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Topic: Less is More< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 24 2013, 11:06 pm  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Look at the lifestyle of the average American.   For the majority it is work, work, work with little free time to enjoy their lives.

It reminds me of the song, 'Cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon'.

It reminds me of the tragedy of my dad, whose entire life was work, work, work and he died at age 50 before he had a chance to really live.

Many complain of 'struggling to make ends meet' but the reason why they struggle so is because they are living beyond their means.  

It is called being 'House Poor'.  They are spending all their money on their house and have little money or time left over for anything else.

The majority of their life is consumed in paying for and maintaining their house.

Just like that saying.   Most Americans don't own their houses....their houses own them.

I ask friends if they want to go fishing or hiking on the weekend and most of the time it is 'Sorry, I have a bunch of things to do around the house'   Or if they can squeeze in some free time, it is only a few hours.  There is always some sort of project that needs to be done around the house or they are working a second job on the weekends.

I felt myself getting caught in the never ending work treadmill and because of it I decided to leave my career as a heating/air conditioning service technician and take a machine operator position in a manufacturing plant.

People thought I was crazy.  I left a 22 dollar an hour career as an HVAC tech to take an 11 dollar an hour job in a manufacturing plant.

But one year later I have no regrets and regard it as a very good move.   I may not be making as much money as I did in HVAC but I have my life back.  

No more 15 hour days.  No more being on call.  No more screaming customers.   I have set hours now and plenty of free time to live life the way it is supposed to be lived.

I am much happier making 11 dollars an hour than 22 and have no regrets about leaving my career.  I have gotten more hiking and cycling done in the past year than I ever have before.

Live simply so you don't have to work so much.   Who cares about materialism and keeping up with the Joneses.

That is the problem.  Our culture is obsessed with worrying about what other people think of them, so they work their lives away to get the fancy home, cars, etc. so that others will think well of them.

So, in effect, it can be said that they are enslaved to the opinions of others.    Other people's opinions are their master that control them.

It is sad because a lot of people with that mind set go into unsurmountable debt and from that point on spend the majority of their lives doing nothing but working.

It reminds me of a Henry David Thoreau quote:

QUOTE
'Most men appear never to have considered what a house is, and are actually though needlessly poor all their lives because they think they must have such a one as their neighbors have.  as if one were to wear any sort of coat that the tailor cut out for him, or gradually leaving off palm-leaf hat or cap of wood-chuck skin, complain of hard times because he could not afford to buy him a crown!  It is possible to invent a house still more convenient and luxurious than what we have, which yet all would admit man cannot afford to pay for.  Shall we always study to obtain more of these things, and sometimes not be content with less?'


Don't get caught in the materialism and never ending work treadmill thing.  Live simply and have time to live life to its fullest.

Less is more.


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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 24 2013, 11:13 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Thanks for the news.

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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 24 2013, 11:36 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Good advice. But easier said than done.

I work my 7 to 4 Mon to Fri and have a mortgage. I make time to play. I believe in spending much of the money I make now while I can enjoy it. It's about how you prioritize time and money.

Work and play pretty much sums up my life. I'm having a good time, thanks.


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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 25 2013, 1:10 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Well your right about many people spending their lives a slave to unreasonable house debt.  And your right about many people wasting their incomes on endless questionable material goods. And a lot of people also get caught up in the credit debt game living beyond their means to attain those goods.  The classic American dream, every person ought to own their own land and home, and it always appreciates.  So little man take out a vast loan to buy into that dream  (and help we financial and real estate people become wealthy.)  Well that unreality finally crashed back to earth in 2008.   And the notion that educated career young people can count on a steady job to pay off such enormous loans for decades has been demolished in this global era thanks to Wall Street, bankers, and their politicians.  

As for living with less?  Easy to do as a young twenty-something but increasingly difficult as one gets older putting down roots.  Impossible if one gets married and has a wife and family to provide for and support. Difficult if one is a young man  hoping to find a good woman with common sense to spend a lifetime with.   Many younger people do just what you mention for few years before settling down.  The older one gets the more difficult living cheaply and frugally all the time becomes, even as a single person without complications.   In fact I have known more than a few that were in that situation for years simply because they did not have a career or job skill to make more than near minimum wages. Oh sure for years on end they can look fine. But for the person living month to month, every bump in the road can be an unpleasant stress.  Instead of freeing one up with lots of spare time, once a larger unforeseen bump occurs it can force someone to be slaved to their job regardless of how unpleasant just to get by and pay bills.  Whenever the country goes through an economic recession, it is those on the bottom that often get squeezed and stressed most.

And there are a lot of potential bumps from car accidents that total one's wheels to illnesses.  Making enough money that one can meet basic living necessities, provide for a reasonably enjoyable life, and regularly put away at least some savings is about the minimum.  And in this era minimum wage or near minimum wage is not going to do that long term.   Sounds kind of gloomy, doesn't it?  Well it is.

Personally, I've never owned land or a house.  Never even taken out a loan and been in debt. Paid for all my vehicles...cash.  Never had a wife and family.  But not because I chose so but rather because the realities of life can be rather cruel.  As a young man I made some painful mistakes and reaped what I sewed with an anchor around my neck for the rest of my life.  Now nearing the end game, I ain't wealthy but rather comfortable with a stable easy future.   Don't feel proud about my choices for getting there, but rather lucky, thankful, and humble.


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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 25 2013, 2:28 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(CarFree @ Sep. 20 2013, 6:37 pm)
QUOTE
Hello all,

I'm new to the forum.  I live in Arizona and moved here a few years ago from Massachusetts.   I love backpacking, fishing, long distance cycling, and learning primitive/off-grid skills.

People thought I was crazy.  I left a 22 dollar an hour career as an HVAC tech to take an 11 dollar an hour job in a manufacturing plant.

Bicycle commuting to work is and excellent way to keep in shape for hiking as well as saving you lots of money on fuel and expensive car repairs.

With bike commuting you don't have to schedule time for a workout or going to the gym.  A workout is part of your normal daily routine.

When I moved to Arizona I got rid of my pickup truck because Phoenix has good public transport and flat terrain making for easy cycling.  No more insurance, fuiel cost worries, and worries about 500 dollar repair bills.

I dropped form 220 pounds to 185 without dieting as well as dropping blood pressure and pulse.


First off, it's "from", not form

Oh to be 20 yrs old and no concept of the real world. Have you ever thought of finding an abandoned trailer in the middle of Alaska ?

$11.00/hr isn't going to even allow you to live in the cheapest, flea bitten housing anywhere in the US, unless you have "roommates," let alone afford food, especially in Phoenix , one of the most expensive cities in the US !!. And unless you have some Superhuman heat tolerance, nobody rides a bike in the sun for 9 months of the year there !!

(By the way, cycling is the WORST activity you can do, to build up strength for BP'g !! In fact, constant cycling , has been proven to be a major source of bone loss, leading to stress fractures, etc. All things in moderation !)

I "gave" my old house on the outskirts of town, to my former wife during our divorce 20 yrs ago, and moved into an awesome townhouse in the center of town, linked to miles and miles of City open space trails, leading to 100's of miles of County Parks Trails, leading to 100's of mi. National Forest  trails, leading to National Parks Trails just by leaving my front door on my bike whenever I want to.

But I still have to have a job to afford the mortgage, repair my bikes frequently, and drive my cars/ trucks to my job sites carrying ~ 1000 lbs + of tools day in/day out over 60 +mi. one way,that pays for all of the above and frequent trips to areas a 1000+ mi away that you'll  never be able reach on your bike, but I'm  still able to keep a minimal carbon footprint because of my vehicle choice.


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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 25 2013, 7:09 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

We each make choices that must be lived with.  Sometimes, making room for vacations and daily recreation is nothing more than deciding to do so.  I feel like I had several working vacations as I moved around the US during my career.  We would visit any place that interested us, within an 8 hour drive from the house, especially on those 3 day weekends.  We made the conscious choice to not spend all of our vacations heading off to see family, but to spend some of it doing what we liked.  By the age of 50, we were going off to foreign lands for 4 weeks to see the sights.

I am glad we did not put everything off until we retired, and I am also glad we set aside enough cash to retire early.  To do those sorts of things, you need to make enough cash to be able to both live for now, and save for the future.  


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trail? I don't need no stinkin trail!
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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 25 2013, 7:53 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

The trick is to find a $22 hr job and then work 20 hours a week.  You'd have the same income and twice the free time.

I've worked in a factory.  Can't say I found it particularly challenging.
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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 25 2013, 8:26 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

The trouble is that the average person is an idiot and 50% of the population is more stupid than that.  Intelligent people don't have much of an issue doing well financially if that's their goal.  I'm in my twenties with two homes, a graduate degree and enough financial security to take consulting jobs when they're interesting while otherwise enjoying my leisure time.
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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 25 2013, 11:00 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Lamebeaver @ Sep. 25 2013, 7:53 am)
QUOTE
The trick is to find a $22 hr job and then work 20 hours a week.  You'd have the same income and twice the free time.

I've worked in a factory.  Can't say I found it particularly challenging.

I do that, then end up "volunteering" for myself at least an additional 20-30 hours per week.

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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 25 2013, 11:35 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I make 22 dollars a minute on Colfax if you know what I mean.
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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 25 2013, 11:47 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(swimswithtrout @ Sep. 25 2013, 2:28 am)
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Oh to be 20 yrs old and no concept of the real world.

My thoughts exactly.  The first thing that came to mind when I read this was that this guy is single and has no family responsibilities.  Try raising a family on $11 an hour.  No way.  I wonder if you have health insurance.  Most $11.00/hr jobs I know of don't and at that wage, you're not going to be able to afford it.  All it would take is one accident or serious illness to completely wipe you out financially and set you back for years. Dave S. and SWT's comments were right on.  Now, if that's the way you want to live your life, more power to you. Absolutely nothing wrong with it.  In fact, more power to you. Just don't take on a family

I would agree with you though, that many Americans are living life styles far beyond their means that is never good, but as you pointed out, it seems to be the American way.  On the other hand, millions of hard working Americans are toiling at two or more low paying jobs, doing everything they can to cut back and are still struggling.  This is due, I believe, to a corporate and business culture that puts profits above everything and cares not a bit for the individual.  That's the trend and I only seeing it getting worse in the near future until there is revolutionary change of mindset in this country.  I hope when it comes, it's peaceful.  Until then, enjoy your lifestyle.  I don't think it can last forever.


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trail? I don't need no stinkin trail!
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(HikeClimbBike @ Sep. 25 2013, 6:26 am)
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The trouble is that the average person is an idiot and 50% of the population is more stupid than that.

and they vote...
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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 25 2013, 11:52 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(swimswithtrout @ Sep. 25 2013, 2:28 am)
QUOTE
(By the way, cycling is the WORST activity you can do, to build up strength for BP'g !! In fact, constant cycling , has been proven to be a major source of bone loss, leading to stress fractures, etc. All things in moderation !)

Jeeze, SWT.  Now you have me worried. :O

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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 25 2013, 11:54 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I blame Obama. He's giving all the jobs we don't want to people we don't like. Plus he socialized socialism.
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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 25 2013, 12:32 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Society, by Eddie Vedder:

It's a mystery to me
We have a greed with which we have agreed
You think you have to want more than you need
Until you have it all, you won't be free

Society, you're a crazy breed
I hope you're not lonely without me

When you want more than you have, you think you need
And when you think more than you want, your thoughts begin to bleed
I think I need to find a bigger place
Cause when you have more than you think, you need more space

Society, you're a crazy breed
I hope you're not lonely without me
Society, crazy indeed
Hope you're not lonely without me

There's those thinking more or less, less is more
But if less is more, how you keepin score?
Means for every point you make your level drops
Kinda like you're startin' from the top
And you can't do that

Society, have mercy on me
I hope you're not angry if I disagree
Society, you're crazy indeed
I hope you're not lonely without me


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trail? I don't need no stinkin trail!
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(Marmotstew @ Sep. 25 2013, 9:54 am)
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I blame Obama. He's giving all the jobs we don't want to people we don't like. Plus he socialized socialism.

You forgot to mention he was born in Kenya
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(HikeClimbBike @ Sep. 25 2013, 5:26 am)
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The trouble is that the average person is an idiot and 50% of the population is more stupid than that.  Intelligent people don't have much of an issue doing well financially if that's their goal.  I'm in my twenties with two homes, a graduate degree and enough financial security to take consulting jobs when they're interesting while otherwise enjoying my leisure time.

Wow!
You could spend some of that leisure time as president of your own fan club.
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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 25 2013, 2:37 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

If I made $11/hr, I wouldn't be able to do the things I enjoy because I'd be too broke. I'd be stuck sitting at home or walking around town. As it is, I have a decent job and save for my retirement years so I don't have to depend on Social Security. I have health insurance. I have paid vacation time. I drive a 10 year-old car that gets me to the places I want to go.
I have plenty of vacation time to do the trips I want. I honestly don't feel that taking a lesser paying job would benefit me in any way.

I live pretty simply, have a great job. Yeah, it's a 40 hours per week job, but I still have plenty of time to get out and have fun.

Otherwise, LYOL (live your own life)  :)


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(HikeClimbBike @ Sep. 25 2013, 8:26 am)
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The trouble is that the average person is an idiot and 50% of the population is more stupid than that.  Intelligent people don't have much of an issue doing well financially if that's their goal.  

hahahahahaHAHAHAHAHAHAHA...I only wish that last part was true. Maybe in an ideal world. 'Course, then again if all I wanted to do was make money I'd probably be pretty darn good at it.   :D
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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 25 2013, 3:15 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

The whole OP comes off sounding like proselytizing for the "rightness" of this chosen lifestyle or the justness of the cause.  

Many others here have made reasonable points; I would argue that an $11 per hour job is not equipping you for any kind of success later in life.  At least the $22 per hour job provided you with a skill set you could take with you through life.  Also, you would have the choice of where to apply those skills, i.e. finding an employment situation where you had better hours and the time to enjoy life.

I do agree with some parts of your post; as others have also mentioned, many live beyond their means or are overly caught up in all the goodies that come with "success".  

I wound up ending a relationship, in part, because of our philosophical differences over how we should live.  I already live in a modest house, my notion was that we should continue to live well beneath our means, and save a ton of money for our future.  Her idea was to sell my house, and take on a mortgage that was much greater, because we had two incomes.  She was "accustomed to having a certain standard of living".


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(HikeClimbBike @ Sep. 25 2013, 6:26 am)
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The trouble is that the average person is an idiot and 50% of the population is more stupid than that.  

So, which group do you fall into - the average person or the other 50%?  ???

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(CarFree @ Sep. 24 2013, 8:06 pm)
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Look at the lifestyle of the average American.   For the majority it is work, work, work with little free time to enjoy their lives.

So I take it you don't plan to have a family?  If you do, how do you plan to support them?

What about retirement?  I realize you're only in your 20's but do you plan work at the factory until you die?  Certainly 11$/hour doesn't leave much to put aside for the future.  Being 75 years old and still going to the plant every day isn't my vision of enjoying life.  YMMV.
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(tRoLLin_mOtOr @ Sep. 25 2013, 3:15 pm)
QUOTE
The whole OP comes off sounding like proselytizing for the "rightness" of this chosen lifestyle or the justness of the cause.  

I was waiting for him to say he was moving to a school bus in Alaska.

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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 25 2013, 5:09 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I work hard, but I enjoy my work.  I get to help plan other people's hikes and camping trips, and educate them about taking care of the forest.  In the process I learn and end up planning my next trip, too :)  We have a nice house, but it's not a McMansion.  I believe we struck a good balance between just enough space to raise a family in a nice neighborhood and good school district - but still affordable.   Plus when we bought we got $18K in tax credits which paid off a lot of our bills.  I work 4-10's so always have 3-day weekends.  Get federal holidays off (except for the summer ones which I usually work - I wouldn't go out in the woods those days anyways because of it being crowded).  Get about 5 weeks vacation per year.  We live very close to the mountains, desert, and coast so lots of opportunities to play outside.  Life is good when you find a balance.

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That sounds great. Let me kick out my four kids and wife and go party like it's 1999!...Oh yeah, wait...I am require by law to kind of feed them, give them clothes, and a roof over their heads.

Dang...I was so close to being free! Better settle for a cup of java and the occasional weekend off.


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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 25 2013, 6:00 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

So what really happened with the HVAC tech job?

Sane people don't ditch any position in this economy that pays a living wage for a low-end factory job unless they got involuntarily unemployed and are moving into their parents basement again.

There's a couple of you where I work.  They chose to "simplify" their lives after layoffs and they can't find another similar position.   Another few got spontaneously uncomplicated by responsibilities when they didn't score well on their former companies random pee test.
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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 25 2013, 6:02 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Around here, $11.00/hr. is not bad money. Certainly not the highest but still not bad.
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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 25 2013, 6:39 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

In all fairness to the OP, I see his/her point. I may not agree with the details, but do agree with the general philosophy of living simply. I don't get how a factory job is better at $11/hr than HVAC at $22, but I have also never worked HVAC.

Personally, if that was my career choice and the hours and stress were getting to me I might look for another employer in the same field, but to each his/her own.

Back to the point, most Americans do buy more car than they need and more house than they need. When did the simple 1950's style homes (American Dream) become McMansions, pools and Escalades? Didn't they raise families in those homes?
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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 25 2013, 6:44 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Back in my single days (in other words, without responsibilities to anyone else), I was pretty burnt out in my profession and decided to take a low stress job in the school district, paying about $11 an hour.  After several months of that, I decided that if I was going to spend time at work, I was at least going to get paid for it.  I went back to my profession at $25 an hour.  Yes, I worked much harder, but at least I had something to show for the time away from home.

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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 25 2013, 6:48 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE


(tarol @ Sep. 25 2013, 3:09 pm)
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Life is good when you find a balance.

Ding ding ding. :)

I see both sides.  The balance is easier when you're young and entirely unattached.  Even the OP still found a "balance", or else he'd just quit the job entirely and live in the woods (but he decided not to, presumably because starving through the winter with no food and no roof didn't strike his fancy).  His balance is more on the "simple, don't need much money" side, and I hope he keeps some of that idealism as he gets older.  It'd be a shame to abandon it entirely.  I appreciate his point, even if it's a bit simplistic and self-congratulatory.

But when one gets old enough to appreciate a savings account for rough times, health insurance and a hope of retiring someday (not to mention hopes of a family), the balance is likely to shift.  The happiest folks I personally know are able to make enough to support themselves securely while finding the time to do the things they love, including their "bucket list" items (bonus points if they truly love their work).  The most miserable people I know are the ones who work like dogs and lost all semblance of enjoying life, despite bragging about all the things they buy with their money.

I'm glad you found your balance for now, CarFree.  Try not to assume all things in life are static though.  Very few are.

Just my $.02, worth every penny you paid for it.

- Mike


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