A Different Kind of Anniversary

This past weekend, my wife and I had a few friends over for a barbecue. I cooked a bunch of meat and baked a couple of pies, and other than having to watch the Blue Jays go down 2-0 in the American League Championship series (I was one of those people who launched themselves onto the baseball bandwagon in August, after having given up on the team for the past decade or so) it was a really fun evening.

Besides celebrating a nice weekend in October that we were home for (as opposed to traveling somewhere in the province), we were celebrating a full year from my vasectomy surgery I had last year. I figured the opposite to the day of anxiety, pain, and mostly sitting around playing video games I had last year would be to have some friends over to enjoy a few drinks, some board games and have some fun – a “Vasectiversary” celebration is what my wife and I came up with for the occasion.

My decision to have this surgery a year ago was not made quickly – I did an excessive amount of research on the possible negative outcomes that could come from it, to the point that I pestered the urologist enough with questions that he ended up saying “Look, there are risks that will come from any surgery – I’ve done thousands of these, and have had almost zero complications reported from my patients. You’re aware of the risks and what the procedure entails, and have to decide whether the outcome is worth the minimal risk.” Besides the research, I gave myself 4 months between the consultation and the surgery, both to move the date until after golf season (VERY important to me). The four month break gave some more contemplation time after the surgery was booked and “real” – time to back out.

We made our decision to be “Childfree” after quite a bit of thought as well as looking at what our priorities in life would be. The decision for surgery was mine to make alone, although my wife was willing to go through the female version of the surgery as well – it just seemed easier and a less invasive procedure for me, rather than my wife to go through with it. A year later, both my wife and I are very comfortable with my surgery decision. The things we like to do with our life didn’t seem that it would be overly enhanced by adding dependents to – to the point that we don’t even own a cat as it would be abandoned while we left for weeks of vacation or weekends away from our house to visit friends or families around Ontario.

Financially, not having dependents to look after is a boon. While I understand children can be raised as economically as a parent wants, at the same time, not having the expense at all is significantly cheaper. One of the main reasons we can even contemplate Early Retirement is due to us being able to focus all of our “financial might” (of a moderate middle class dweller in Canada) towards this goal, instead of being dragged all over the place by conflicting priorities. The additional benefit of not having dependents is that we can be overtly selfish in our lifestyle and career. As long as we can support ourselves, there really isn’t any further obligation. If I felt like quitting my semi-stressful job tomorrow, in order to reduce the hours I work or restart a career in some other vocation, I could with no real effect to my household – this by itself is freeing.

It Isn’t So Bad

My goal of being financially independent by the time I’m 45 seems both outlandish and kind of a waste of time. The main question that I get when I tell people (which are few in number) is what am I going to do with extra 20 years compared to the conventional retirement age of 65. This kind of “break” from the normal isn’t something that most people even contemplate, let alone attempt, it’s just not really done.

I don’t fit into most moulds of what the majority of people would term an “adult” (I use this term loosely, because as a 35 year old, there aren’t that many people in my age group who feel that they are sufficiently grown up). I have absolved myself from the responsibility of parenthood with surgery last fall because I decided that having children really wasn’t my thing, and my wife was in agreement over this lifestyle choice. I would term myself as eccentric more than anything, mainly due to my non-acceptance of the “normal” life.

What I have tried to do is reduce the responsibilities in my life to a bare minimum. Most of the responsibilities I gave up just made sense either financially or timewise, but I’m glad I made the decisions I did. I have no debts, my monthly expenses are low enough that I could afford them on a minimum wage salary, and my wife and I have no dependents – we have simplified as much as we can, other than the fact we still need money to live.

So, that’s our current “project” – to accumulate enough savings to get rid of the final major responsibility we have in our lives – having to work.

The thing about our jobs is that neither of us mind doing them. The work isn’t overly taxing (we both work nice desk jobs) and it does keep us engaged on a day to day basis. The issue with the job is that it keeps us engaged way too long in a day. If I had a choice, my ideal work day would be about two and a half hours long, not the 8 to 10 hours it is now. It would be a much better thing to do if it was just another part of my waking hours, rather than taking up most of the time I’m able to do things.

In my next post on Thursday, I’m going to start looking at my retirement portfolio, and publishing my current project, which is tearing it apart, to hopefully make it better.