work life balance7th May 2016 – 

“Hey, for every ten dollars, that’s another hour that I have to be in the work place. That’s an hour of my life. And my life is a very finite thing. I have only ‘x’ number of hours left before I’m dead. So how do I want to use these hours of my life? Do I want to use them just spending it on more crap and more stuff, or do I want to start getting a handle on it and using my life more intelligently?” — Joe Dominguez – Co-author “Your Money or Your Life” (1938 – 1997)


How’s work treating you? Do you do what you do because you enjoy it or really just for the income it pays you?

Does this sound familiar…..?

Get up at 5am

Leave home to travel in heavy traffic often across town.

Work, work, work, all day until 5, or later.

Drive home through even heavier traffic.

Get home an hour or more later.

Shower, eat dinner, an hour or so of family time

Go to bed.

Do it all again for six days in a row before a getting one day a week off to mow the lawns, clean the gutters, do the shopping, and spend some time with the family.

Continue, as above for ‘xx’ years until 65. Retire. Die


Well it may not be exactly how your day goes but until recently, it was pretty similar to my routine, week after week. Well up until the bit about retiring at 65 and dying anyway. It all sounds a bit too similar to what Joe Dominguez said, isn’t it?

Many of us are now working longer hours, including weekends. How can it be enjoyable if you’re constantly over-burdened by your workload?  You spend so much of your life there, you need to get something besides money out of it.

Then there’s always ‘The Work/life Balance’ cliché we read about on the posters up on the staff noticeboard, or in the company Values Statement.

“Achieving a healthy work-life balance requires managing our professional and personal life in sustainable ways that keep our energy flowing, our minds and bodies healthy and our whole selves happy and content blah, blah, blah.”

Hmmmmm, tell me, how do you manage that when you’re working 60 hours or more a week? And how many companies actually believe in and promote those values? None I’ve ever worked for.

Since recently determining that I’m now financially independent, it has allowed me to move into what I call my ‘part-time phase’ (some part time work and some part time retirement). So what are the big changes I’ve discovered I can make in my life?

More time to do ‘me’ stuff. Write my blog, explore other income generating projects, exercise more, read books, cook delicious dinners, have an afternoon nap, or just stay up late the night before.

But when I do some part-time or temp work, and it’s usually for not more than a week or two at most, I maintain the following three rules:

  • I don’t travel more than 30 mins each way. I’ve got better things to do with my time than sit in traffic for more than an hour each day.
  • I don’t work Saturdays or public holidays. I have a life and working 6 days a week doesn’t fit in my lifestyle. I am, however, prepared to work late or at weekends occasionally to help out or to meet a deadline, but don’t make a habit of it. And if you’re not prepared to adequately compensate me for this, then sorry, I’m not interested.
  • If you behave like an arrogant, shouty, disrespectful, bully-boy, then goodbye. Enough said.


And because I’m not relying on the money I can enforce these rules. That’s what financial freedom gives you. Choice.

The choice to say, “No, I’m not prepared to put up with that. If you’re not going to reasonable to work with, I won’t be back tomorrow”.

I find myself being a lot more honest as well. I’m not worried about stepping on somebody’s toes and pissing somebody off because I just don’t care.

I don’t mean going out of my way to be arrogant or rude, but not putting up with bad behaviour, or bully-boy bosses who think they’re doing you a favour by giving you a job, or work practices that you morally don’t agree with. Believe me, it’s a truly enlightening moment when you tell Bob he’s a dickhead and you’re not going to tolerate his carry-on any more.

Often, everybody else in the workplace is so scared and timid. They don’t speak up when something’s obviously wrong and they are prepared to put up with a truly toxic workplace culture. But when you have power and freedom and a care-free attitude, you can take more risks and you can tell the truth. One of two things will happen. You’ll either get fired for not being a ‘team player’, or you will be shown a hell of a lot more respect. And both have happened to me at some stage of my working life.

When we reach financial independence we………..

Get off the daily work routine treadmill

Have choice

Have bargaining power


But early retirees can still work.

Unlike those that retire at 65 or later, early retirees are much more capable of picking up work after retirement.

Not only are you still fit and active, but you still retain the skills from the work that you did before you retired. Or, you have some new skills, such as building, website design, or rocket science, that you have learned as a result of having all that ‘me’ time to study something you have always wanted to do.

In fact, doing occasional work has some valuable benefits.

  • Your pre-retirement skill set stays up to date and relevant. This is especially important if you work in a rapidly changing industry such as digital or electronic technology, as you would find that once you get behind the 8-ball, it becomes harder to catch up and harder to market yourself to potential employers or customers.
  • Although you have cleverly placed your money into investments giving above average returns, you are in the position to top that up with some side-income which is only going to make your ongoing future financial position all that more secure.
  • Boredom. Hard to believe, but especially early on, you may find yourself becoming a little bored with the early retirement lifestyle and crave something more structured to fill your day. You will probably also find that, because most of your friends are still working (it’s up to you to share the FIRE concept with them) you miss the adult company and workplace environment you have been use to for ‘xx’ number of years.

Don’t worry. This will pass as you find more and more constructive, cool ways to fill your days doing what you really want to do. Anyway, isn’t that why you retired in the first place?

If you are one of those lucky people who loves their job, loves their colleagues, and loves what their work throws at them each day, I take my hat off to you. Keep doing what you love and earning/investing as much as you can while doing it.

It’s been said that if you love your job, it doesn’t feel like work. But will you still feel the same way in 5, 10, 15 years’ time? What would you do if you had to stop work due to a redundancy or if you became too unwell to continue working?

So enjoy your working week but take those fist-fulls of cash they give you every payday and invest the majority of it. Because you’re enjoying a simpler, less spendy lifestyle than your friends who want to blow all their income on needless junk, you’re going to hit financial independence sooner rather than later.

“There is nothing to lose and everything to gain from getting as many people on this train as possible, including yourself. ” – Mr Money Mustache

How would you spend your time if you no longer had to go to work every day?


Okere Falls, Lake Rotoiti, NZ
Okere Falls, Lake Rotoiti, NZ

Ms MM and I are still loving our holiday in New Zealand. Another week and a half to go enjoying the amazing sights, experiences, food and wine this country has to offer. Next week I’ll let you know how our Airbnb experience has been as well as the insight I’ve got from our hosts. Worth checking out if you’re planning to travel soon or are looking for an idea for creating a side-income.

Kuirau Park, Rotorua, NZ
Kuirau Park, Rotorua, NZ

18 thoughts on “Work, schmerk”

  1. I’m fortunate that I’ve worked part time since I went back to work after I had kids and I work from home as well. But unlike you that time I’m not working I’m looking after the kids. I do think this has restricted my career options.
    Totally agree with the commuting – I go on the bus and some days it is painful, but I read other blogs during that time so at least I’m doing something I enjoy.

    1. Yeah, there wouldn’t be too many roles where mixing a career with bringing up kids isn’t going to affect one or the other. The choices tend to be either put them in day care every day and concentrate on the career, or stop work entirely until the kids are at school, or just carefully balance the two options. I think that’s what most people do isn’t it.

  2. Looking forward to reading more about your NZ experience when you get back.

    I want to be at home-job as soon as possible, it will give our lives so much more freedom, security and enjoyment. I can’t wait for it and that’s what we’re aiming to do.

    Even when we hit that FI-at-home mark, we will still want to earn money, but doing things we really enjoy – like our blog.


    1. Cheers Tristan. I’ve been seeing a whole new way of travelling when you consciously start looking at how much you can spend when on holiday. It’s so easy to say “bugger the cost, we’re on holiday” but why view it any differently to when you’re at home. In saying that, there has been some FU-money spend on this trip. More to come.

  3. It sounds like you have a great setup.

    Ms. Financial Slacker and I are fortunate enough to be able to both work from home or from anywhere. Our travel limitations are more driven by our children’s activities than our work activities.

    But just because we’re working from home, doesn’t mean we’re not working. And actually, we have found the longer you worh, the more the client seems to want to pull you into an almost full-time role again.

    But knowing you have the freedom to push back is the difference.

    1. Sounds like the ideal situation FS. Except the part where it starts turning back into a full time role haha.

      I’m looking for some form of income earner that I can build up to the point that it generates income passively and I can maintain anytime from any place. Haven’t found it yet though.

  4. You are definitely living the dream, Get FIRE’d. While I am far from it myself, I am taking active steps now so that I can join the ranks when the time comes.

    I have read over and over, and agree completely, that one of the keys to a successful and enjoyable retirement is continuing to work on one’s own terms. I watched my Grandfather do so when I was a kid, and it really changed my view of what retirement should look like. Many of my friends seem reluctant to retire, assuming that they will just quit working and sink into their recliner, only to die a few years later. If they only knew. . .

    1. Your Grandfather had the right idea FSH. So many people I speak to either hate their job/boss/colleagues, or tolerate at best sticking in there just because it pays the bills. Yeah, that was me for a long time ’til I wised up and started working on my terms. It’s so incredibly liberating when you can do that. In fact, I recommend it!!

  5. Congrats on reaching financial independence and being able to work because you want to, not because you have to. That’s a great place to be!

    Although my finances still have a long way to go, I did just recently leave a job I wasn’t thrilled about to work as a freelancer – and I’m loving it. Having a skill set that I could monetize on my own was exhilarating, as it has allowed me to never feel trapped in a job. I can only imagine what full independence feels like!

    Looking forward to more great content.

    1. Thanks Rob. yeah, the feeling of not having to go to work is quite something. I’m now looking at ways to use my new-found time to start something (don’t know what yet) that I can enjoy doing but will reward me for my efforts but doesn’t turn into a full-time job. Great news on your new found freedom as well. And I’ll do my best on the content as well. feel free to offer any suggestions for new articles.

  6. I think you hit on the best part of FI – you are in control of your life, not your job/paycheck. You are able to push back on things that don’t align with your values. I think that is the best benefit out there.

    1. Exactly. And that’s what financial independence is all about I think. Having choice rather than being dictated to by the need to earn a paycheck each week. Thanks for the comment.

  7. Loved the comment about Bob being a dickhead… haha 🙂

    I’ve felt a similar freedom even with just a bit of money in the bank. Knowing that you can get canned and live 2-3 years without a job if really necessary is very liberating compared to living paycheck to paycheck. I now speak my mind at work (well… even more so… as I was always never backwards at coming forwards anyway!) but perhaps more importantly don’t get too stressed over the little details either (going part time has also massively helped with that!)


  8. I definitely have noticed a change in my demeanor at my gig work. I have enough to last me until another gig and began standing up to their nonsense. Very unusual in my industry. Feels great.

    1. It’s a great feeling isn’t it ZJ.I think it’s one of the best things about financial independence is the feeling that you no longer have to put up with workplace BS anymore.

  9. The closer I get to FIRE, the less I’m motivated to put in more than 40 hours. I think it also comes with the knowledge that we basically have FU money, at least enough to weather a long period out of work. Once you have that security, it’s a lot easier to say this or that can wait unitl tomorrow. Or to resist the temptation to respond to texts and emails after hours, after all, what’s going to really happen? Nothing most likely, but in the worst case that I get fired, then that’s more time to focus on early retirement!

    It’s almost like a super power to know you have options when you know that 95% of others don’t.

    Enjoy New Zealand! It sounds great!

    1. Hi there and thanks for stopping by. New comments are always welcome. I totally agree. That’s why I made the decision to give up full-time work in March although, if you’ve read any of my latest posts, I’ve set up an online business to keep me busy (which it’s not) and now I’m considering whether to go back to some part-time work to help me ease into retirement a little easier. I’m starting to come to the conclusion that just pulling the plug without much planning may not have been the best option. And thanks for the travel best wishes. That was back in May lol.

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