thing. 🙂

    — Jim

    Reply
    • June 28, 2018 at 9:11 PM
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      Thanks Jim. Our work can be so much more than earning money, but for some reason society views the jobs that don’t pay a lot with very little respect.

      A CEO with high pay — tons of respect.
      A School Teacher with low pay — very little respect.

      It’s a concerning trend, but I’m glad my writing brings some hope to people out there.

      Reply
      • June 30, 2018 at 1:12 PM
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        I agree with that observation a lot. For example, your primary job – you definitely quantified that. It made me stop and think, “Wow, that’s worthwhile.” But what if you only made a profit of $30,000?

        Reply
  • June 27, 2018 at 5:38 AM
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    Woah that’s a lot in dividends!! I can’t wait until my husband retires so he can be our Chief Capitol Allocator too. That investment stuff is too dry for my attention span personally. But hubby loves analytical things! Engineers…all the same :p

    PS I think you’re a real writer. And screw the internet retirement police.

    Reply
    • June 28, 2018 at 9:12 PM
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      Hehe! Thanks Lily! Your such a sweet gal! My writing has definitely improved since I first started blogging, but I’ve got a ways to go still to reach your level! 😉

      Reply
  • June 27, 2018 at 6:01 AM
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    Your contentment with your engineered lifestyle definitely shines here! You know how they say ‘find something you love and you’ll never work another day in your life’… I think you are there Mr. Tako! Very happy for you and your family, and my sincere thanks for raising two well adjusted kids in a loving home to inherit the world and hopefully make the future better.

    Reply
    • June 28, 2018 at 9:18 PM
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      I certainly hope they’ll turn-out well adjusted. Parenting is hard, but I try to set a good example. 😉

      I think the big thing is just being around all the time to give them feedback and correct behavior. I can do that because it’s one-on-one or one-on-two. In a daycare or school environment it’s like one adult for every ten kids, so there’s no way they get much direct 1-1 attention.

      Reply
  • June 27, 2018 at 6:15 AM
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    Sounds like you got plenty of jobs over there Mr.Tako! I’ve been hearing a lot of FIRE people mention recently about what to say when someone asks what they do and they are retired. Being that we are not there yet, I hadn’t really thought much about that. But even now when asked that question, I try not to respond with my day job, I usually come up with something that will make them think. I honestly think that it all comes down to doing something against the norm and people just can’t wrap their heads around, even something as simple as being a SAHD. Watch out for the retirement police or trolls, they are out there and they might not be happy with your so called “jobs” while in retirement.

    Reply
    • June 28, 2018 at 9:22 PM
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      Yeah, I was trying to challenge what we call “a job” here in this post. Most people define a job according to money, but there’s tons of really important things in life that don’t come with a paycheck.

      For me, being Chief Allocator of Capital is probably tied in importance with being a SAHD, but one definitely has more economic significance.

      Reply
  • June 27, 2018 at 6:39 AM
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    When I clicked on this article I thought you actually went back to work lol. Your SAHD and CCA job are very important jobs to your family. Yor writing job is influential to society/ the FIRE community. You’ve got it set!

    Also the SAHD job does not depreciate or is not devalued as you think come Kindergarten. You have the time to cook nutritious and delicious meals for your family and that’s worth a lot. If you were working full time along with your wife you may not have the energy to cook so much.

    Reply
    • June 28, 2018 at 9:27 PM
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      It’s true, we’d probably eat more ‘instant’ food or takeout if I was at a full-time job. But it’s hard to put a dollar value on those random SAHD tasks. I save us a few thousand a year (perhaps?) cooking meals. Maybe around that much.

      There’s other little efficiency gains too, but it’s hard to tie all of them down to a dollar value. It’s a race of inches you see, not miles.

      Reply
      • June 30, 2018 at 1:16 PM
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        But, you should also consider the savings in healthcare costs from eating and cooking at home rather than eating at, say, McDonald’s. 🙂 So I think you’re actually saving a lot!

        Reply
  • June 27, 2018 at 7:38 AM
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    Wow, great reminder that I need to get to work!
    (Managing my timberland, being a good land steward, and splitting some firewood.)

    Gotta go!

    Reply
    • June 28, 2018 at 9:28 PM
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      Bye Bob! Thanks for reading (and taking care of your timberland). Where exactly is your timberland?

      Reply
  • June 27, 2018 at 8:29 AM
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    I love your blog posts. I’m still currently working in our family business which is one of my passions, like investing and saving are as well. Please keep up the good work both with your family and the blog. Thanks, Karen 🙂

    Reply
    • June 28, 2018 at 9:28 PM
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      Thanks Karen! Love to hear this positive stuff from readers like yourself! 🙂

      Reply
  • June 27, 2018 at 9:51 AM
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    So as a CCA, will you now use that now when people ask what you do? 😉

    My answers vary on a daily basis… SAHD, entrepreneur in hibernation, retired, semi-retired, blogger, FIRE coach, or anything I think of randomly… hehe.

    Reply
    • June 28, 2018 at 9:30 PM
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      Yeah, I vary what I tell people too. Sometimes I just tell them I’m a SAHD. Other times I tell them I’m taking a sabbatical from work for awhile. It just depends.

      I like “entrepreneur in hibernation”, that’s one is pretty funny! 🙂

      Reply
  • June 27, 2018 at 10:54 AM
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    I really enjoyed this post, Mr. Tako Escapes! Essentially you are describing my exact dream job that I hope to reach in 15 to 20 years max. I took some time away from the traditional day job in 2016 and spent most of my time blogging and allocating capital. I sort of know what you mean when you said you’re busier than ever. I’ve always thought I’d spend most of most time blogging and allocating capital once I reached FI. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
    • June 28, 2018 at 9:32 PM
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      It’s a pretty great job RtC! Hope to see you get here soon! 🙂

      Reply
  • June 27, 2018 at 12:52 PM
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    I hope that someday people will realize that a paycheck and personal contribution to life are not always the same thing. I’ve always been a SAHM and had so much energy to spend time with my daughters after school, proper meals, help for my aging parents and relaxation for my hard working husband. I could save more than I could earn all while adding a relaxed pace for my family. I wasn’t exhausted from work and could enjoy our family so much more. I traded money and status for freedom and I wouldn’t change a thing.

    Reply
    • June 28, 2018 at 9:34 PM
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      I know exactly what you mean! Dollars are not a good measure of how much is contributed back to society. Raw income is really just a measure of market value, and as we all know the markets can be nuts sometimes. 😉

      Reply
  • June 27, 2018 at 2:28 PM
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    thank you coining that title. I like it!! I am not retired yet, because I am market timing. I look like an idiot being close to 100% cash, but I am okay with. I will get in once the valuations become more reasonable ( i know i know market timing doesn’t work:) ). Anyway, I think i will be very busy once I retire early as well. things i will work on.:

    1. capital allocation/ investment research. This will entail fund allocations, research real estate crowdfunding, meet with people from crowd funding companies to get more insight, read investment articles
    2. work on tax returns and run different scenarios during the year in order to find ways to lower taxes
    3. join my kids for school lunches
    4 volunteer at school events
    5. cook very healthy and cheap meals and minimize stupid restaurant expenses
    6. apply as many credit cards as possible to maximize travel rewards
    7. plan travel that brings the best value without being stressed
    8. do small home improvements and work on the garden
    9. sleep longer 8-9 hrs a day
    10. I will pick up my kids at 3 pm instead of having them in daycare in the school. we will save about $700 per month minimum for 9 months.

    I will definitely be busy during retirement!!

    Reply
    • June 28, 2018 at 9:36 PM
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      That sounds pretty busy! Good luck on getting 8-9 hours of sleep. I’m lucky if I managed 7!

      Reply
  • June 28, 2018 at 6:50 AM
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    You’re the CEO of the Tako family. That’s a big job. It’s great that you love it and you’re doing so well too. That net worth increase is amazing. Nice job!
    Do you get any vacation day in this job? 🙂

    Reply
    • June 28, 2018 at 9:37 PM
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      Yep, my vacation days are unlimited but that also means I have to take the kids with me wherever I go… so “vacation” is something of a relative term. 😉

      Reply
  • June 28, 2018 at 7:32 AM
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    Hi Mr Tako, I love the title Chief Capital Allocator and it sums up what you do very nicely.

    And I do think we all need to get away from asking people what they do as small talk – surely we can come up with something more original?

    Reply
    • June 28, 2018 at 9:39 PM
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      I’m guilty of asking it too when I need to make small talk. That, and talking about the weather. Both are very cliche!

      Any suggestions for good small-talk topics?

      Reply
      • June 30, 2018 at 1:19 PM
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        What’s your favorite book or piece of media? Although that’s more of an ice breaker than it is small talk!

        Reply
  • June 28, 2018 at 9:23 AM
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    Well, I certainly think you have a job. Call it FI Coach with your blog because tons of people read it. Now you might not get paid that much, but in some respects it is a job. Who knows you might actually add coaching services to the blog someday that become part of the job.

    And you are contributing to society through the marketplace of ideas. In some respects, there is no greater job out there.

    Reply
    • June 28, 2018 at 9:40 PM
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      I know some folks in the personal finance blogging community offer personal coaching services. Maybe it’s something I’ll consider in the future.

      Reply
  • June 28, 2018 at 6:36 PM
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    Nice! Sounds like you have a lot of profitable and fulfilling things on your plate.
    As for societal contributions, please note I derive a lot of value from this blog 🙂

    Reply
    • June 28, 2018 at 9:41 PM
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      Thanks for letting me know Mrs. Sweetspot! It’s important to hear that from readers like yourself! It keeps me motivated and writing! 🙂

      Reply
  • June 29, 2018 at 5:58 AM
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    Hi,

    I leave this for the first time. I would like to thank you for sharing your thoughts and ideas!
    I’m in my early 40s and feels like I can be FIRE’d if I dash into but a bit hesitated because my portfolio is absolutely biased to RE (like 99% vs 1%), and I know this may not serve well in cash flow as well as care-free perspective especially in my later days of life. I wish to increase my exposure to dividend stocks but not sure if there could be a strategy..

    Indeed, I just wonder about your rationale on your capital allocation (dividend stocks over RE)..

    Reply
    • June 30, 2018 at 1:22 PM
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      Hi David, what about investing in low cost index funds? If you invest in that you should show a return if you consistently invest for 20 years.

      Reply
  • June 29, 2018 at 10:04 AM
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    Like you, I’m also the Chief Capital Allocator- it’s a lonely job, but somebody’s got to do it!

    I think in different parts of the world it matters less if you are working or patching together some different income streams. I find in many parts of the world people don’t tend to judge, especially in areas where expats and international folks tend to cluster.

    Small town living is harder in that sense. Yes, it’s cheaper but people are into each others business a lot more and coming to faster judgement on any behaviors that lie outside what is considered to be normative for the vicinity. It can get boring fast.

    Keep up the insightful posts!

    -Mike

    Reply
  • June 30, 2018 at 2:05 AM
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    “A really-real writer would definitely be able to generate more than $1,000 a year from writing.”

    You’d be surprised how many professional writers make less than that (at least in the beginning anyway). Thank God for STEM as the day job! 🙂

    Your article got me thinking of what is the true definition of a job. SAHM and SAHDs aren’t considered by society as people with jobs, but raising a kid is way harder than most jobs.

    I prefer to think of what I do after retirement was passion projects. Some of them I get paid for, some of them are volunteer positions, but they’re all more fulfilling than what I got paid for working in the cubical prison.

    Looks like you feel the same way about your Chief Capital Allocator role 🙂 Screw the retirement police. Who cares what they think.

    Reply
  • July 1, 2018 at 10:55 AM
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    Chief Capital Allocator is the best answer for those FIREd I’ve yet heard to that ubiquitous question…

    “So, what do you do?”

    I’d steal it, but these days I am so old no one bats an eye when I say, “I’m retired.” 🙁

    Reply

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