What’s the value of an extra day off, forever

2016-04-07 10.36.45What would you pay to have one day off, every year, for the rest of your life?

Once you have enough to cover your basics, you are paying an implicit price (in future time) for every dollar you spend.


A case study to illustrate…

Let’s say you are considering a $10,000 trip of a lifetime…

My preferred way to view spending is relative to my net worth. My give-a-hoot threshold is set at 0.1% of family net worth. It helps me not sweat the small stuff.

Applying that heuristic to a $10,000 choice, you need a net worth of $10 million (!) not to be thinking carefully about the trip.

So let’s think very carefully!


Realistic financial freedom comes from chipping away – day by day – at the requirement to work full time to fund your core cost of living

The value of a future benefit is undervalued by nearly everyone. A short-term focus makes sense from an evolutionary perspective but greatly limits the options in the second half of your life.

Let me reframe $10,000 of spending for a family earning $120,000 per annum.

Core cost of living = $120,000

Capitalization Rate = 4%

= Capital required to retire completely

= $3,000,000

Divide that by 300 working days per annum, and you get $10,000 of capital per working day.

So the vacation could be priced as one day working, forever.

When you look at a new SUV, you could see an additional week working, forever.

Jewelry, RVs, hobbies, private education… All can be viewed in terms of time.


Keeping it simple…

…every ten grand you invest in a balanced, low-cost portfolio, buys you an extra day off for the rest of your life.


…and while it can be tougher for a young person to accumulate capital, the time payoff is FAR greater.

$1 million of family capital can buy you four-day weekends, for the rest of your life.

After you’ve bought it, don’t wait too long to spend your time.

Building Bridges

2016-02-12 18.28.49A few years back, I identified my relationship with my daughter as an area that had the potential to greatly improve my life. At the time, I was devoting excessive energy to her via worry and stress. She was always in my mind, even when I was away from her.

How can we reduce the impact of our not-helpful obsessions within our minds?

I use two techniques:

  • Be kind and generous to as many people as possible – lots of tiny actions
  • Express the same habit, directly, to the person with whom I want to improve my relationship

Now, it’s important to bear in mind that it only takes one person to torpedo a relationship. So I might not be successful.

That’s OK – “success” isn’t my goal.

If the goal isn’t “success” then what is it?

Take a minute and consider what your words to your children indicate about your definition of success.

When I’m stressed, my words might indicate a desire for compliance, quiet and solitude. Is that what my family really needs?

Those same desires can be satisfied via personal, internal serenity within whatever relationship I have with people.

What’s this have to do with the “one-on-one” trip?

Taking the toughest member of the family on a road trip was a way to “step up” within my household. I’ve been taking my oldest on the road since she could walk.

ax_zenMy young children have a simple agenda with me…”do stuff with Dad.”

It’s simple, but not easy.

It’s not easy because “dad” has a preference for strong coffee and exercising uphill. I also like to be left alone to read, write and think.

To do fatherhood “right.” I have to make the commitment to be with my child, on the child’s terms.

A habit of service spills over into other aspects of my life, for example my marriage.

  • Just me and the child
  • Focus on doing things the kid likes
  • Never more than three nights away
  • If the kid is awake then my agenda is put to one side

Truth be told, the trips started as a way to get my Alpha Child out of the house. The fact that I ended up with better relationships with everyone was an unexpected bonus from seven years of sticking with it.