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Old 17th April 2016, 21:36   #16
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Default Life in your 40s

A number of fantastic posts here - by Shankar, Samurai and DieselFan. As they have mentioned, our generation in someways was luckier than people in their twenties are - because we grew up with very, very little and limited expectations, and found ourselves benefiting enormously from reforms and attaining the kind of lifestyle we never imagined we would have.

I can still remember reading articles (at about 10) when Maruti first came to India - with journalists talking about how the 800 was so much nicer to drive than anything India had ever seen before but wondering whether the car would be suitable for an economy where people kept cars for 20-30 years (my dad had a 25+ year old Landmaster at that time). I was close to 15 by the time we got a color TV and our Maruti 800. The biennial visits of my American cousins were looked forward to - for the hand me down clothes, and the odd toy (Lesney model cars, a Remote Control car and best of all, a Nintendo hand held video game).

When I entered engineering college, it seemed a no brainier that I would look to go to the USA for an MS and settle down there. And then reforms happened. A cousin got a job at Arthur Andersen, and was earning a few lakhs a year (seemed incredible). And when I got into an IIM, I decided to gamble that reforms would open up opportunities for people like me, and gave up my US plans.

In the near term, it did not pay off. My first job paid me about Rs. 15000 take home, while we friends who joined Intel were making about USD 60000. My dreams were limited - a Maruti Zen, a house in the distant suburbs, and the hope of building a reasonable nest egg. Of course, these were far exceeded - largely as a result of hard work and being at the right place at the right time. The second hand Zen gave way to a Honda City, and then a Superb. All my other goals were met as well - and the big question that arises is what next.

So what advice would I give someone starting his or her career today? 1) Focus on building skills and relationships and not on the next raise. I have changed just one job in about 20 years of working life - and have done better than most of those who burnt bridges in search of the next raise. 2) Live well within your means. It's very easy to give in the temptation to spend all you earn. And if life is kind to you like it has been to me, savings in your 20s may not matter. But the next 20 years are unlikely to witness the kind of growth in incomes that the last 25 did. And even in a good economy, I can think of several points in my career where luck got me through challenges rather than just skill and effort. So saving at every stage of life is important - and the power of compounding means that saving a small amount early in life can matter a lot later. 3) Care for family and friends - it's easy to think of parents, friends and family as immortal in your teens or twenties. But by my early forties, I have lost my parents, aunts and uncles, a cousin and one of my engineering batch mates. It's very easy to get caught up in the rat race and not give time for those one cares for. But remember, time is the one thing one can't recreate. So do take time out for those you care about. 4) Compete, work hard, but don't measure yourself relative to others- no matter how well you do, there will be someone who does much, much better. As I said before, I have done much, much better than I ever imagined I would. But among my batch mates/ seniors / juniors, you have founders of prominent Unicorns, Global function heads of large MNCs, famous authors. Some of my IIM batch mates studied engineering with Satya Nadella and Sundar Pichai. Rejoice in your friends success, as they do in yours. But don't measure your self worth by being "better off" than them.

What would I have done differently? Perhaps I would have looked to develop aspects of my personality other than just the work related ones. The big question that arises in your 40s is what do you do for the next 20+ years of your working life if you succeed in climbing the nearby totem pole. Having other interests helps - not just in keeping your mind active in more dimensions than one, but also in pursuing a second career should your chosen one get interrupted. I have seen dozens of highly competent folks lose their jobs in the 4 recessions we have seen in the last 20 years. And those who were flexible, and had multiple interests coped with that better than others.

Best of luck.

Last edited by Hayek : 17th April 2016 at 21:47.
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Old 17th April 2016, 23:07   #17
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Default Re: Life in your 40s

Nice thread. Reading through the posts gave me a new perspective to life and the 40s.

I know I might sound stupid and a bit depressive, but I feel at my current age of 25, I haven't achieved anything great. Like neither I am from IIT or any other premier engineering college like NITs, nor I can get admission into IIMs considering the fact I never touched 90% bars in 10th/12th and so on.

After finishing my post graduation in computers (MCA), I am working in a service based MNC since last one year. Now often I feel lost, what should I do, what should I not. Many of my friends who got in IT companies along with me have already got onsite opportunities, better pay packages, some are getting married, some are in a relationship and some have already bought cars from their own earned money!

Now I neither have gone onsite yet, nor there is any chance of onsite especially in my current project, nor I am in a relationship (forget about marriage). Though I can buy a new car, my father suggests me to keep on using my existing cars atleast till they are 10 years old. (WagonR already crossed 9 years + City crossed 5 years mark). Sometimes I feel cars can't be the benchmark of success. What if I spend all my money & buy an S-Cross and 5 years down the line a new model will come and then again I will feel that I am driving an old and dated car? Again will enter the race of buying a new car every 5 years. A latest phone every two years. A latest tablet every 3 years Even If I buy my own 3BHK flat, then will I be looked down by my friends who have their own independent duplex houses ! and is this life all about?

Can't even think of buying a home as of now. Planning to move into management field in IT sector. Maybe core management marketing jobs. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I want to become a civil servant just like my dad, but preparing for UPSC is an uphill task of its own! With an IT job, 15-16 hours spending in office including travel, I feel that it's bit difficult to take on the UPSC challenge! What if I prepare and couldn't clear and regret wasting my youthful years for an exam while also lagging in IT because my focus will be diverted.
What if I follow my Photography along with IT sector job! So many thoughts come and go and makes me feel perplexed.


I feel afraid of reaching 40 years mark. Within 15 years from now on, I have to do so much that I couldn't do in first 25 years of my life. Often I feel that I will be old soon enough with 30s knocking the doors 5 years down the line

What can I do to enjoy my current time as well prepare for the 40s and further.

Last edited by bluevolt : 17th April 2016 at 23:25.
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Old 17th April 2016, 23:52   #18
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Default Re: Life in your 40s

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Originally Posted by nowwhat? View Post
Please don't misunderstand me -- I still love gizmos.

By the way, I do not consider myself successful. Success is a relativistic term and everyone has their own definition of success. I am envious of those who are content with their lives and I wish I could be them, but somehow I feel that my life is going to see many more ups and downs.
No misunderstandings. My question was more on the lines of why regret something that gave you pleasure at some point in time, even though it was perhaps not a wise decision from a financial POV.

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I know I might sound stupid and a bit depressive, but I feel at my current age of 25, I haven't achieved anything great. Like neither I am from IIT or any other premier engineering college like NITs.

Now I neither have gone onsite yet, nor there is any chance of onsite especially in my current project, nor I am in a relationship

Though I can buy a new car, my father suggests me to keep on using my existing cars atleast till they are 10 years old.

Even If I buy my own 3BHK flat, then will I be looked down by my friends who have their own independent duplex houses ! and is this life all about?

What can I do to enjoy my current time as well prepare for the 40s and further.
First of all, relax.
Getting into IIT or IIM is not the end of the world nor is going onsite. And stop comparing yourself to others. Even Mukesh Ambani will feel poor if he compares himself to Bill Gates.

From your post, one thing that emerges is that you are confused about your career path. Don't worry, most people in your age group are in the same boat. Further discussion on that will be OT here and should be taken up in the career advice thread. Why don't you post a query there?

And again, relax. You are not doing too bad. Find a hobby, it will be easier that finding a girl friend
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Old 17th April 2016, 23:58   #19
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, I'm just a naive 21 year old and have no idea what the 40s are really like.
You are overthinking it. Its 20 years away. You may not even live to be 40. An asteroid may hit the Earth on the eve of your 40th birthday and Human civilization may become extinct.
You are young. Enjoy life like you will never get old. Live for today. In my circle there was this guy who was always worried about such stuff. As a result he used to work like crazy building a retirement corpus so that he can retire early and live a lavish lifestyle. He collapsed due to overwork and never got up again. Dead at 35, with a lot of cash.

So just live your life. As you hit 25, start getting sensible with your savings a little bit. If you live beyond 30, you can start getting more into savings. Before that, just blow it up, and live it up.
I know a lot of finance managers and finance companies will talk about compounding and stuff and investment starting as early as possible, but then they get commissions when guys invest early and invest more.

Right now you need to know only one thing. One life to live. The early 20s are rocking. Just enjoy them. Don't be 40 at 20.
Its like I look at 50 year olds now, and then start imagining and living the 60 year old life.

Looking at the future and super advance planning is the road to depression.
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Old 17th April 2016, 23:59   #20
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I loved the attached. I'm not in my 40s yet. But what I've learnt

1) Put your interests first always. Subtly. Not in a way that is meant to harm others. But in the same way they ask us to take care of ourselves in a flight in case of emergency. You are supposed to wear your oxygen mask etc first, ensure your safety first, and then others. The same way.

2) Meet a lot of people with different perspectives. Meet positive people. A good life is often about meeting good, positive people. They give lasting, good feeling memories.

3) dont be lazy. Laziness kills.

P.S. another important thing : dont spend a lot of time on the internet
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Old 18th April 2016, 01:22   #21
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Default Re: Life in your 40s

I am not there yet but if I had to give you just one advice that could really make a difference to your 40s or your future life is that make sure you build your career in a profile and industry that you love. In your 20's try out many things until you find the one that brings out the best in you and still does not feel like 'work'.

If you do get lucky with the above, most of the other things will fall into place and you will have a happier life no matter what your age. Otherwise it will be an uphill struggle for a lifetime and living in compartments of 'workdays' and 'weekends'.

I wasn't able to do that and here I am lying awake at midnight wondering how to make up for the lack of work/life satisfaction and a constant worry about the future.

Good Luck.

P.S. Travel often.

Last edited by trek : 18th April 2016 at 01:26.
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Old 18th April 2016, 01:29   #22
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Default Re: Life in your 40s

When I look back, I realise don’t really have regrets, at least nothing that matters now. I guess that is something I can feel good about. But there are some tiny ones, wish it had happened differently…
  • Wish my lecturers in PUC (12th grade) had told me Calculus had a purpose. Then I would have tried to learn it properly using alternate books and had that knowledge for life. Same goes for engineering math later.
  • Wish I talked to that neighborhood kid when I was in 9th grade. I just ignored him then, and he grew up to become Anil Kumble.
  • Wish I knew as much about fitness techniques in my teens as I do now. I had very little guidance in those matters, and wasted lot of time. Now when I offer that guidance to my son, he simply has no interest.

But here is something for people who regret they didn’t get into IIT/IIM. I found out about IIT in 11th grade, so I didn’t even worry about trying, it was too late anyway. But it made no difference at all. I found my success anyway via hard work and perseverance. So here is the secret, your success doesn’t depend on your college, it depends on you. If you are not getting anywhere, it is not because of lack of pedigree, it is because of something else. Look for it, and fix it.

IIT/IIM alumni are good because they worked hard and were good enough to get into it. They are not good because of IIT/IIM. Unlike pre-reform days, you don't need IIT/IIM in your resume to get somewhere, hard work and perseverance can get you there too.

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Old 18th April 2016, 09:14   #23
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A couple of small other things; Forgive me if this sounds like high philosophy...

While absorbed in the business of living, take time to be kind. Take time to smell the flowers and the earth after a shower of rain.

Help poor people when you can, especially those disabled unfortunates.
Feed a stray cow, bull or dog and feel the satisfaction that comes with their simple, honest gratitude.

Take time to laugh.
Live easy and at the pace you are comfortable with. Don't become a robot.

While driving or riding, take that "turn off the main road" and see where it leads - you never know what brilliant views lie ahead!

This, my Dad and Mum used to do when we were kids. While driving along the quiet hill roads or any other for that matter, we would turn off the main road into the smaller paths/ roads just to perhaps have a small family picnic or just stop a while and see the views.

Driving at night sometime in a hill station, just look out the window and watch the moon follow the car - there's a primeval level of pleasure in that sight.

Time is the greatest luxury given to man. Use it wisely and enjoyably and don't expend all the time that you have, in the mundane, money-grubbing kind of activities alone.

If you don't already, then take up the reading habit. You'll never in your life be alone as long as you have a good book.

Create happy memories and leave great relationships behind wherever you go in life - for we will not pass this way again.

Life is good. Enjoy it.
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Old 18th April 2016, 09:21   #24
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Originally Posted by RonXRi94 View Post
But then again, I'm just a naive 21 year old and have no idea what the 40s are really like.
Oh brother, I am sorry but it is too late to save your 20s. If you have watched the movie "Inception", you'd know what I mean

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Old 18th April 2016, 09:50   #25
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But here is something for people who regret they didn’t get into IIT/IIM. I found out about IIT in 11th grade, so I didn’t even worry about trying, it was too late anyway.
Me too. I found out about IIT in the vacation after 11th grade. By 12th, I had made up my mind to get into Computer Engineering and got in relatively easily because almost everyone else wanted to do Electronics. There was no IT industry to speak of back then.

For my first job in a Process Automation company, I was interviewed alongside another candidate who had done both his B. Tech and M. Tech from IIT. At first I was wondering what I was doing there, but then it soon became obvious when the other candidate opened his mouth that he couldn't communicate for nuts. When I got my offer letter, I learned that my job paid a princely sum of Rs. 1,200 a month with no benefits whatsoever.

My first day on the job, the CEO gave me a spool of telephone cable and asked me to connect the phone line between the various floors of the office and his residence.

Last edited by nowwhat? : 18th April 2016 at 09:57.
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Old 18th April 2016, 10:21   #26
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As I'm 57 years of age, I'm not sure if I qualify but let me share one experience I had during my early 40s.

Both my father and father in law died soon after one another. Both were at the top of their profession. My dad was one of the very few, highly specialized, top lawyers in the Netherlands, My father in law was one of the Managing Directors and senior Partner of Coopers& Lybrand in the West Indies.

The both died, unexpectedly, at 63. They worked extremely hard their whole life. Worked 6 days a week. Maximum two weeks holiday a year. They both raised a family, had a loving wife, were very well off financially.

They both were thinking and talking about retiring for years. They had all sort of plans on what they were going to do and see once retired. They never made it.

One of the take aways for my wife and me is the following. It's fine to have dreams about the future, please do. But make sure you live your life in the here and now. Don't put everything on the future. Tomorrow might never come.

So make sure you have a few dreams, but try and do things that you enjoy, that you feel are important or relevant today as well. That also means balancing out your career with your personal life.

There is a nice song by Roger Whittaker called new world in the morning

Quote:
Everybody talks about a new world in the morning
New world in the morning so they say
Now, I, myself don't talk about a new world in the morning
New world in the morning, that's today
And I can feel a new tomorrow comin' on
And I don't know why I have to make a song
Now everybody talks about a new world in the morning
New world in the morning takes so long
I met a man who had a dream he'd had since he was twenty
I met that man when he was eighty-one He said too many

folks just stand and wait until the mornin',
Don't they know tomorrow never comes
And he would feel a new tomorrow coming on
And when he'd smile his eyes would twinkle up in thought
Now, everybody talks about a new world in the morning
New world in the morning takes so long
And I can feel a new tomorrow coming on
And I don't know why I have to make a song
Now, everybody talks about a new world in the morning
New world in the morning takes so long

I go by:

Quote:
Now, I, myself don't talk about a new world in the morning
New world in the morning, that's today
All the best!

Jeroen
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Old 18th April 2016, 11:07   #27
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I'm kind of just shy of 40 but am taking the liberty to pen a few thougths from my end. Sorry if this sounds philosophical on occasion but its what I feel life has taught me.

- LIVE your life. Do what makes you happy but in a balanced and responsible way. For your sake and the sake of your loved ones.

- SAVE money early. The sooner you start saving your money the better. Your money needs to grow on the side. Its all too easy as a mid 20s bloke to say - let me spend all my money on that car / holiday /gadget. At some level, its important to spend money towards experiences that matter, however material. But make it a habit to keep it within a budgeted limit and not splurge everything. If you don't set this habit early, you'll find it plagues you even in your later years.

- MAKE time for your health. Its your most valuable asset. I see too many 20 - 30 somethings abusing their bodies because they think its ok to prioritize work or partying (of course you must but it need not be at the cost of your health). Equally, I see many embracing healthy lifestyles very early and wish I had done the same. No regrets though - I make sure I do it now.

- INVEST in your relationships. That's what will pull you through your bad times. And there will be bad times. Embrace them as an opportunity to grow.

- FIND happiness in things outside materialistic pleasures. Its very easy to fall into the trap of 'wanting' more and more and thinking you need them. I 'need' the new ipad pro because it comes with a pencil. And the keyboard with it is a 'must'. I have a sedan and I really need an SUV too. Just to complete the garage. And of course a compact runabout city car because the sedan and SUV are both too big for some occasions.
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Old 18th April 2016, 11:17   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shankar.balan View Post
As Samurai said, our lives in the early '90's was not as easy and nor did we have so many expectations.

There is no One Size Fits All formula in Life. One has to always remember and try to follow the Latin Proverb - Quantum in me Fuit. I did the Best I Could!
Hey, Shankar, it was not that bad.

Fully agree with the later statement.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hayek View Post
As they have mentioned, our generation in someways was luckier than people in their twenties are - because we grew up with very, very little and limited expectations

When I entered engineering college, it seemed a no brainier that I would look to go to the USA for an MS and settle down there.

1) Focus on building skills and relationships and not on the next raise.
2) Live well within your means.
3) Care for family and friends
4) Compete, work hard, but don't measure yourself relative to others

What would I have done differently? Perhaps I would have looked to develop aspects of my personality other than just the work related ones.
Quote:
Originally Posted by tsk1979 View Post
You are overthinking it.
Live for today.
If you live beyond 30, you can start getting more into savings. Before that, just blow it up, and live it up.
Don't be 40 at 20.
Its like I look at 50 year olds now, and then start imagining and living the 60 year old life.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Samurai View Post
  • Wish my lecturers in PUC (12th grade) had told me Calculus had a purpose. Then I would have tried to learn it properly using alternate books and had that knowledge for life. Same goes for engineering math later.
  • Wish I talked to that neighborhood kid when I was in 9th grade. I just ignored him then, and he grew up to become Anil Kumble.
  • Wish I knew as much about fitness techniques in my teens as I do now. I had very little guidance in those matters, and wasted lot of time. Now when I offer that guidance to my son, he simply has no interest.

So here is the secret, your success doesn’t depend on your college, it depends on you.

IIT/IIM alumni are good because they worked hard and were good enough to get into it. They are not good because of IIT/IIM.
Quote:
Originally Posted by shankar.balan View Post
If you don't already, then take up the reading habit. You'll never in your life be alone as long as you have a good book.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeroen View Post
But make sure you live your life in the here and now. Don't put everything on the future. Tomorrow might never come.
Geez, the other "old men" have already covered everything. I don't know what I can add that will bring any additional value to this topic.

The one thing no one touched on (if they did I missed it) is that you cant fight luck. Some people are just luckier than others. As one of those who luck favored, I try to be modest about it.

The best thing you can do is grab what lady luck throws your way and go with it. This philosophy has taken me to NY, LA, Taiwan, Germany, Denmark, Switzerland, Silicon Valley, and I don't even remember where else. I count my wealth in my friends and I know that by that yard stick I am a rich man. Till my mid 30s all I owned I could fit in my "2 duffle bags". It was only after I got married and felt the need to provide for others did I start to think about savings and building any semblance of wealth.

I believe we only enough material goods to keep us comfortable, after a while, a bigger house or fancier car gets boring. The 20s and 30s are a time for learning, building relationships, and expanding your horizons. That's just my take. I know others who have preferred other paths (with 8000 sq.ft. mansions and the obligatory 'Mercedes garage') and I assume they are happy too. I have never stopped to ask.
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Old 18th April 2016, 11:23   #29
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Quote:
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As Samurai said, our lives in the early '90's was not as easy and nor did we have so many expectations.
Hey, Shankar, it was not that bad.
Can you explain why it was not that bad? May be your situation was very different than most of us.
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Old 18th April 2016, 11:41   #30
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Can you explain why it was not that bad? May be your situation was very different than most of us.
I dunno. I don't think most of us really missed anything. There was not a lot of materialism around. The best TV one owned was a B&W "EC" TV made by ECIL and the "best" car made in India was the Premier Padmini aka FIAT.

There were no mobile phones, no PS3s, no Internet so we got out a lot more. It was a simpler world.
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