How much in-person parent time do you have left?

in-person parent time

Do you ever wonder how much in-person parent time you have left?  Or in-person children time? You’re probably wondering what is in-person parent time/ in-person children time?

We always want to make the most of every occasion or holiday because we say “life is short”.  I had grandparents pass away in the last few years. Each of my parents lost a parent and they were devastated. They obviously wished they could have spent more time with them.  We all did…

Last year, I came across a Facebook post from Tim Ferris where he shared an article written by an awesome website called Wait but Why.  They write about all sorts of cool, very detailed articles about so many different topics.  Anyhow, the post that caught my attention was the one titled “The Tail End”. It was a visual analysis of the days/weeks/months we all have in an average life.  He summarized how many books he’s read, Superbowls he’s enjoyed, how many pizzas he’s eaten, and how much of these he has left in his life span.

In-Person Parent Time

What really shocked me was his analysis on his in-person parent time that had elapsed. His situation is pretty similar to ours and most people who move away once they go to college/university.  He estimates he sees his parents 5 times a year for an average of 2 days each. (we see our parents more than this but it’s not that far off).

He analyzed the amount of days he spent with his parents throughout his life and how many days he anticipates having left with some generous assumptions (i.e. His parents living until they are both 90).

His analysis shows that by the time he graduated high school, he had already used up 93% of his in-person parent time. Think about that for a second… Your number might not be the same but it really puts things in perspective. If you knew you only had 7% of your in-person time with your parents left, would you value this time more?  If you’re in your 30s or 40s, you may be well past the 95% mark and into the last 2-3%.  Think about the feeling when your iPhone only has 2-3% battery left…

This article and analysis really stuck with us for 2 reasons:

1. Our Parents

D. and are lucky to still have all our parents with us but we don’t live in the same town as them.  We also only have 4 weeks vacation a year. So we don’t spend as much time with them as we’d like to. If we continue working a regular career and living a long distance away, we would probably see them 7-9 times per year. We would be in a similar position as Tim, in the last 5-7% of our remaining in-person time…

Once we reach financial independence, we will live 1km away from my parents so we will see them way more. We are also getting a lot closer to D’s parents as they will now only be a 3 hour drive away (compared to 5-6 hours).  But we won’t be tied to a regular job so we will easily double or triple our annual in-person parent time. The best part is that we will get to enjoy time with them while they are in very good health.  Our kids will also get to spend so much more time getting to know these special people in the best years of their lives.

2. Our Kids

If 93% of our in-person parent time is used up when we graduate high school, then 93% of our in-person kid time will be used up when they graduate high school.  That’s only 14-16 years away! So we need to make the absolute best of these years.  We want to hurry up and get to FI so we can double or triple our in-person time with them.


in-person parent time


The biggest fear anyone has about early retirement is “will I have enough money”.  We are very confident that we will be in a very good financial situation when we quit our jobs. We will also always have the option to take on work and make money on the side if we need to. However I would rather take the next 20 years off and enjoy these super important years of with our kids, even if I had to go back to a regular job in my 50s. D and I will live till we’re 120 anyways…

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9 thoughts on “How much in-person parent time do you have left?”

  1. This is eye-opening! I hadn’t thought about it in this perspective but time with family is one reason my husband and I elected to move back to where we grew up after venturing cross country. How you spend your time is definitely a way of showing what’s important to you.

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