Catch-22 and wheeler dealing (thought experiment)

What would you do if you knew with absolute certainty that you would die in exactly 10 years time. It doesn’t matter how you know this or what you will die of; in 3652 days you will drop dead.

This is the second thought experiment by SavingNinja. He asked for a stream of consciousness. Sorry in advance…

A catch-22

I was reluctant to have a go at this thought experiment. That’s because I only have two real phobias in life (the rest can be put down to my cowardice). In true Young FI Guy fashion, I’m even a little odd about my phobias. See my two phobias are dying and immortality. Hell(er) of a catch-22. Most of the time I can pretend that these issues don’t exist and live in bliss. This question means I have to confront them. After spending much of yesterday utterly miserable and deeply unhappy, here’s what I’d do.

Make lots of money

First off, assuming that my death in 10 years time isn’t due to the world ending or some pre-existing illness, I’d go to my insurer and jack-up my life insurance policy. I’m genuinely shocked the other respondents haven’t gone for this – perhaps they are less ethically dubious.

Confronting my demons

Next, I’d go see a psychiatrist to help me overcome my phobias. Maybe FIREShrink can help me out. Part of that would mean reading two books sitting on my shelf that I can’t bring myself to read: When Breath Becomes Air and Being Mortal (amazon affiliate links). Apparently, both books are excellent. I wouldn’t know I woosed out of reading them.


Apart from that, I’d change very little. I enjoy my quiet life. I’ve no plans to be famous or influential. In short, I’d quite like people to leave me alone!

I’d like Mrs YFG to quit her job so I can spend more time with her. But that’d be her call. I assume she would very much like to do so, despite me being incredibly annoying. Hopefully, the life insurance policies will stay her hand from the poison.

Much like the £1m pound question, I’d probably buy a car. Just because it’d make seeing my mum and sister much easier (yes, I’m a hypocrite).

Three years in I’d give away quite a bit of money to my sister and other people (i.e. those not exempt from Inheritance Tax). Leaving enough to bat away the rest of the innings.

Now please excuse me whilst I lay down and sob uncontrollably for a bit.

All the best,

Young FI Guy

Read what other folks have said:

Saving Ninja


Ms ZiYou





15 thoughts on “Catch-22 and wheeler dealing (thought experiment)

  1. Those books looks good, I’ve added them to my reading list.

    I love the Psychiatrist help. I thought I’d try to come to terms with my fate by travelling, but maybe paid help would be a more promising solution!

    Thanks for taking part ?

  2. I’d celebrate. I don’t think I’ve got ten years.

    Well, I’d celebrate as long as it was guaranteed that I’d not spend the ten years – or any appreciable fraction thereof – in “care”.
    Or in the USA. Or in the EU.

    1. Agree with the sentiment here, dearieme, although I’m personally hoping I have a lot more than 10 years. Knowing exactly how much time you have isn’t depressing from the right perspective. Lots of people of all ages don’t get 10 years. My kids would be in their teens – not the best time to leave them, but they’d have had a good amount of time with me (and I’d ensure that the time was good, rather than just a lot). Lots of time to prepare with my wife for what to do after I’m gone. And as YFG points out, a guaranteed colossal insurance payout. I couldn’t be there, but at least they’ll be set up for life.

      I just finished reading Meditations recently, so perhaps I’m in the right frame of mind for this sort of thought experiment.

      1. Hi AndrewM, Dearieme,

        We’re very fortunate to live in the UK where we don’t have to worry about the costs of long-term care bankrupting us (in addition of course, to the illness itself).

        As you say, Andrew, many people don’t get 10 years. Perhaps more importantly, in this thought experiment, there’s no shock or sudden passing. Speaking from experience, the ‘out-of-the-blue’ tragedies can be the hardest to deal with.

  3. Cheers for the namedrop YFG, I sometimes feel like my job could be equally well managed in a pub/ coffee shop as in a clinic!
    Might have a stab at this thought experiment malarkey.
    Can thoroughly recommend When Breath Becomes Air. I found it haunting, but also re-affirms my feelings about enjoying the simpler things in life.

  4. Great minds think alike with the insurance. It was pretty much the first thing I thought of! And I promise you I didn’t read any of the other posts first as I didn’t want to be influenced by any of them (I posted mine a few days after the deadline)


  5. Yeah I definitely didn’t think of the life insurance thing. Solid call.

    So interesting that you pull out the idea of confronting your demons. We all have those sitting on our shoulders and I don’t know anyone who wants to keep them!

    I know a number of people who’ve been through therapy in various forms. I don’t think any of them regret it, although it’s been more effective for some than others. I’ve not felt the urge to get therapy much myself but I think it can be lifechanging for some – not just if you realise you only have 10 years left to live!

  6. “I’ve no plans to be famous or influential.”. Fame, *meh* suspect it’s overrated. I already think you’re influential. You blog here and elsewhere. We read, we enjoy, we comment. Am I right or am I right?


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