My money owns me

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I Shrugged
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My money owns me

Post by I Shrugged » Sun Jan 08, 2017 9:52 am

We early retired in our 40s. I sold my business. We had critical mass and then some. That was several years ago.

My business had owned me. That's probably understandable. I succeeded because of my intense focus on the business. But a residue of that is that now my money owns me. Even though we have 100X annual spending, I can't stop trying to save money on things regardless of benefit or aggravation, make an extra fraction of a percent on investments, and all that. The biggest monkey on my back is that when it comes time to sell something, I have to optimize the value of it. So instead of taking the simple no-stress path to selling it, I invest time, hassle, and stress trying to make the thing get top dollar. When in reality, if we didn't get a dime for said thing or property, or we got a million bucks, our life would not change at all. I just seem to have this need to win at the money game. The other day I read an article about Mr. Money Mustache. His wife described him as "intense" about money, even though his blog earns them $400K per year. I can identify.

Lately I've had some down time. I read a book on enjoying retirement, and did some of the thought exercises in the book. It made me see all of this. I always knew it was there, but I didn't realize how much it was holding me back. I have a lot of crap to sell this spring. Equipment, property, excess personal and inherited household stuff, you name it. Normally, this would drag on for 2 or 3 years. In fact, it already has. I am resolving to just let go. Auction it all, don't optimize it. Don't begrudge the auctioneer his fees, don't try to get top dollar doing it myself, etc.

Based on my lifetime observations of retirees, anyone who did a decent job of saving ended up just fine. Does your money own you? Is it holding you back?
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Re: My money owns me

Post by Pointedstick » Sun Jan 08, 2017 10:20 am

Realize that you've already won at the money game. Channel your desires to compete and optimize into another game. Perhaps even one that you believe benefits humanity itself but is being under-served in some way. Visualize how much happier you would be if you sunk fully half of your liquid net worth (bringing you down to only 50x yearly spending) into a pursuit you felt deeply that humanity needed.
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Desert
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Re: My money owns me

Post by Desert » Sun Jan 08, 2017 10:47 am

Thanks for sharing your story! I agree with PS; it sounds like you need to find a challenging life mission/challenge to dive into. "Giving back," or helping your fellow humans could a very broad area to start thinking about. It needn't be a non-profit either (although you're well setup to pursue such an avenue). You could start a new business less focused on margins and more focused on expansion, providing respectable employment opportunities for some segment of society, for example. Or you could dive into some education in an area you're interested in. The possibilities are endless and exciting. But from the research I've seen, the best odds of finding true satisfaction are going to be through giving ... of your talents and energy primarily, and perhaps of your finances as well.

Strangely, the older I get the more I see wealth as perhaps more of an impediment to true satisfaction than an enabler. And I type this as I'm taking a break from trying to optimize my own personal finances just a wee bit more.
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Re: My money owns me

Post by Tyler » Sun Jan 08, 2017 11:53 am

I get it. You were successful for a reason, and it's hard to turn that off.

I agree that finding a new challenge to channel your optimization energy is a good idea. Think of yourself as a subject matter expert, and find a way to share that expertise with others not so blessed.

I've also found that a good mental trick is to stop thinking about maximizing money and focus instead on maximizing efficiency. So when selling your stuff, what's the most efficient balance of return for the effort? With the right mindset, you can actually use your optimization skills to dial back all of the time you waste on squeezing money out of unimportant things.
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I Shrugged
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Re: My money owns me

Post by I Shrugged » Sun Jan 08, 2017 8:57 pm

Well, I optimize my hobbies, and my charitable giving too. It's truly a curse.
thisisallen
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Re: My money owns me

Post by thisisallen » Mon Jan 09, 2017 4:05 am

What is missing here? You are a successful business person who has a practical and valuable skill/talent. It is a gift. Lots and lots of people would love to have that ability. Yet you feel it is a curse.
Could it be that you are experiencing a lack of fulfillment?
There are techniques that can increase one's overall satisfaction in life.
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Re: My money owns me

Post by curlew » Tue Jan 10, 2017 10:35 am

You might try smoking some pot. It can help you to go placidly amid the noise and the haste.
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Xan
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Re: My money owns me

Post by Xan » Tue Jan 10, 2017 10:43 am

I Shrugged wrote:Well, I optimize my hobbies, and my charitable giving too. It's truly a curse.
I think Desert is on the right track. You're an optimizer, so keep right on optimizing. You just need to change the thing you're optimizing for. Instead of maximizing monetary returns at the cost of everything else, maximize what you actually want to achieve.

Something along the lines of Harry Browne's idea of spending money only when it a) makes you money or b) is something you truly enjoy. Except you've won the money game. Do this with your time.

Spend time on something if it a) achieves some goal that you actually want to achieve (helping others, supporting some cause, whatever) or b) is something you truly enjoy. Otherwise don't. Even if it costs you money.

Sounds like you're on the right track with the auction this spring.
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Re: My money owns me

Post by Mountaineer » Tue Jan 10, 2017 2:32 pm

Xan wrote:
I Shrugged wrote:Well, I optimize my hobbies, and my charitable giving too. It's truly a curse.
I think Desert is on the right track. You're an optimizer, so keep right on optimizing. You just need to change the thing you're optimizing for. Instead of maximizing monetary returns at the cost of everything else, maximize what you actually want to achieve.

Something along the lines of Harry Browne's idea of spending money only when it a) makes you money or b) is something you truly enjoy. Except you've won the money game. Do this with your time.

Spend time on something if it a) achieves some goal that you actually want to achieve (helping others, supporting some cause, whatever) or b) is something you truly enjoy. Otherwise don't. Even if it costs you money.

Sounds like you're on the right track with the auction this spring.
Good thoughts from Desert and Xan. I would offer for your consideration that if you are continuing to optimize for money when you have already achieved your monetary goals, you are actually now sub-optimizing and not truly optimizing. As they said, pick some overarching purpose for your next phase in life and optimize for that. Perhaps optimizing for money is not really optimizing at any phase in ones life, money is only a means to an end (e.g. a tool) for most people who are aimed at building something other than a tool with no purpose.
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Re: My money owns me

Post by curlew » Tue Jan 10, 2017 4:32 pm

When I first read your post it made me think of the TV show "Buried Alive". It's about hoarders who can't let go of any of their possessions until it gets so bad they live in unbelievable filth and squalor. It can be very hard to watch.

Maybe you have a similar psychological condition involving money. If so, I'd much rather have your problem than theirs.

The people in that show have to come to grips with why they have the compulsion before they can overcome it. Usually it involves some kind of traumatic loss, often a bereavement that they can't get past.

Disclaimer: I'm a retired computer programmer, not a psychologist.
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I Shrugged
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Re: My money owns me

Post by I Shrugged » Tue Jan 10, 2017 6:47 pm

I think Mr. Money Mustache is more that guy.

I don't think about money much, which I know seems implausible based on what I wrote earlier. It's more like trying to beat the system or win the game, I guess. So really, I'm playing the wrong game!
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Re: My money owns me

Post by curlew » Tue Jan 10, 2017 9:36 pm

I Shrugged wrote:I don't think about money much, which I know seems implausible based on what I wrote earlier. It's more like trying to beat the system or win the game, I guess.
So why do u think u do that?

(Same disclaimer as last post)
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