wait a moment

Is Long-Term Planning Futile?

Is long-term planning futile?If you work in an office, you’re probably going through the annual review process right now. I’m sorry about that. The annual review was always excruciating for me. Thank goodness I don’t have to deal with that anymore. Personally, the worst part of the process was career planning. The manager would ask where you see yourself in 5 years and I’d be sweating. Near the end of my engineering career, I couldn’t tell the truth. No one wanted to hear me say I want to retire early. That’d fast-track me to the top of the layoff list. At that time, I needed the job. I needed the paychecks so I could make progress toward financial independence. Anyway, I’d mumble something about being happy where I was and hoping to continue in the same capacity. Of course, they’d try to mentor me and encourage me to climb the career ladder which killed my interest even more. I enjoyed the technical work, but hated pretty much everything else about working in a corporation.

In any case, good luck with your annual review. I don’t have to worry about where my career will be in 5 years anymore, but I’ve been obsessive about personal long-term planning lately. It feels like life will change a lot over the next 10 years. Today, I’ll share my plan and get it off my chest. This might be a futile gesture because there are so many unknowns. Hopefully, I’ll get the basic direction right and then adjust the course as needed.

That’s one good thing about having a blog. It’s a great platform to coalesce my thoughts. A blog is a great way to share your ideas, build your brand, and generate a little extra income. I think everyone should try it and see if it works for them. Check out my tutorial – How to Start A Blog and Why You Should 

10 years ago…

10 years ago, I was an engineer in a huge corporation. I was making a good income and life was pretty stable. My job was still tolerable. I liked the technical work and just put up with the rest. Back then, I thought I’d stay in engineering and continue working until I’m 65. However, life happened. Several events cascaded rapidly and inspired me to retire early.

These factors enabled me to give up my engineering career. I figured I’d try early retirement for a while and see how it goes. If it didn’t work out, I could go back to full-time employment. Luckily, it came together pretty well and life has been fantastic since I retired since 2012. That’s the last 10 years in a nutshell.

Long-term planning

What about the next 10 years? If the last 10 years is anything to go by, life will be quite different in 2029 as well. Here are some of the expected events over the next 10 years.

2020 – This was Mrs. RB40’s early retirement target date. If all goes well in 2019, she should be able to retire early next year. However, we are not sure if she’s ready to retire yet. We’ll see how she feels next year. She may or may not retire early in 2020.

2025 – If Mrs. RB40 keeps working, then she’ll qualify for a pension by 2025. Once she has a pension, then she won’t have to worry about finance anymore. I’m pretty sure she will retire then.

2029 – RB40Jr goes to college. This will be a big life change for us. We’ll probably downsize and move once RB40Jr is independent. The plan is to travel more and also help out our parents more. I’ll probably cut way back on blogging too.


The biggest uncertainty over the next 10 years is health. Our parents are all in their 70s and they might need more help sooner rather than later. My mom has dementia and she probably needs help even sooner. Right now, my dad is taking care of her, but I’m not sure how long he can do it by himself. Once Mrs. RB40 retires, I plan to spend more time in Chiang Mai so I can help out more. For now, we plan to spend 4-8 weeks there every summer so my dad can get a break. Hopefully, my mom’s condition doesn’t deteriorate too quickly.

Fortunately, Mrs. RB40’s parents are healthy right now. They live in California so it’s easier to visit. Once RB40Jr goes off to college, then Mrs. RB40 can move closer to her parents to keep an eye on them. At that point, I’ll probably split my time between California and Chiang Mai. Whew! This whole plan feels overly complicated.

Is long-term planning futile?

Is long-term planning futile? I don’t know. There will be many changes over the next 10 years for us. Even 2019 will have quite a few changes. We’re moving across town into a house. Luckily, RB40Jr can still go to the same school, but we will need to make many adjustments to our schedule. He won’t be able to take the school bus anymore so I’ll need to figure that out.

This summer will also be the first summer we’ll spend in Thailand. It’ll be very different than our usual Portland summer at home. That’s why I’m trying not to be too ambitious this year. We’ll have to take it a month at a time and hope next year will be simpler.

Okay, that’s it for today. Do you think about the future much? Where do you see yourself in 10 years? Will life change a lot or basically stay the same?

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