My theory about FIRE

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Planner01
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My theory about FIRE

Post by Planner01 » Mon Apr 13, 2020 7:40 pm

Let me just start by saying that I have nothing against about FIRE. In fact, I think it’s great because it gets people moving in the right direction, instead of looking at a mountain of debt and a hopeless future.

I think the idea of FIRE is misunderstood, specifically the retire part. Most people that are “young enough” and achieve financial independence do not retire. They just end up doing something different while pursuing their passion. So in the end, they don’t want to retire. They just want to FIRE because they don’t want THAT job... you know, the one where they feel trapped and don’t enjoy. I bet people that are happy and fill fulfilled in their jobs are not pursuing FIRE.

Essentially, the more you hate your day job the harder you are after FIRE. Which I can completely understand. It’s maybe the high paying job that covers the bills, healthcare, etc...

bampf
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Re: My theory about FIRE

Post by bampf » Mon Apr 13, 2020 7:48 pm

I think the FI is more important than the RE. Having the ability to make choices is very powerful. It changes the equation from servitude to choice and that matters a lot. My spouse and I used to argue about having to take a "bite from the ...." insert word that the mods won't yell at me about "doody sandwich". Once you have enough to meet the basic needs of security and what not, then you can choose and you aren't trapped. Maybe you do have to stop at that particular snack bar, but, you do it because you choose to do it, not because you need to pay your house payment.

Freedom. Maybe it needs to be FIFE (Financial Independence, Freedom Early). Regardless, a worthy goal.

ThriftyPhD
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Re: My theory about FIRE

Post by ThriftyPhD » Mon Apr 13, 2020 7:56 pm

Many will point out that the 'FI' is the big goal, which enables the 'RE' as an option. You're right in that 'retire early' doesn't mean you have to restrict yourself to golf and shuffleboard. Many use the term to mean retiring from the high paying career and taking positions that don't pay much but are more rewarding.

It doesn't have to be a different field. Imagine a lawyer working for a big firm for a decade, earning a high salary. They could then 'retire' and provide low/no cost legal advice/services to causes they care about on a part time basis. Another example would be a doctor working a high stress job for a decade, then 'retiring' to a underserved medical area, or volunteering for doctors without borders, or just scaling back to work 2-3 days a week or only taking the cases that are rewarding for them.

Others might 'retire' from a high paying career they don't like and decide to work in a lower paying field that they enjoy more. Without the hunt for the $, a lot of the stress is gone. I know scientists that 'retired' and began working as artists and musicians. Tough to make a living at it, but if you're FI that stress is gone. But they're still working hard at something they find rewarding, whether they make a lot of money or not.

Others discover that once they achieve 'FI' their current job becomes a lot less stressful because they can tell their boss 'no' without worry. Worst case, they get fired, who cares? Then the job isn't so bad, so they keep doing it.

FI opens a lot of options. RE is just one of them.
Last edited by ThriftyPhD on Mon Apr 13, 2020 7:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

t00sl0w
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Location: Florida

Re: My theory about FIRE

Post by t00sl0w » Mon Apr 13, 2020 7:56 pm

bampf wrote:
Mon Apr 13, 2020 7:48 pm
I think the FI is more important than the RE. Having the ability to make choices is very powerful. It changes the equation from servitude to choice and that matters a lot. My spouse and I used to argue about having to take a "bite from the ...." insert word that the mods won't yell at me about "doody sandwich". Once you have enough to meet the basic needs of security and what not, then you can choose and you aren't trapped. Maybe you do have to stop at that particular snack bar, but, you do it because you choose to do it, not because you need to pay your house payment.

Freedom. Maybe it needs to be FIFE (Financial Independence, Freedom Early). Regardless, a worthy goal.
I'd agree and say its prob more this than anything else. FIRE is more or less, FIFE, than it is the RE part.
To be able to dip out by your 30s, 40s at the latest and do whatever you want from then on, even if its work minimum wage part time at a coffee shop that barely pulls in customers and grow out a giant curly mustache...the fact that it's your choice to do that and you don't have to worry about money at all, is freeing.

Wanderingwheelz
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Re: My theory about FIRE

Post by Wanderingwheelz » Mon Apr 13, 2020 8:08 pm

t00sl0w wrote:
Mon Apr 13, 2020 7:56 pm
bampf wrote:
Mon Apr 13, 2020 7:48 pm
I think the FI is more important than the RE. Having the ability to make choices is very powerful. It changes the equation from servitude to choice and that matters a lot. My spouse and I used to argue about having to take a "bite from the ...." insert word that the mods won't yell at me about "doody sandwich". Once you have enough to meet the basic needs of security and what not, then you can choose and you aren't trapped. Maybe you do have to stop at that particular snack bar, but, you do it because you choose to do it, not because you need to pay your house payment.

Freedom. Maybe it needs to be FIFE (Financial Independence, Freedom Early). Regardless, a worthy goal.
I'd agree and say its prob more this than anything else. FIRE is more or less, FIFE, than it is the RE part.
To be able to dip out by your 30s, 40s at the latest and do whatever you want from then on, even if its work minimum wage part time at a coffee shop that barely pulls in customers and grow out a giant curly mustache...the fact that it's your choice to do that and you don't have to worry about money at all, is freeing.
Being financially independent doesn’t eliminate worry about money. I probably worry about it more since I was sure I’d achieved 25x expenses a number of years ago.

You know the old saying, “you only need to get rich once”.

HenryPorter
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Re: My theory about FIRE

Post by HenryPorter » Mon Apr 13, 2020 8:15 pm

John Goodman summarized it well in 'The Gambler' [ note: NSFW reference]

fatFIRE
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Re: My theory about FIRE

Post by fatFIRE » Mon Apr 13, 2020 8:17 pm

Planner01 wrote:
Mon Apr 13, 2020 7:40 pm
Let me just start by saying that I have nothing against about FIRE. In fact, I think it’s great because it gets people moving in the right direction, instead of looking at a mountain of debt and a hopeless future.

I think the idea of FIRE is misunderstood, specifically the retire part. Most people that are “young enough” and achieve financial independence do not retire. They just end up doing something different while pursuing their passion. So in the end, they don’t want to retire. They just want to FIRE because they don’t want THAT job... you know, the one where they feel trapped and don’t enjoy. I bet people that are happy and fill fulfilled in their jobs are not pursuing FIRE.

Essentially, the more you hate your day job the harder you are after FIRE. Which I can completely understand. It’s maybe the high paying job that covers the bills, healthcare, etc...
The so-called FIRE movement has been hijacked by FIRE bloggers, and I agree. Many of the public FIRE figures and not retired, they are small business owners monetizing their website. I am also particularly peeved with the prevalent sentiment that FIRE people don't like their job, and are just counting down the years.

I love my job and I still want to FIRE, also more of FI than RE. In part, in my line of work there are no old employees so I may have to FIRE by necessity. Unless I make it to a director-level M2 position and try to hang on for as long as I can - I'm also planning to do that.

But having more money brings more options and less stress. I've been a poor grad student before where I track my money down to the dollar, and I used to hoard stuff. It was miserable. Now, I can afford not to care about the tens of dollar, and only >$100 purchases I do consider. I'm also throwing away all my stuff worth less than $100 because I know if I ever need it, I can afford to buy it again.

The path to FIRE also gives you less of a crisis mode mentality, which is healthy. I'm at a position whereby if this coronavirus situation gets worse I can survive 2 years without income (potentially 3-4 years if you include severance and UI). So instead of worrying about existential threats like will I have a place to stay, will I have food to eat.. My only concern now is how this will affect my career progression, and how much my FIRE date will be set back.

CardioMD
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Re: My theory about FIRE

Post by CardioMD » Mon Apr 13, 2020 8:33 pm

My wife and I consider ourselves part of the FIRE movement. It’s mostly because we want the freedom to choose on our terms what we do with our lives. If that means picking up and moving to Africa to run a clinic, we want the freedom to do that.
“The stock market is a giant distraction from the business of investing.” -Jack Bogle

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tvubpwcisla
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Re: My theory about FIRE

Post by tvubpwcisla » Mon Apr 13, 2020 8:37 pm

Slow and steady wins the race.

:sharebeer
Stay invested my friends.

bampf
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Re: My theory about FIRE

Post by bampf » Mon Apr 13, 2020 8:43 pm

Wanderingwheelz wrote:
Mon Apr 13, 2020 8:08 pm
t00sl0w wrote:
Mon Apr 13, 2020 7:56 pm
bampf wrote:
Mon Apr 13, 2020 7:48 pm
I think the FI is more important than the RE. Having the ability to make choices is very powerful. It changes the equation from servitude to choice and that matters a lot. My spouse and I used to argue about having to take a "bite from the ...." insert word that the mods won't yell at me about "doody sandwich". Once you have enough to meet the basic needs of security and what not, then you can choose and you aren't trapped. Maybe you do have to stop at that particular snack bar, but, you do it because you choose to do it, not because you need to pay your house payment.

Freedom. Maybe it needs to be FIFE (Financial Independence, Freedom Early). Regardless, a worthy goal.
I'd agree and say its prob more this than anything else. FIRE is more or less, FIFE, than it is the RE part.
To be able to dip out by your 30s, 40s at the latest and do whatever you want from then on, even if its work minimum wage part time at a coffee shop that barely pulls in customers and grow out a giant curly mustache...the fact that it's your choice to do that and you don't have to worry about money at all, is freeing.
Being financially independent doesn’t eliminate worry about money. I probably worry about it more since I was sure I’d achieved 25x expenses a number of years ago.

You know the old saying, “you only need to get rich once”.
I guess I am the opposite. I worry less. A lot less. It hasn't been fun watching the meltdown over the last few weeks, but, knowing I have enough to put me at a level that I am comfortable with has been incredibly liberating. The market meltdown becomes much more an analytical exercise and the fear, uncertainty and doubt have largely left. I know that regardless of how bad it gets, (unless we hit dystopian nightmares) I will be relatively ok. I am not talking luxury yachts. I am talking about just knowing you have enough to do what you choose to do. It really matters. I suppose it is different if you want to be rich. I like McLaren cars. I don't need one.

Wanderingwheelz
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Re: My theory about FIRE

Post by Wanderingwheelz » Mon Apr 13, 2020 8:53 pm

bampf wrote:
Mon Apr 13, 2020 8:43 pm
Wanderingwheelz wrote:
Mon Apr 13, 2020 8:08 pm
t00sl0w wrote:
Mon Apr 13, 2020 7:56 pm
bampf wrote:
Mon Apr 13, 2020 7:48 pm
I think the FI is more important than the RE. Having the ability to make choices is very powerful. It changes the equation from servitude to choice and that matters a lot. My spouse and I used to argue about having to take a "bite from the ...." insert word that the mods won't yell at me about "doody sandwich". Once you have enough to meet the basic needs of security and what not, then you can choose and you aren't trapped. Maybe you do have to stop at that particular snack bar, but, you do it because you choose to do it, not because you need to pay your house payment.

Freedom. Maybe it needs to be FIFE (Financial Independence, Freedom Early). Regardless, a worthy goal.
I'd agree and say its prob more this than anything else. FIRE is more or less, FIFE, than it is the RE part.
To be able to dip out by your 30s, 40s at the latest and do whatever you want from then on, even if its work minimum wage part time at a coffee shop that barely pulls in customers and grow out a giant curly mustache...the fact that it's your choice to do that and you don't have to worry about money at all, is freeing.
Being financially independent doesn’t eliminate worry about money. I probably worry about it more since I was sure I’d achieved 25x expenses a number of years ago.

You know the old saying, “you only need to get rich once”.
I guess I am the opposite. I worry less. A lot less. It hasn't been fun watching the meltdown over the last few weeks, but, knowing I have enough to put me at a level that I am comfortable with has been incredibly liberating. The market meltdown becomes much more an analytical exercise and the fear, uncertainty and doubt have largely left. I know that regardless of how bad it gets, (unless we hit dystopian nightmares) I will be relatively ok. I am not talking luxury yachts. I am talking about just knowing you have enough to do what you choose to do. It really matters. I suppose it is different if you want to be rich. I like McLaren cars. I don't need one.
I’m not satisfied with being relatively okay. That may be financially independent, but to me that sounds like a place from where a lot can go wrong. That would worry me. But we are all wired differently, and I respect other people’s points of view.

restingonmylaurels
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Re: My theory about FIRE

Post by restingonmylaurels » Tue Apr 14, 2020 12:27 am

Planner01 wrote:
Mon Apr 13, 2020 7:40 pm
I think the idea of FIRE is misunderstood, specifically the retire part. Most people that are “young enough” and achieve financial independence do not retire. They just end up doing something different while pursuing their passion. So in the end, they don’t want to retire. They just want to FIRE because they don’t want THAT job... you know, the one where they feel trapped and don’t enjoy. I bet people that are happy and fill fulfilled in their jobs are not pursuing FIRE.

Essentially, the more you hate your day job the harder you are after FIRE. Which I can completely understand. It’s maybe the high paying job that covers the bills, healthcare, etc...
Many decades ago, I spent the first week at my first professional job and hated it immediately. Instead of intellectual excellence, it was all about who you knew or could chat up. I determined then and there to become financially independent by age 40, so I could do what I wished.

It was not necessarily THAT job, but any job that involved unsatisfying office politics more than satisfying intellectual challenges. So pretty much any high-paying job.

The actionable goal is that FI would not have been possible without saving and investing on a significant scale. Deferred gratification was the key. The difficult thing after FI is that it is hard to unwind that constant companion of deferred gratification.
bampf wrote:
Mon Apr 13, 2020 7:48 pm
I think the FI is more important than the RE. Having the ability to make choices is very powerful. It changes the equation from servitude to choice and that matters a lot... Once you have enough to meet the basic needs of security and what not, then you can choose and you aren't trapped.

Freedom. Maybe it needs to be FIFE (Financial Independence, Freedom Early). Regardless, a worthy goal.
I never really considered myself retired early, as I have had several more (part-time) careers during this "retired" time.

Everyone needs a reason to get up in the morning and for most if not all, that is some form of work, paid or otherwise.

I think Financial Independence, Retire Early (FIRE) should be renamed to Financial Independence, Pursue Alternatives (FIPA).
ThriftyPhD wrote:
Mon Apr 13, 2020 7:56 pm
Many will point out that the 'FI' is the big goal, which enables the 'RE' as an option. You're right in that 'retire early' doesn't mean you have to restrict yourself to golf and shuffleboard. Many use the term to mean retiring from the high paying career and taking positions that don't pay much but are more rewarding...

Others might 'retire' from a high paying career they don't like and decide to work in a lower paying field that they enjoy more. Without the hunt for the $, a lot of the stress is gone. I know scientists that 'retired' and began working as artists and musicians. Tough to make a living at it, but if you're FI that stress is gone. But they're still working hard at something they find rewarding, whether they make a lot of money or not.

FI opens a lot of options. RE is just one of them.
Since FI, I have lived around the world, got a doctorate, authored a lot of books, taught at leading universities, obtained numerous professional licenses and certifications, run a marathon, traveled to dozens of countries, found the spouse of my dreams, raised a wonderful child, etc.

One thing you will find is that you need to be able to structure your day, every single day, for the rest of your life. While that may sound appealing, it is actually a bit of an effort. It has, though, made it easier to deal with the current crisis and self-isolation.

FI also makes investing super important, especially if you rely on it for a large part of your living expenses. It would be impossible to imagine being 100% equities after FI, without that high-paying salary to backstop that particular AA choice.

With FI you realize that money is not the goal, merely a tool to give you back your time, so you guard it as precious. It makes you more conservative investing-wise than others, meaning you may end up with less dollars decades later but you are infinitely richer in life experiences.

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LittleGreenSoldiers
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Re: My theory about FIRE

Post by LittleGreenSoldiers » Tue Apr 14, 2020 12:41 am

I've always thought it should be FIRO.
Financially Independent. Retirement Optional. After all. That really is what being financially independent is.

I've been happily FIRO's for a few years now. Maybe I should've started a blog a few years back and just FIRE'd. :happy

DonIce
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Re: My theory about FIRE

Post by DonIce » Tue Apr 14, 2020 12:47 am

Getting to financial independence at a young age makes sense as it alleviates financial worries that one might have and gives one a great sense of security.

But the part I don't get is all the promising smart people (which you have to be to be able to attain FI early) that go into careers that they hate and suffer through them for a decade or two, so they can "retire early" to do something else (that's still productive). It just makes no sense to me at all. Why waste ones 20s and 30s doing something you hate so you can FIRE at ~40 (if all goes according to plan, no guarantee)? Instead, do what you love from the beginning, even if it pays less money. In almost any career, people that are passionate about their work will excel and make more than enough to lead a life that is not limited in happiness by their financial means.

barberakb
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Re: My theory about FIRE

Post by barberakb » Tue Apr 14, 2020 12:59 am

You have to remember everybody is different. People think differently.
I plan to retire by 50. I don't hate my job, Im not even working currently. But I don't want to work my entire life. No matter what the job is.
And some people are the exact opposite. They will work as long as they can. Some even until they die.

Nothing wrong with either option.

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HomerJ
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Re: My theory about FIRE

Post by HomerJ » Tue Apr 14, 2020 1:08 am

Wanderingwheelz wrote:
Mon Apr 13, 2020 8:53 pm
I’m not satisfied with being relatively okay. That may be financially independent, but to me that sounds like a place from where a lot can go wrong. That would worry me. But we are all wired differently, and I respect other people’s points of view.
No, it's not about starting from "relatively okay" for all of us (although many FIRE people do seem to cut it close)

Me, I like being a position where that's my very probable worst case.

I'm more than okay now... I don't want to lose my job or watch my stock portfolio drop 80% and take 20 years to recover.

But even if it happened, my family would stay warm, fed, and dry.

That IS comforting. My worst (financial) case is still "okay".
A Goldman Sachs associate provided a variety of detailed explanations, but then offered a caveat, “If I’m being dead-### honest, though, nobody knows what’s really going on.”

restingonmylaurels
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Re: My theory about FIRE

Post by restingonmylaurels » Tue Apr 14, 2020 1:22 am

DonIce wrote:
Tue Apr 14, 2020 12:47 am
Getting to financial independence at a young age makes sense as it alleviates financial worries that one might have and gives one a great sense of security.

But the part I don't get is all the promising smart people (which you have to be to be able to attain FI early) that go into careers that they hate and suffer through them for a decade or two, so they can "retire early" to do something else (that's still productive). It just makes no sense to me at all. Why waste ones 20s and 30s doing something you hate so you can FIRE at ~40 (if all goes according to plan, no guarantee)?
Because if it was an appealing, lovable job, then everyone would want it. And it would likely not pay the same amount of money that you need to reach FI. While it may not be the something that makes you happy, there are still many valuable experiences you have and lessons you learn from a job you do not particularly like.
DonIce wrote:
Tue Apr 14, 2020 12:47 am
Getting to financial independence at a young age makes sense as it alleviates financial worries that one might have and gives one a great sense of
Instead, do what you love from the beginning, even if it pays less money. In almost any career, people that are passionate about their work will excel and make more than enough to lead a life that is not limited in happiness by their financial means.
Because at a young age, you really do not have enough experience to really know what you will continue to enjoy. Life is long, so there is no need to have just one career your whole life, even if it is something you enjoy. I cannot imagine anything more dull than stopping at one career. Challenging yourself in multiple careers is part of the happiness of life.

That may actually be an underlying, unspoken driver behind the FIRE movement, a strong desire to achieve a sense of self realization beyond what you can by spending your whole working life in one career.

DonIce
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Re: My theory about FIRE

Post by DonIce » Tue Apr 14, 2020 1:33 am

restingonmylaurels wrote:
Tue Apr 14, 2020 1:22 am
DonIce wrote:
Tue Apr 14, 2020 12:47 am
Getting to financial independence at a young age makes sense as it alleviates financial worries that one might have and gives one a great sense of security.

But the part I don't get is all the promising smart people (which you have to be to be able to attain FI early) that go into careers that they hate and suffer through them for a decade or two, so they can "retire early" to do something else (that's still productive). It just makes no sense to me at all. Why waste ones 20s and 30s doing something you hate so you can FIRE at ~40 (if all goes according to plan, no guarantee)?
Because if it was an appealing, lovable job, then everyone would want it. And it would likely not pay the same amount of money that you need to reach FI. While it may not be the something that makes you happy, there are still many valuable experiences you have and lessons you learn from a job you do not particularly like.
Hardly. People are different. Some people love technical/mathematical subjects, and want to be engineers/mathematicians/computer scientists. Other people hate that kind of work. Some people love helping others through medicine, psychology, etc. Others hate that kind of work. Some people want to produce art, others would hate to do that. Some people love business, trade, negotiation, and others hate it. Some people enjoy being an entrepreneur and starting a company, others hate it. Same goes for hands on trades, restaurant business, etc etc etc.

The natural variety of people is sufficient such that it should be possible for almost everyone to make a career out of that which they enjoy.
restingonmylaurels wrote:
Tue Apr 14, 2020 1:22 am
DonIce wrote:
Tue Apr 14, 2020 12:47 am
Getting to financial independence at a young age makes sense as it alleviates financial worries that one might have and gives one a great sense of
Instead, do what you love from the beginning, even if it pays less money. In almost any career, people that are passionate about their work will excel and make more than enough to lead a life that is not limited in happiness by their financial means.
Because at a young age, you really do not have enough experience to really know what you will continue to enjoy. Life is long, so there is no need to have just one career your whole life, even if it is something you enjoy. I cannot imagine anything more dull than stopping at one career. Challenging yourself in multiple careers is part of the happiness of life.

That may actually be an underlying, unspoken driver behind the FIRE movement, a strong desire to achieve a sense of self realization beyond what you can by spending your whole working life in one career.
A single career is far from a single job or a single skill set. People that are passionate about what they do will naturally move through many different roles, whether working at a megacorp, a startup, or independently.

People should introspect a little deeper to figure out what they want to do. By their early 20s, which is generally when the choice has to be made, people should have a decent understanding of themselves if they've spent any time seriously thinking about it.

FishTaco
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Re: My theory about FIRE

Post by FishTaco » Tue Apr 14, 2020 3:26 am

DonIce wrote:
Tue Apr 14, 2020 1:33 am

But the part I don't get is all the promising smart people (which you have to be to be able to attain FI early) that go into careers that they hate and suffer through them for a decade or two, so they can "retire early" to do something else (that's still productive). It just makes no sense to me at all. Why waste ones 20s and 30s doing something you hate so you can FIRE at ~40 (if all goes according to plan, no guarantee)?
..........
Hardly. People are different. Some people love technical/mathematical subjects, and want to be engineers/mathematicians/computer scientists. Other people hate that kind of work. Some people love helping others through medicine, psychology, etc. Others hate that kind of work. Some people want to produce art, others would hate to do that. Some people love business, trade, negotiation, and others hate it. Some people enjoy being an entrepreneur and starting a company, others hate it. Same goes for hands on trades, restaurant business, etc etc etc.
.........
People should introspect a little deeper to figure out what they want to do. By their early 20s, which is generally when the choice has to be made, people should have a decent understanding of themselves if they've spent any time seriously thinking about it.
In an effort to help you understand a different view:

I think you are downplaying the degree which your work environment and politics come into the decision to pursue FIRE and are rather focusing on the choice of training one has undertaken to achieve their position.

I work a lot with young physicians, and many of them are very interested in FIRE. Many of them are incredibly smart and hardworking, but I think a lot of them become very disillusioned with what the practice of medicine has become. I don't know of any that picked medicine because they planned to pursue FI, but rather, they decided to pursue FI when they see how dysfunctional the practice can be. And a lot of these things just can't be fully appreciated until you have immersed yourself in the field. So I actually see it the other way around- I think that if you happen to go into medicine and are smart, you figure out quickly how to put yourself in a position that will allow you practice on your own terms rather than being trapped in the field.

EnjoyIt
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Re: My theory about FIRE

Post by EnjoyIt » Tue Apr 14, 2020 3:38 am

FishTaco wrote:
Tue Apr 14, 2020 3:26 am
DonIce wrote:
Tue Apr 14, 2020 1:33 am

But the part I don't get is all the promising smart people (which you have to be to be able to attain FI early) that go into careers that they hate and suffer through them for a decade or two, so they can "retire early" to do something else (that's still productive). It just makes no sense to me at all. Why waste ones 20s and 30s doing something you hate so you can FIRE at ~40 (if all goes according to plan, no guarantee)?
..........
Hardly. People are different. Some people love technical/mathematical subjects, and want to be engineers/mathematicians/computer scientists. Other people hate that kind of work. Some people love helping others through medicine, psychology, etc. Others hate that kind of work. Some people want to produce art, others would hate to do that. Some people love business, trade, negotiation, and others hate it. Some people enjoy being an entrepreneur and starting a company, others hate it. Same goes for hands on trades, restaurant business, etc etc etc.
.........
People should introspect a little deeper to figure out what they want to do. By their early 20s, which is generally when the choice has to be made, people should have a decent understanding of themselves if they've spent any time seriously thinking about it.
In an effort to help you understand a different view:

I think you are downplaying the degree which your work environment and politics come into the decision to pursue FIRE and are rather focusing on the choice of training one has undertaken to achieve their position.

I work a lot with young physicians, and many of them are very interested in FIRE. Many of them are incredibly smart and hardworking, but I think a lot of them become very disillusioned with what the practice of medicine has become. I don't know of any that picked medicine because they planned to pursue FI, but rather, they decided to pursue FI when they see how dysfunctional the practice can be. And a lot of these things just can't be fully appreciated until you have immersed yourself in the field. So I actually see it the other way around- I think that if you happen to go into medicine and are smart, you figure out quickly how to put yourself in a position that will allow you practice on your own terms rather than being trapped in the field.
I am a physician and FI (more or less.) I am also semi-retired because of exactly what you said above. Now I still practice medicine but I work a whole lot less and I’m not too worried about how much money I make in the process. If the BS of medicine becomes more overwhelming I will quite altogether and become a ski instructor or a comedian.
A time to EVALUATE your jitters. | https://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=79939&start=400#p5275418

DonIce
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Re: My theory about FIRE

Post by DonIce » Tue Apr 14, 2020 3:42 am

FishTaco wrote:
Tue Apr 14, 2020 3:26 am
In an effort to help you understand a different view:

I think you are downplaying the degree which your work environment and politics come into the decision to pursue FIRE and are rather focusing on the choice of training one has undertaken to achieve their position.

I work a lot with young physicians, and many of them are very interested in FIRE. Many of them are incredibly smart and hardworking, but I think a lot of them become very disillusioned with what the practice of medicine has become. I don't know of any that picked medicine because they planned to pursue FI, but rather, they decided to pursue FI when they see how dysfunctional the practice can be. And a lot of these things just can't be fully appreciated until you have immersed yourself in the field. So I actually see it the other way around- I think that if you happen to go into medicine and are smart, you figure out quickly how to put yourself in a position that will allow you practice on your own terms rather than being trapped in the field.
I agree with all that. And practicing medicine on your own terms is still practicing medicine. I wouldn't really describe that as switching out of the field. Same would be true for lawyers that switch to doing work on their own terms for causes they care about or whatever. What I was talking about is people that switch from a professional career to some kind of mostly unrelated work path. To which I'll say again, if they wanted that other work path, why not start with it to begin with.

Like I said, I agree with the FI part, and am working towards that part of it myself. The RE part can make sense too, if one truly wants to retire and live a life of mostly leisure. But "retiring" just to work in some field unrelated to your education/experience that pays much lower but supposedly brings you more fulfillment... that part I don't understand. Go to that field to begin with!

How many of your young doctors want to reach FI in their 30s/40s, stop practicing medicine entirely, and become carpenters, waiters, DJs, or bloggers? And yet I see people on FIRE forums talk about that kind of stuff. Quit their professional job and go be a part time waiter or cashier. Really? That's what they want to do with their life?

Wanderingwheelz
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Re: My theory about FIRE

Post by Wanderingwheelz » Tue Apr 14, 2020 4:27 am

HomerJ wrote:
Tue Apr 14, 2020 1:08 am
Wanderingwheelz wrote:
Mon Apr 13, 2020 8:53 pm
I’m not satisfied with being relatively okay. That may be financially independent, but to me that sounds like a place from where a lot can go wrong. That would worry me. But we are all wired differently, and I respect other people’s points of view.
No, it's not about starting from "relatively okay" for all of us (although many FIRE people do seem to cut it close)

Me, I like being a position where that's my very probable worst case.

I'm more than okay now... I don't want to lose my job or watch my stock portfolio drop 80% and take 20 years to recover.

But even if it happened, my family would stay warm, fed, and dry.

That IS comforting. My worst (financial) case is still "okay".
If your “stock portfolio” dropped 80% you should have had someone else choosing the stocks.

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Re: My theory about FIRE

Post by FishTaco » Tue Apr 14, 2020 4:37 am

DonIce wrote:
Tue Apr 14, 2020 3:42 am
I agree with all that. And practicing medicine on your own terms is still practicing medicine. I wouldn't really describe that as switching out of the field. Same would be true for lawyers that switch to doing work on their own terms for causes they care about or whatever. What I was talking about is people that switch from a professional career to some kind of mostly unrelated work path. To which I'll say again, if they wanted that other work path, why not start with it to begin with.

Like I said, I agree with the FI part, and am working towards that part of it myself. The RE part can make sense too, if one truly wants to retire and live a life of mostly leisure. But "retiring" just to work in some field unrelated to your education/experience that pays much lower but supposedly brings you more fulfillment... that part I don't understand. Go to that field to begin with!

How many of your young doctors want to reach FI in their 30s/40s, stop practicing medicine entirely, and become carpenters, waiters, DJs, or bloggers? And yet I see people on FIRE forums talk about that kind of stuff. Quit their professional job and go be a part time waiter or cashier. Really? That's what they want to do with their life?
Ah- I didn't realize you were talking about a second career. Although I'd say it makes sense if you're talking about going from a high-stress position to becoming a ski-patrol or some other cool job. I think what you're talking about is a subset of FIRE that they call barista FIRE or something like that. That's something that people do when they burn out hard. Rather than save up enough money to be completely FI, they make it almost all the way before giving up and supplement their savings with some menial, less taxing form of income.

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Re: My theory about FIRE

Post by Yukon » Tue Apr 14, 2020 4:41 am

DonIce wrote:
Tue Apr 14, 2020 3:42 am

I agree with all that. And practicing medicine on your own terms is still practicing medicine. I wouldn't really describe that as switching out of the field. Same would be true for lawyers that switch to doing work on their own terms for causes they care about or whatever. What I was talking about is people that switch from a professional career to some kind of mostly unrelated work path. To which I'll say again, if they wanted that other work path, why not start with it to begin with.
Because the other path doesn't pay 150k in professional school debt? There's also the mental inability to consider the time and money spent on a professional education is a sunk cost. People can't walk away from something they spent 150k and 5 or 8 years of their life preparing for,etc....
Don't Work Forever.

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Re: My theory about FIRE

Post by rivendell » Tue Apr 14, 2020 6:56 am

I still work even though I am FI and at an age where people sometimes retire. Being FI gives you a feeling of more control and power over your life. You are choosing to still work and could choose not to if conditions changed to not work. It has definitely been worth enduring some delayed gratification along the way.
“On a long enough time line, the survival rate for everyone drops to zero.” | ― Chuck Palahniuk

Wanderingwheelz
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Re: My theory about FIRE

Post by Wanderingwheelz » Tue Apr 14, 2020 7:42 am

FishTaco wrote:
Tue Apr 14, 2020 4:37 am
DonIce wrote:
Tue Apr 14, 2020 3:42 am
I agree with all that. And practicing medicine on your own terms is still practicing medicine. I wouldn't really describe that as switching out of the field. Same would be true for lawyers that switch to doing work on their own terms for causes they care about or whatever. What I was talking about is people that switch from a professional career to some kind of mostly unrelated work path. To which I'll say again, if they wanted that other work path, why not start with it to begin with.

Like I said, I agree with the FI part, and am working towards that part of it myself. The RE part can make sense too, if one truly wants to retire and live a life of mostly leisure. But "retiring" just to work in some field unrelated to your education/experience that pays much lower but supposedly brings you more fulfillment... that part I don't understand. Go to that field to begin with!

How many of your young doctors want to reach FI in their 30s/40s, stop practicing medicine entirely, and become carpenters, waiters, DJs, or bloggers? And yet I see people on FIRE forums talk about that kind of stuff. Quit their professional job and go be a part time waiter or cashier. Really? That's what they want to do with their life?
Ah- I didn't realize you were talking about a second career. Although I'd say it makes sense if you're talking about going from a high-stress position to becoming a ski-patrol or some other cool job. I think what you're talking about is a subset of FIRE that they call barista FIRE or something like that. That's something that people do when they burn out hard. Rather than save up enough money to be completely FI, they make it almost all the way before giving up and supplement their savings with some menial, less taxing form of income.
Less “taxing” form of income. Double entendres

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Re: My theory about FIRE

Post by Top99% » Tue Apr 14, 2020 8:02 am

bampf wrote:
Mon Apr 13, 2020 7:48 pm

Freedom. Maybe it needs to be FIFE (Financial Independence, Freedom Early). Regardless, a worthy goal.
FIFE. I like that. To me there were a couple of stages of FIFE. Stage 1: We could cover our needs and most of our wants with McJob level income and Stage 2: We could cover our needs and most of our wants with just our nest egg. When we reached Stage 1 I slept much better at night and enjoyed my job more knowing I could walk out the door any time I wanted.
Adapt or perish

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Re: My theory about FIRE

Post by scrabbler1 » Tue Apr 14, 2020 8:05 am

I retired 11 years ago at age 45. For me, it was the commute I couldn't stand, and after 16 years of working FT I was able to "semi-retire" and work part-time, mostly telecommuting. That was back in 2001, 3 years after I had paid off the mortgage and greatly reduced my expenses. That arrangement allowed me to regain control over my personal life and enjoy it again.

But after 27 months of that good deal, the company ended the telecommuting. I could still work PT but saw some of the horrors of the commute return (3 days a week). In 2007, I reduced the commute to 2 days before full FIRE-ing in late 2008. I had to eliminate the commute, so I ramped up my FIRE plan in 2007-08. Just eliminating a huge negative part of my life was itself a huge positive. My personal life, already improved since 2001, was still good although it was becoming tougher and tougher to juggle my weekday activities with my limited work schedule.

I always chuckle whenever I read about someone (usually a man) who claims to have FIREd but has a working spouse (usually a woman) who provides some vital financial upkeep to the family, especially the spouse's health insurance. To me, that man is simply a stay-at-home-dad, someone I would not consider FIREd, any more than a mom who stays at home to take care of the kids while not working. Or, to reduce expenses, they move in with their parents. There was that couple, the man wrote a book, there was a video on YouTube, about how they allegedly FIREd. Gave me a good laugh.

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Re: My theory about FIRE

Post by lostdog » Tue Apr 14, 2020 8:34 am

The only revenge you can get on your bad boss and bad employer is final independence.

Financial independence is the best revenge.


RE is optional.
Global Market Cap Equity/1 Year Cash/Short Bonds || 25x Expenses

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Re: My theory about FIRE

Post by JupiterJones » Tue Apr 14, 2020 8:50 am

restingonmylaurels wrote:
Tue Apr 14, 2020 12:27 am
bampf wrote:
Mon Apr 13, 2020 7:48 pm
Maybe it needs to be FIFE (Financial Independence, Freedom Early). Regardless, a worthy goal.
I think Financial Independence, Retire Early (FIRE) should be renamed to Financial Independence, Pursue Alternatives (FIPA).
LittleGreenSoldiers wrote:
Tue Apr 14, 2020 12:41 am
I've always thought it should be FIRO.
Financially Independent. Retirement Optional. After all. That really is what being financially independent is.
I've been shooting for FIDWIP: "Financially Independent, Doing What I Please"

Pronounced like it's spelled. :beer
Stay on target...

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Re: My theory about FIRE

Post by BW1985 » Tue Apr 14, 2020 9:31 am

FIRE can mean different things to different people, there's no requirement that you retire in the traditional sense of the word and move to Florida or something. People get hung up on this.

To me FIRE means I have the choice to hop out of the rat race when ever I want, and if I choose to still work the compensation no longer needs to be a top consideration. Right now I live in a different state then my family because of compensation.
Chase the good life my whole life long, look back on my life and my life gone...where did I go wrong?

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Re: My theory about FIRE

Post by meowcat » Tue Apr 14, 2020 12:19 pm

BW1985 wrote:
Tue Apr 14, 2020 9:31 am
FIRE can mean different things to different people, there's no requirement that you retire in the traditional sense of the word and move to Florida or something. People get hung up on this.

To me FIRE means I have the choice to hop out of the rat race when ever I want, and if I choose to still work the compensation no longer needs to be a top consideration. Right now I live in a different state then my family because of compensation.
This is it, exactly. I don't equate the term "retirement" the same way many of you do. I believe if you quit your job because you're FI, but take up a more relaxing, rewarding type of work, yet still collect a paycheck, you're not retired. It doesn't matter how much you love your FI work, if you're getting paid to do a job, you are not retired. In a nutshell, MMM is definitely not retired, never has been. He has always worked for money. So that's how I define it. If you work for money, you're not retired. That's my perspective.
More people should learn to tell their dollars where to go instead of asking them where they went. | -Roger Babson

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Re: My theory about FIRE

Post by supersecretname » Tue Apr 14, 2020 12:26 pm

obligatory internet retirement police link

https://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2013/02 ... nt-police/

EFF_fan81
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Re: My theory about FIRE

Post by EFF_fan81 » Tue Apr 14, 2020 1:20 pm

FishTaco wrote:
Tue Apr 14, 2020 3:26 am
DonIce wrote:
Tue Apr 14, 2020 1:33 am

But the part I don't get is all the promising smart people (which you have to be to be able to attain FI early) that go into careers that they hate and suffer through them for a decade or two, so they can "retire early" to do something else (that's still productive). It just makes no sense to me at all. Why waste ones 20s and 30s doing something you hate so you can FIRE at ~40 (if all goes according to plan, no guarantee)?
..........
Hardly. People are different. Some people love technical/mathematical subjects, and want to be engineers/mathematicians/computer scientists. Other people hate that kind of work. Some people love helping others through medicine, psychology, etc. Others hate that kind of work. Some people want to produce art, others would hate to do that. Some people love business, trade, negotiation, and others hate it. Some people enjoy being an entrepreneur and starting a company, others hate it. Same goes for hands on trades, restaurant business, etc etc etc.
.........
People should introspect a little deeper to figure out what they want to do. By their early 20s, which is generally when the choice has to be made, people should have a decent understanding of themselves if they've spent any time seriously thinking about it.
In an effort to help you understand a different view:

I think you are downplaying the degree which your work environment and politics come into the decision to pursue FIRE and are rather focusing on the choice of training one has undertaken to achieve their position.

I work a lot with young physicians, and many of them are very interested in FIRE. Many of them are incredibly smart and hardworking, but I think a lot of them become very disillusioned with what the practice of medicine has become. I don't know of any that picked medicine because they planned to pursue FI, but rather, they decided to pursue FI when they see how dysfunctional the practice can be. And a lot of these things just can't be fully appreciated until you have immersed yourself in the field. So I actually see it the other way around- I think that if you happen to go into medicine and are smart, you figure out quickly how to put yourself in a position that will allow you practice on your own terms rather than being trapped in the field.
Well put. I am a lawyer and feel the same way. It is not that I want to quit and never earn a single penny ever again. It is also not that I want to stop using my previous skills completely. It is that as time goes on, I want to increasingly do it on my own terms.

I started my career at a large firm. Then I switched to a smaller firm. Then I switched in-house. Each time I have gotten more autonomy. My quality of life changed accordingly from abysmal to tolerable to reasonably pleasant. Now I mostly enjoy what I do and my colleagues and my biggest complain is corporate BS and politics. (The way to advance where I work is to be friends with the executive director -- quality of work is by far a secondary factor). So the next step will be to try to minimize that too. The ultimate autonomy will be running my own successful solo or very small firm practice with clients of my own choosing after obtaining financial independence (or just getting close enough and rolling the dice). The goal is not to sit on my front porch for an additional 20 years but to make sure I never again feel trapped into doing something that makes me miserable or to work with people who don't respect my contributions. For any amount of money.

I suppose one can just quit without savings and due that anyways, and many people do that. But it is hard to walk away from a high paying career, and many of us are too cautious (or maybe prudent) to do that. So we develop plans. FIRE is a method to use discipline and intelligence to have our cake and eat it too.

DonIce
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Re: My theory about FIRE

Post by DonIce » Tue Apr 14, 2020 1:44 pm

EFF_fan81 wrote:
Tue Apr 14, 2020 1:20 pm
FishTaco wrote:
Tue Apr 14, 2020 3:26 am
DonIce wrote:
Tue Apr 14, 2020 1:33 am

But the part I don't get is all the promising smart people (which you have to be to be able to attain FI early) that go into careers that they hate and suffer through them for a decade or two, so they can "retire early" to do something else (that's still productive). It just makes no sense to me at all. Why waste ones 20s and 30s doing something you hate so you can FIRE at ~40 (if all goes according to plan, no guarantee)?
..........
Hardly. People are different. Some people love technical/mathematical subjects, and want to be engineers/mathematicians/computer scientists. Other people hate that kind of work. Some people love helping others through medicine, psychology, etc. Others hate that kind of work. Some people want to produce art, others would hate to do that. Some people love business, trade, negotiation, and others hate it. Some people enjoy being an entrepreneur and starting a company, others hate it. Same goes for hands on trades, restaurant business, etc etc etc.
.........
People should introspect a little deeper to figure out what they want to do. By their early 20s, which is generally when the choice has to be made, people should have a decent understanding of themselves if they've spent any time seriously thinking about it.
In an effort to help you understand a different view:

I think you are downplaying the degree which your work environment and politics come into the decision to pursue FIRE and are rather focusing on the choice of training one has undertaken to achieve their position.

I work a lot with young physicians, and many of them are very interested in FIRE. Many of them are incredibly smart and hardworking, but I think a lot of them become very disillusioned with what the practice of medicine has become. I don't know of any that picked medicine because they planned to pursue FI, but rather, they decided to pursue FI when they see how dysfunctional the practice can be. And a lot of these things just can't be fully appreciated until you have immersed yourself in the field. So I actually see it the other way around- I think that if you happen to go into medicine and are smart, you figure out quickly how to put yourself in a position that will allow you practice on your own terms rather than being trapped in the field.
Well put. I am a lawyer and feel the same way. It is not that I want to quit and never earn a single penny ever again. It is also not that I want to stop using my previous skills completely. It is that as time goes on, I want to increasingly do it on my own terms.

I started my career at a large firm. Then I switched to a smaller firm. Then I switched in-house. Each time I have gotten more autonomy. My quality of life changed accordingly from abysmal to tolerable to reasonably pleasant. Now I mostly enjoy what I do and my colleagues and my biggest complain is corporate BS and politics. (The way to advance where I work is to be friends with the executive director -- quality of work is by far a secondary factor). So the next step will be to try to minimize that too. The ultimate autonomy will be running my own successful solo or very small firm practice with clients of my own choosing after obtaining financial independence (or just getting close enough and rolling the dice). The goal is not to sit on my front porch for an additional 20 years but to make sure I never again feel trapped into doing something that makes me miserable or to work with people who don't respect my contributions. For any amount of money.

I suppose one can just quit without savings and due that anyways, and many people do that. But it is hard to walk away from a high paying career, and many of us are too cautious (or maybe prudent) to do that. So we develop plans. FIRE is a method to use discipline and intelligence to have our cake and eat it too.
You're talking about going from a starting lawyer that's a small cog in a large machine, to an independent lawyer with their own firm and clients. This is literally career progression, almost the exact opposite of retire early. And very traditional career progression at that. Lawyers have been following this exact same track literally for centuries.

This thread has taught me that FIRE just means career progression and gaining more responsibility and autonomy, at least here at bogleheads.

BW1985
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Re: My theory about FIRE

Post by BW1985 » Tue Apr 14, 2020 1:49 pm

DonIce wrote:
Tue Apr 14, 2020 1:44 pm
This thread has taught me that FIRE just means career progression and gaining more responsibility and autonomy, at least here at bogleheads.
Nope, doesn't mean that to me at all and I heavily drink the FIRE kool-aid.

Per my post above, its meaning will be personalized based on one's desired lifestyle with regards to work.
Last edited by BW1985 on Tue Apr 14, 2020 2:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Chase the good life my whole life long, look back on my life and my life gone...where did I go wrong?

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Re: My theory about FIRE

Post by HomerJ » Tue Apr 14, 2020 1:52 pm

Wanderingwheelz wrote:
Tue Apr 14, 2020 4:27 am
HomerJ wrote:
Tue Apr 14, 2020 1:08 am
Wanderingwheelz wrote:
Mon Apr 13, 2020 8:53 pm
I’m not satisfied with being relatively okay. That may be financially independent, but to me that sounds like a place from where a lot can go wrong. That would worry me. But we are all wired differently, and I respect other people’s points of view.
No, it's not about starting from "relatively okay" for all of us (although many FIRE people do seem to cut it close)

Me, I like being a position where that's my very probable worst case.

I'm more than okay now... I don't want to lose my job or watch my stock portfolio drop 80% and take 20 years to recover.

But even if it happened, my family would stay warm, fed, and dry.

That IS comforting. My worst (financial) case is still "okay".
If your “stock portfolio” dropped 80% you should have had someone else choosing the stocks.
Total Stock Market Index Fund.. sorry I wasn't clear... And I don't expect it to drop 80%, but even if it did, and never came back... I'd still be "comfortable okay".

So that lets me sleep at night, financially... because even if that really bad case happened, I'd still be okay.

That's not my GOAL to be just okay, just like it's not YOUR goal to just be okay...

That's my worst case... and I don't know why it's so hard to explain that "ok" as your worst case is pretty nice.
A Goldman Sachs associate provided a variety of detailed explanations, but then offered a caveat, “If I’m being dead-### honest, though, nobody knows what’s really going on.”

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Re: My theory about FIRE

Post by DonIce » Tue Apr 14, 2020 2:24 pm

BW1985 wrote:
Tue Apr 14, 2020 1:49 pm
DonIce wrote:
Tue Apr 14, 2020 1:44 pm
This thread has taught me that FIRE just means career progression and gaining more responsibility and autonomy, at least here at bogleheads.
Nope, doesn't mean that to me at all and I heavily drink the FIRE kool-aid.

Per my post above, its meaning will be personalized based on one's desired lifestyle with regards to work.
I'm sticking to my guns. Everyone in this thread that has talked about "FIRE" has described career progression, not early retirement.

If people want to call taking on more responsibilities "early retirement" so they can fit in with the cool fire kids, then sure, whatever.

I'm early retired too cause I went from "engineer" to "senior engineer" so I do less of the grunt technical work and more of the higher level problem solving.

BW1985
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Re: My theory about FIRE

Post by BW1985 » Tue Apr 14, 2020 2:36 pm

DonIce wrote:
Tue Apr 14, 2020 2:24 pm
BW1985 wrote:
Tue Apr 14, 2020 1:49 pm
DonIce wrote:
Tue Apr 14, 2020 1:44 pm
This thread has taught me that FIRE just means career progression and gaining more responsibility and autonomy, at least here at bogleheads.
Nope, doesn't mean that to me at all and I heavily drink the FIRE kool-aid.

Per my post above, its meaning will be personalized based on one's desired lifestyle with regards to work.
I'm sticking to my guns. Everyone in this thread that has talked about "FIRE" has described career progression, not early retirement.

If people want to call taking on more responsibilities "early retirement" so they can fit in with the cool fire kids, then sure, whatever.

I'm early retired too cause I went from "engineer" to "senior engineer" so I do less of the grunt technical work and more of the higher level problem solving.
Maybe that's what it means to some folks at Bogleheads, but if you go to websites actually dedicated to FIRE it's a very different picture.

Also LOL @ you being retired early because you got a promotion.
Chase the good life my whole life long, look back on my life and my life gone...where did I go wrong?

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Re: My theory about FIRE

Post by Helo80 » Tue Apr 14, 2020 2:49 pm

HenryPorter wrote:
Mon Apr 13, 2020 8:15 pm
John Goodman summarized it well in 'The Gambler' [ note: NSFW reference]

WARNING NSFW for crude language: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eikbQPldhPY

JL Collins did a parody of it with his own humor.... FIRE and the [(removed) --admin LadyGeek] money have a lot of overlap IMHO.

The only point I disagree with is the econobox car part. I get it that Corollas are dirt-cheap and extremely reliable, but I hate the idea of driving around in them for fear of being T-boned. You can buy more metal (e.g. Highlander or RX), and while the upfront cost is more, I think the safety and peace of mind are more worth it.

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Re: My theory about FIRE

Post by Helo80 » Tue Apr 14, 2020 2:55 pm

Planner01 wrote:
Mon Apr 13, 2020 7:40 pm
Essentially, the more you hate your day job the harder you are after FIRE. Which I can completely understand. It’s maybe the high paying job that covers the bills, healthcare, etc...

Yup --- I agree with that as well, though even if you love your job.... FI and then RE means that should the economy do something like it's doing now, or you get laid off or something, you don't care.

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Re: My theory about FIRE

Post by surfstar » Tue Apr 14, 2020 2:56 pm

Planner01 wrote:
Mon Apr 13, 2020 7:40 pm
Let me just start by saying that I have nothing against about FIRE. In fact, I think it’s great because it gets people moving in the right direction, instead of looking at a mountain of debt and a hopeless future.

I think the idea of FIRE is misunderstood, specifically the retire part. Most people that are “young enough” and achieve financial independence do not retire. They just end up doing something different while pursuing their passion. So in the end, they don’t want to retire. They just want to FIRE because they don’t want THAT job... you know, the one where they feel trapped and don’t enjoy. I bet people that are happy and fill fulfilled in their jobs are not pursuing FIRE.

Essentially, the more you hate your day job the harder you are after FIRE. Which I can completely understand. It’s maybe the high paying job that covers the bills, healthcare, etc...
...almost right.

We want to FIRE b/c we hate ANY JOB.
I have much better things to do (very limited right now, though) than work. Your lifetime is finite. Why work any longer than you have to?

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Re: My theory about FIRE

Post by EnjoyIt » Tue Apr 14, 2020 2:59 pm

meowcat wrote:
Tue Apr 14, 2020 12:19 pm
BW1985 wrote:
Tue Apr 14, 2020 9:31 am
FIRE can mean different things to different people, there's no requirement that you retire in the traditional sense of the word and move to Florida or something. People get hung up on this.

To me FIRE means I have the choice to hop out of the rat race when ever I want, and if I choose to still work the compensation no longer needs to be a top consideration. Right now I live in a different state then my family because of compensation.
This is it, exactly. I don't equate the term "retirement" the same way many of you do. I believe if you quit your job because you're FI, but take up a more relaxing, rewarding type of work, yet still collect a paycheck, you're not retired. It doesn't matter how much you love your FI work, if you're getting paid to do a job, you are not retired. In a nutshell, MMM is definitely not retired, never has been. He has always worked for money. So that's how I define it. If you work for money, you're not retired. That's my perspective.
Is there a gray area for you?

For example, my father is retired at 78. Every now and then one of his old clients asks for help and pays him for it. It usually ends up being maybe 20-40 hours of work spanning a few weeks. It happens maybe 1-3 times a year. He doesn't need the money, but he like being needed and happily takes on the job and the money. Is he retired and then comes out of retirement 1-3 times a year?

I have another friend who loves motorcycles. He has a hobby where he buys an older bike, fixes it up, rides it for a year, and then eventually finds another project bike to work on. Fixes up the new bike and then sells his older bike since now he has a new toy. He always makes a profit on the sale. Is this person retired or is their hobby a job because he gets makes a profit. What if the same scenario but he broke even?

What about my friend's father who says he retired in his 40s. He built up a portfolio of stocks that he actively managed. This was 30 years ago, what he would do is buy a stock, wait till it went up a few thousand and sell it. He did this multiple times a year which would provide enough money for their lifestyle. Since he actively managed his portfolio, was he retired?

There is a gray area between retirement and employment. This gray area gets very contentious when discussing it on forums such as these because not everyone agrees what the gray area is. Some people believe retired means absolutely no income and that person must sit on the beach rotting away. While others will call a hobby that happens to make a few bucks here and there retirement. These people will never agree.
A time to EVALUATE your jitters. | https://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=79939&start=400#p5275418

BW1985
Posts: 2046
Joined: Tue Mar 23, 2010 6:12 pm

Re: My theory about FIRE

Post by BW1985 » Tue Apr 14, 2020 3:10 pm

EnjoyIt wrote:
Tue Apr 14, 2020 2:59 pm
There is a gray area between retirement and employment. This gray area gets very contentious when discussing it on forums such as these because not everyone agrees what the gray area is. Some people believe retired means absolutely no income and that person must sit on the beach rotting away. While others will call a hobby that happens to make a few bucks here and there retirement. These people will never agree.
+1. I don't even think it's worth discussion, it's like the endless threads debating US only or International in equity portfolio. People aren't changing their minds.
Chase the good life my whole life long, look back on my life and my life gone...where did I go wrong?

JackoC
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Re: My theory about FIRE

Post by JackoC » Tue Apr 14, 2020 3:15 pm

scrabbler1 wrote:
Tue Apr 14, 2020 8:05 am
1. I retired 11 years ago at age 45. For me, it was the commute I couldn't stand, and after 16 years of working FT I was able to "semi-retire" and work part-time, mostly telecommuting. That was back in 2001, 3 years after I had paid off the mortgage and greatly reduced my expenses. That arrangement allowed me to regain control over my personal life and enjoy it again.

2. I always chuckle whenever I read about someone (usually a man) who claims to have FIREd but has a working spouse (usually a woman) who provides some vital financial upkeep to the family, especially the spouse's health insurance. To me, that man is simply a stay-at-home-dad, someone I would not consider FIREd, any more than a mom who stays at home to take care of the kids while not working. Or, to reduce expenses, they move in with their parents. There was that couple, the man wrote a book, there was a video on YouTube, about how they allegedly FIREd. Gave me a good laugh.
1. I did in similar age range. To me I've been essentially retired for a long time. Although I'll tell people who 'need' to know 'what do you do?' that I manage our rental properties, trade on my own or write for publication, there being some truth to all three. But in total it's very far from the hours I used to work. I've come more out in the open about it now that I'm at an age where a fair proportion of other people are retired.

2. In fairness to others given 1. I don't rake real people not fully engaged in the workforce over the coals about 'what they do'. But as to people on the internet, I'm also struck by how a lot of 'movement' FIRE people seem like you say to actually be househusbands/SAHD's, monetizers of internet sites, or people who used to work in IT (seems disproportionate) but are now part time manual tradespeople. All of which is fine with me, but they are less 'retired' than I am. They just over-embrace that title where I've under-embraced it. Also, some 'movement' FIRE'ers add the feature of doing it on a relative shoestring including taxpayer support. Not judging the latter either, but combining obvious aspects of our life style with 'retired' and our age (at least at one time) would indicate we have pretty much money (though probably not give a good clue to the actual number). That can be dangerous, well beyond just social awkwardness.

DaftInvestor
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Re: My theory about FIRE

Post by DaftInvestor » Tue Apr 14, 2020 3:20 pm

Having had a best friend die young; and another whose wife died young and regretted not spending more time with her - I never wanted to fully sacrifice living now for FIRE. Also - once I had kids my goals included getting them through college so college savings and getting children launched was a goal larger to me than FIRE. I also have always had charities and other considerations that have been part of the equation versus simply getting to FIRE.
I think many here can "live nicely now" while also striving to FIRE early - but I have seen some of the extreme measures people on sites like MMM go through and think "why do you want to live that way? Its worse to live that way than it is to work your entire life - in my opinion".
Maybe I have been lucky as well in that I don't hate my job.

So in summary: Providing a comfortable living for my family, myself, and getting the kids set-up was always more important than FIRE for me.

(edit add: In before some contentious discussions starts and this non-actionable thread gets locked).

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meowcat
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Re: My theory about FIRE

Post by meowcat » Tue Apr 14, 2020 3:27 pm

EnjoyIt wrote:
Tue Apr 14, 2020 2:59 pm
meowcat wrote:
Tue Apr 14, 2020 12:19 pm
BW1985 wrote:
Tue Apr 14, 2020 9:31 am
FIRE can mean different things to different people, there's no requirement that you retire in the traditional sense of the word and move to Florida or something. People get hung up on this.

To me FIRE means I have the choice to hop out of the rat race when ever I want, and if I choose to still work the compensation no longer needs to be a top consideration. Right now I live in a different state then my family because of compensation.
This is it, exactly. I don't equate the term "retirement" the same way many of you do. I believe if you quit your job because you're FI, but take up a more relaxing, rewarding type of work, yet still collect a paycheck, you're not retired. It doesn't matter how much you love your FI work, if you're getting paid to do a job, you are not retired. In a nutshell, MMM is definitely not retired, never has been. He has always worked for money. So that's how I define it. If you work for money, you're not retired. That's my perspective.
Is there a gray area for you?

For example, my father is retired at 78. Every now and then one of his old clients asks for help and pays him for it. It usually ends up being maybe 20-40 hours of work spanning a few weeks. It happens maybe 1-3 times a year. He doesn't need the money, but he like being needed and happily takes on the job and the money. Is he retired and then comes out of retirement 1-3 times a year?

I have another friend who loves motorcycles. He has a hobby where he buys an older bike, fixes it up, rides it for a year, and then eventually finds another project bike to work on. Fixes up the new bike and then sells his older bike since now he has a new toy. He always makes a profit on the sale. Is this person retired or is their hobby a job because he gets makes a profit. What if the same scenario but he broke even?

What about my friend's father who says he retired in his 40s. He built up a portfolio of stocks that he actively managed. This was 30 years ago, what he would do is buy a stock, wait till it went up a few thousand and sell it. He did this multiple times a year which would provide enough money for their lifestyle. Since he actively managed his portfolio, was he retired?

There is a gray area between retirement and employment. This gray area gets very contentious when discussing it on forums such as these because not everyone agrees what the gray area is. Some people believe retired means absolutely no income and that person must sit on the beach rotting away. While others will call a hobby that happens to make a few bucks here and there retirement. These people will never agree.
Point taken. The point is, the definition is different for everybody.
More people should learn to tell their dollars where to go instead of asking them where they went. | -Roger Babson

michaeljc70
Posts: 6709
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Re: My theory about FIRE

Post by michaeljc70 » Tue Apr 14, 2020 3:29 pm

HomerJ wrote:
Tue Apr 14, 2020 1:08 am
Wanderingwheelz wrote:
Mon Apr 13, 2020 8:53 pm
I’m not satisfied with being relatively okay. That may be financially independent, but to me that sounds like a place from where a lot can go wrong. That would worry me. But we are all wired differently, and I respect other people’s points of view.
No, it's not about starting from "relatively okay" for all of us (although many FIRE people do seem to cut it close)

Me, I like being a position where that's my very probable worst case.

I'm more than okay now... I don't want to lose my job or watch my stock portfolio drop 80% and take 20 years to recover.

But even if it happened, my family would stay warm, fed, and dry.

That IS comforting. My worst (financial) case is still "okay".
If you hate your job/field and have made reasonable attempts to change it most people aren't going to work to cover every remote terrible financial situation that probably won't happen. I'd rather take the chance that some black swan event might happen and I may be miserable than staying working where I know I will be miserable.

visualguy
Posts: 1947
Joined: Thu Jan 30, 2014 1:32 am

Re: My theory about FIRE

Post by visualguy » Tue Apr 14, 2020 3:42 pm

surfstar wrote:
Tue Apr 14, 2020 2:56 pm
Planner01 wrote:
Mon Apr 13, 2020 7:40 pm
Let me just start by saying that I have nothing against about FIRE. In fact, I think it’s great because it gets people moving in the right direction, instead of looking at a mountain of debt and a hopeless future.

I think the idea of FIRE is misunderstood, specifically the retire part. Most people that are “young enough” and achieve financial independence do not retire. They just end up doing something different while pursuing their passion. So in the end, they don’t want to retire. They just want to FIRE because they don’t want THAT job... you know, the one where they feel trapped and don’t enjoy. I bet people that are happy and fill fulfilled in their jobs are not pursuing FIRE.

Essentially, the more you hate your day job the harder you are after FIRE. Which I can completely understand. It’s maybe the high paying job that covers the bills, healthcare, etc...
...almost right.

We want to FIRE b/c we hate ANY JOB.
I have much better things to do (very limited right now, though) than work. Your lifetime is finite. Why work any longer than you have to?
It's typically a combination of not really having "much better things to do", and benefiting from the extra money even if not necessary.

For example, I can think of better things to do for maybe at most 3-4 years, but what then? How do I stay engaged with the world, achieve some sense of satisfaction and achievement, have the opportunity connect with a variety of people? Work gives me those things; retirement takes them away. It also takes away the extra money that could benefit me or my family.

People mention volunteering as the solution, and that's ok, but that's basically continuing to work, only without pay. Fine, but if you can continue to work doing what you were actually trained for, and get paid, why not prefer that? For anyone who has a job that's a good fit for them, and that they like reasonably well, not sure what the attraction is with retirement. If your job/career doesn't agree with you, it's a different situation, of course, although being FI makes it a lot easier to ignore annoying things at work.

EnjoyIt
Posts: 4191
Joined: Sun Dec 29, 2013 8:06 pm

Re: My theory about FIRE

Post by EnjoyIt » Tue Apr 14, 2020 4:10 pm

visualguy wrote:
Tue Apr 14, 2020 3:42 pm

.....

People mention volunteering as the solution, and that's ok, but that's basically continuing to work, only without pay. Fine, but if you can continue to work doing what you were actually trained for, and get paid, why not prefer that? For anyone who has a job that's a good fit for them, and that they like reasonably well, not sure what the attraction is with retirement. If your job/career doesn't agree with you, it's a different situation, of course, although being FI makes it a lot easier to ignore annoying things at work.
I can attest to that. I like what I do, I just like it so much more when I do it part time and have plenty of time to do other things in my life. I feel I am lucky where I found something I like (although a bit tougher to do today because of COVID) and can do it part time. But just because I like it does not mean I want to do it 40 hours a week every week. If I did not have the option of working part time I would probably quite completely because I have so many better things I want to do with my time.

The key about all of this is early financial independence which offers me the above option.
A time to EVALUATE your jitters. | https://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=79939&start=400#p5275418

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