Should We Spoil Our Kids?
I am a long-time fan of the Radical Personal Finance Podcast hosted by Joshua Sheats. I recommended it as one of the four best podcasts for those of us seeking financial independence in this post I wrote back in summer of 2014, just a few weeks after he started it. I have since also been interviewed by Joshua, which can be found here. I continue to follow the show regularly and highly recommend it for some unique insights on financial independence.
Recently, Joshua featured an interview with Dan Miller. Mrs EE and I agree that Miller is the author to one of the most influential books we have ever read.
48 Days To The Work You Love
“48 Days To The Work You Love” has had a profound impact on both of our careers and our lives. It has shaped how we look at work and how we found jobs we want to do working for great companies. We have gifted the book to many people over the years and I give it to every student that interns with me when they ask me for career advice.
Mrs. EE used the principles in the book to go from one of several hundred candidates to the final two for a dream job in a dream company a few years ago, even though the employer flat-out told her she was completely unqualified for the job. This employer then contacted her and offered another newly created position because they were so impressed by her application and interview process in which she simply followed some key ideas in this book. The book is that good!
I was very excited to hear this interview with Sheats and Miller and I was not disappointed. It was very informative and entertaining. However, the biggest thing that really got me thinking was totally unexpected.
I Totally Spoiled My Kids
One of the biggest things that we worry about with our early retirement is how our daughter will perceive our lifestyle. We want her to learn a good work ethic and know that life is not just handed to you. We know that no matter what we tell her, more is caught than taught. We wonder if we retire when she is four or five years old, how will she perceive work and money?
I therefore found it very interesting when Miller very candidly answered Sheats question to how he raised his kids and turned them into entrepreneurs. He answered he “totally spoiled them”.
As a knee-jerk reaction, we think of being spoiled as being a bad thing. I associate spoiled kids with never being told no. I associate it with having whatever they want bought for them. Their every wish is handed to them on a silver platter.
As Miller revealed more about how he and his wife raised their children, it really got me thinking. What he was saying is that his kids only ever knew one lifestyle. They saw from day one that you can fit in work around the lifestyle that you want to live, rather than trying to fit in life around work as most people do. Miller’s kids never saw a life that revolved around having one or both parents having to go to a job at set hours. They were never told they couldn’t afford things that were important to them. Using his creative style of entrepreneurship, they were able to do essentially whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted.
As his kids became adults, this was their reality. It is all they ever knew. They were spoiled in that they could never live a “normal” lifestyle. They could never work a job that dictated when they worked or put a ceiling on how much they could earn. Conventional wisdom about what a job should be didn’t apply to them. It forced them to raise their game and they are now all very successful in a variety of unique careers.
As I pictured Miller’s version of entrepreneurship, it sounded a lot like our vision of early retirement. The only real difference is that we will create income with paper assets we have accumulated. He instead highly leverages his time, investing weeks or months writing a book or developing a course, and then enjoying the fruits of his labors for months and years rather than going to a “normal” job to earn his income.
What We Want Our Daughter To Learn
So as we think about this, we have to ask ourselves questions. How do we want our daughter to think about work and money?
Would we rather she see her parents continue to go to work for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week and work until we’re 60+ years old so she knows that “that’s how you do it”? Or would we rather her see that if you learn how to manage your money and think differently from what most others do early in life, you can design a life that looks totally different?
Would we rather worry that she’ll think we’re lazy because we choose to go skiing on a Wednesday morning because it is a powder day? Or would we rather teach her that it is totally possible for her to design a life built around what she wants to do if she makes similar or even better and more creative choices?
Would we rather her see us go to jobs that are unfulfilling just to make more money? Or would we rather her see that we have developed the financial freedom to choose activities that excite and fulfill us and allow us to continue to grow and learn, whether we make money in the process or not?
Would we rather limit our daughters experiences in life because we are worried that she’ll be spoiled? Or would we rather travel the world with her, expose her to beautiful places, amazing experiences and adventures, and different cultures so that she can see how blessed she is and all that the world has to offer?
Dan Miller, through his book “48 Days” has changed our lives by changing the way we look at work and finding work we want to do. Now through this interview, he may have just changed the way we look at raising our child. Here’s to spoiling our daughter!
For those of you who have or are looking to retire early with kids, how do you think about this issue? Do you worry at all about how your children will perceive your lifestyle? Do you have any ideas to teach them about money and work? Share your thoughts below.