If you're FI, or close to FI, are still fighting to climb the Corp. Ladder?

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investingdad
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If you're FI, or close to FI, are still fighting to climb the Corp. Ladder?

Post by investingdad » Thu Sep 13, 2018 9:25 am

I'm curious if folks that are FI, or close to it, and who have fought to climb a corporate ladder have found their desire waning.

I'm in my mid 40s and this is probably prime promotion and climbing years. But given our financial situation, I don't see the point. I enjoy working and what I do, but I think I've outgrown the petty politics and crazy work weeks that I see in those my age and a bit younger that are fighting to get a bigger piece of the pie by pushing for higher tier roles.

I think our early discipline may have exempted us from this ridiculousness. You hear about the cliche of people getting a big promotion and buying luxury cars, but we got quite a few folks here that do this. They are all in on the whole thing.

If I bump savings by another 100k a year in FIREcalc, I only gain about 18 months in my time to full FI. For my wife or I to have had a role by now that adds that much income we'd have to have been pedal to the metal every day for the last 15 years... about the same length of time we've been parents. Instead we've had a nice balance.

And so, with our early 20s being our starting date for retirement saving, I believe we can leave this stuff to our colleagues.

Have others had similar epiphanies?

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Re: If you're FI, or close to FI, are still fighting to climb the Corp. Ladder?

Post by cantos » Thu Sep 13, 2018 9:34 am

investingdad wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 9:25 am
I'm curious if folks that are FI, or close to it, and who have fought to climb a corporate ladder have found their desire waning.
Early 40s, same thing. I'd rather have work from home than a higher salary/more responsibility any day. Since that's not possible at this antiquated shop, I instead take all sick days and vacation days and don't think twice. I need to look for a challenge at work otherwise I'm bored doing the day-to-day. I know my net worth is already probably higher than the CEO's. Hoping to be done at 50.

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Re: If you're FI, or close to FI, are still fighting to climb the Corp. Ladder?

Post by SQRT » Thu Sep 13, 2018 9:34 am

I reached my ultimate goal in my career at age 48. It was what I always wanted and worked for. After 3-5 years of working in this position I was FI by quite a wide margin. Did my work ethic and drive diminish? Disappointingly it did. I regret this even now after 12 years of retirement. Wish I could have risen above the “FI” and continued at my previous pace. Who knows what I could have accomplished. But I retired at 56 to live the life of “rich retired guy”. It’s been a great retirement but in retrospect I think I could easily have done even better and not just financially.

Life isn’t always just about money. At this point I feel a bit like I “sold out”. Took the money and ran. Silly I know.
Last edited by SQRT on Thu Sep 13, 2018 10:22 am, edited 4 times in total.

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Re: If you're FI, or close to FI, are still fighting to climb the Corp. Ladder?

Post by Random Poster » Thu Sep 13, 2018 9:35 am

Upon hitting what I think is my FI number, I started arriving at work a little later and leaving work 30 minutes earlier and completely ceased responding to office emails after I left work for the day.

So, no, I am absolutely not climbing up any corporate ladder, but I might be climbing down it.

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Re: If you're FI, or close to FI, are still fighting to climb the Corp. Ladder?

Post by mhc » Thu Sep 13, 2018 9:50 am

I decided to stop in my mid-thirties. The next level required much more travel, job risk, and stress for about a 10-15% bump in pay. 15 years later, I'm still working and enjoying my job. All my friends who moved to the next level ended up losing there jobs. I have been able to maintain a nice balance in life. When I take a 2-3 week vacation, I don't even think about work. When I leave work, I don't check emails or login.

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Re: If you're FI, or close to FI, are still fighting to climb the Corp. Ladder?

Post by GoldStar » Thu Sep 13, 2018 9:57 am

Many people climb the corporate ladder because they enjoy having more responsibility, more control, etc. - not everyone is doing it purely for financial reasons.
If you are comfortable at the level you are at I wouldn't go out of my way to move forward if the additional responsibilities don't interest you.

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Re: If you're FI, or close to FI, are still fighting to climb the Corp. Ladder?

Post by renue74 » Thu Sep 13, 2018 9:58 am

Will give you a POV from a small business owner.

A few years ago, sold a side gig business and am FI at 44. Still have main business, but each year, it's harder to get excited about it. The only constant is change....and now I hate to see bad clients and have less effort to appease them.

You know when you die, nobody is going to say, "He was a great middle manager," on the obituary.

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Re: If you're FI, or close to FI, are still fighting to climb the Corp. Ladder?

Post by Taylor Larimore » Thu Sep 13, 2018 10:09 am

Bogleheads:

When I felt I had reached FI (Financial Independence) in my job as chief of SBAs South Florida Financial Division, I decided I would blow the whistle on an agency program that was wasting millions of taxpayer money "42% of SBA borrowers ended up in default and out of business".

Accordingly, on October 27, 1981, I testified before a Congressional Small Business Hearing in Washington that the government should do-away with our largest program. I was successful (along with a few others) in eliminating the SBA Direct Business Loan Program -- but it subsequently cost me my job.

Best wishes.
Taylor
"Simplicity is the master key to financial success." -- Jack Bogle

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Re: If you're FI, or close to FI, are still fighting to climb the Corp. Ladder?

Post by Plutus » Thu Sep 13, 2018 10:23 am

This post really resonates with me. I am only 30 (will be 31 later this year) and I am already starting to have the same feelings. I had a pretty quick rise in my career and earnings. I am now trying to decide if I want to keep shooting for more or stay level where I am at. I have gotten my job to the point where I have a lot of down time during the day, I have a lot of PTO days, and I don't stress too much when I leave the office.

I have actually turned down a more lucrative job at a different company because of my current situation. I won't lie though, I still think about the "what if" I had gone to the other job. It would have meant more work, at least for the first couple of years, less vacation, and more time in the office. But it would have also meant probably 20-30% more in pay initially, a fancier title, and probably a higher ladder I could climb. The problem with me is that I am always wanting a little more so that is why I still think about the what could have been.

Right now, my current job pays all of my bills and I am able to max my 401k and roth and still save a decent amount for my yet-to-be-born children's future and for my own enjoyment. Couple this with the PTO and low stress, and I am pretty happy staying the course. I do think some day I will grow bored and will want a new challenge, but not yet. It really just comes down to weighing the pros and cons and how they fit into what you really value and want in life.

“A calm and modest life brings more happiness than the pursuit of success combined with constant restlessness” - Albert Einstein

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Re: If you're FI, or close to FI, are still fighting to climb the Corp. Ladder?

Post by Olemiss540 » Thu Sep 13, 2018 10:26 am

That's an incredible story, and I like to think that FI gives someone the ability to turn ladders upside down, or jump from one ladder to another. In other words, I hope that the ability to take risks with my career (once FI) leads to the fulfillment in a role or task to do it for the rest of my life.

Taylor,

You keep up the good work around here for another year or two and surely the boss would have no choice but to promote you. Comes with a 30% raise I am sure. Hope all is well,
I hold index funds because I do not overestimate my ability to pick stocks OR stock pickers.

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Re: If you're FI, or close to FI, are still fighting to climb the Corp. Ladder?

Post by SQRT » Thu Sep 13, 2018 10:26 am

renue74 wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 9:58 am


You know when you die, nobody is going to say, "He was a great middle manager," on the obituary.
Right, I know what you are getting at. However, obits often talk about a deceased’s business career. Usually if the subject of the obit felt their career was important or perhaps successful.

In any event I would be more worried about having any regrets just before I expire. Many people on this site might regret not retiring sooner, but maybe not. There are plenty of “candidates” for regret in one’s life.
Last edited by SQRT on Thu Sep 13, 2018 11:26 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: If you're FI, or close to FI, are still fighting to climb the Corp. Ladder?

Post by mrspock » Thu Sep 13, 2018 10:27 am

SQRT wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 9:34 am
I reached my ultimate goal in my career at age 48. It was what I always wanted and worked for. After 3-5 years of working in this position I was FI by quite a wide margin. Did my work ethic and drive diminish? Disappointingly it did. I regret this even now after 12 years of retirement. Wish I could have risen above the “FI” and continued at my previous pace. Who knows what I could have accomplished. But I retired at 56 to live the life of “rich retired guy”. It’s been a great retirement but in retrospect I think I could easily have done even better.

Life isn’t always just about money. At this point I feel a bit like I “sold out”. Took the money and ran. Silly I know.
I think you made the right choice. Consider had you stayed, you might very well have looked back and asked yourself "I traded X years of freedom for Y dollars or career accomplishment." or maybe your wouldn't have I don't know.

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Re: If you're FI, or close to FI, are still fighting to climb the Corp. Ladder?

Post by 2pedals » Thu Sep 13, 2018 10:32 am

Taylor Larimore wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 10:09 am
Bogleheads:

When I felt I had reached FI (Financial Independence) in my job as chief of SBAs South Florida Financial Division, I decided I would blow the whistle on an agency program that was wasting millions of taxpayer money "42% of SBA borrowers ended up in default and out of business".

Accordingly, on October 27, 1981, I testified before a Congressional Small Business Hearing in Washington that the government should do-away with our largest program. I was successful (along with a few others) in eliminating the SBA Direct Business Loan Program -- but it subsequently cost me my job.

Best wishes.
Taylor
That is an amazing story Taylor. Thank you for reporting and questioning unethical behavior.
Last edited by 2pedals on Thu Sep 13, 2018 10:39 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: If you're FI, or close to FI, are still fighting to climb the Corp. Ladder?

Post by skor99 » Thu Sep 13, 2018 10:35 am

Even if you feel you are close, how can you stop trying to make progress? People in the 40s typically have children in college or ready to go to college which comes with exorbitant fees. Most will also have not yet paid off the mortgage yet.
There can always be economic downturns and consequent layoffs and it is always better to have more control than less, and that is generally determined by your position in the hierarchy.

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Re: If you're FI, or close to FI, are still fighting to climb the Corp. Ladder?

Post by SQRT » Thu Sep 13, 2018 10:54 am

mrspock wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 10:27 am
SQRT wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 9:34 am
I reached my ultimate goal in my career at age 48. It was what I always wanted and worked for. After 3-5 years of working in this position I was FI by quite a wide margin. Did my work ethic and drive diminish? Disappointingly it did. I regret this even now after 12 years of retirement. Wish I could have risen above the “FI” and continued at my previous pace. Who knows what I could have accomplished. But I retired at 56 to live the life of “rich retired guy”. It’s been a great retirement but in retrospect I think I could easily have done even better.

Life isn’t always just about money. At this point I feel a bit like I “sold out”. Took the money and ran. Silly I know.
I think you made the right choice. Consider had you stayed, you might very well have looked back and asked yourself "I traded X years of freedom for Y dollars or career accomplishment." or maybe your wouldn't have I don't know.
I think on balance I did make the right choice but the longer I am retired the less sure I am. I suspect it might be due to gradually “forgetting” how stressful the job was.

In any event,I was trying to point out the relatively rare point of view (around here at least) that one can derive satisfaction from one’s career. Or that the “obvious smart choice” once one reaches FI may not be to retire. For many it is, of course, but not for everyone.

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Re: If you're FI, or close to FI, are still fighting to climb the Corp. Ladder?

Post by SQRT » Thu Sep 13, 2018 10:56 am

GoldStar wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 9:57 am
Many people climb the corporate ladder because they enjoy having more responsibility, more control, etc. - not everyone is doing it purely for financial reasons.
If you are comfortable at the level you are at I wouldn't go out of my way to move forward if the additional responsibilities don't interest you.
Agree. It was never “all about the money” for me. But I must admit, the money was pretty important.

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Re: If you're FI, or close to FI, are still fighting to climb the Corp. Ladder?

Post by Cruise » Thu Sep 13, 2018 11:04 am

OP: It is the rare person who continues to have occupational zeal throughout their career. Most slow down from either physical changes, family demands, or competing interests. Those who are FI, leave. Those who still have to punch the clock appear to be dead weight. Of course, some maintain their zeal, and are probably your next CEO.

My departure was planned years in advance, but enabled because of FI.

Good luck actualizing your plan.

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Re: If you're FI, or close to FI, are still fighting to climb the Corp. Ladder?

Post by flyingaway » Thu Sep 13, 2018 11:07 am

I lost my ambition when I was 43, and became interested in personal finance and investment. I became financially independent at 53.
When I was ambitious, I spent all my time on my work. I did not even know what are large cap, small cap, equity funds, bonds, etc.
Never regretted. I am now interested in FIRE.

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Re: If you're FI, or close to FI, are still fighting to climb the Corp. Ladder?

Post by Admiral » Thu Sep 13, 2018 11:12 am

I am 47, and make a very good salary for a job I find fulfilling and that is, in general, low stress.

Last year I had the option of a similar job but with more work and prestige, for a different organization, for more money, at least 20-25k more per year. However, it would have required regular weekly travel.

Posting about it here when I was considering it made me realize that the extra money didn't make up for the extra stress, so I stayed, and I'm really glad I did. Turns out, six months later my spouse got a 25k promotion! So, all worked out. Her job is much more stressful than mine, and I think it's good to have at least one person with a less stressful, more flexible job, especially when you have kids.

When my kids are done college, however, I anticipate reaching FI and then...I'm out. I plan to keep doing what I'm doing, but on a volunteer basis.

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Re: If you're FI, or close to FI, are still fighting to climb the Corp. Ladder?

Post by letsgobobby » Thu Sep 13, 2018 11:34 am

SQRT wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 9:34 am
I reached my ultimate goal in my career at age 48. It was what I always wanted and worked for. After 3-5 years of working in this position I was FI by quite a wide margin. Did my work ethic and drive diminish? Disappointingly it did. I regret this even now after 12 years of retirement. Wish I could have risen above the “FI” and continued at my previous pace. Who knows what I could have accomplished. But I retired at 56 to live the life of “rich retired guy”. It’s been a great retirement but in retrospect I think I could easily have done even better and not just financially.

Life isn’t always just about money. At this point I feel a bit like I “sold out”. Took the money and ran. Silly I know.
i appreciate this honest post. i have also worked less hard after reaching FI. I’m not sure it’s a bad thing as we Americans tend to work too hard/too much, sometimes to the exclusion of our health or relationships.

I am at a crossroads careerwise and am opting to try to have the best of both worlds. I will be working less overall, with potentially more days off, but with a greater responsibility/accountability for the work I do. I’m going to try this for 2-3 years. If I like it, great. If not, I will resign from that higher level of responsibility and just go back to my ‘day job’ but at only half time. I’ll be the semi-retired, almost rich guy trying to find the perfect balance between service, intellectual development, spiritual growth, parenting, spousing, etc.

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Re: If you're FI, or close to FI, are still fighting to climb the Corp. Ladder?

Post by bligh » Thu Sep 13, 2018 11:38 am

Taylor Larimore wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 10:09 am
Bogleheads:

When I felt I had reached FI (Financial Independence) in my job as chief of SBAs South Florida Financial Division, I decided I would blow the whistle on an agency program that was wasting millions of taxpayer money "42% of SBA borrowers ended up in default and out of business".

Accordingly, on October 27, 1981, I testified before a Congressional Small Business Hearing in Washington that the government should do-away with our largest program. I was successful (along with a few others) in eliminating the SBA Direct Business Loan Program -- but it subsequently cost me my job.

Best wishes.
Taylor
In one more way you set an example for me to follow. This world needs more people like you Taylor.

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Re: If you're FI, or close to FI, are still fighting to climb the Corp. Ladder?

Post by bligh » Thu Sep 13, 2018 11:43 am

investingdad wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 9:25 am
I'm curious if folks that are FI, or close to it, and who have fought to climb a corporate ladder have found their desire waning.

I'm in my mid 40s and this is probably prime promotion and climbing years. But given our financial situation, I don't see the point. I enjoy working and what I do, but I think I've outgrown the petty politics and crazy work weeks that I see in those my age and a bit younger that are fighting to get a bigger piece of the pie by pushing for higher tier roles.

I think our early discipline may have exempted us from this ridiculousness. You hear about the cliche of people getting a big promotion and buying luxury cars, but we got quite a few folks here that do this. They are all in on the whole thing.

If I bump savings by another 100k a year in FIREcalc, I only gain about 18 months in my time to full FI. For my wife or I to have had a role by now that adds that much income we'd have to have been pedal to the metal every day for the last 15 years... about the same length of time we've been parents. Instead we've had a nice balance.

And so, with our early 20s being our starting date for retirement saving, I believe we can leave this stuff to our colleagues.

Have others had similar epiphanies?
Absolutely. This has been how it was with me and and my wife. I think it is perfectly normal. You see people around you playing office politics and trying to get that edge and climb the career, and think to yourself its not worth the effort when you know you aren't going to be around in the workforce much longer.

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Re: If you're FI, or close to FI, are still fighting to climb the Corp. Ladder?

Post by grokzilla » Thu Sep 13, 2018 11:49 am

We're FI in our mid-40s and have been for a few years, but are actually sorta diverging a bit on this.

I've run a small business for about 15 years now and as of last year think I may have hit "the wall" -- desire to chase new business, push for more billing, etc has really waned with me. Initially thought it was a temporary phase, but not so sure now. So, I'm taking it a bit easier and continuing to service existing business and may even begin to wind down over the next few years -- but we'll see.

My SO on other hand is still hard charging the ladder. Love's the large corp job and team -- can't imagine stopping.

We have interesting conversations of late... Me: "So, maybe I'll retire first...?" SO: ::blank stare:: :oops:

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Re: If you're FI, or close to FI, are still fighting to climb the Corp. Ladder?

Post by HermosaSurfer » Thu Sep 13, 2018 11:54 am

I'm 50, FI, and enjoying a challenging front line job. I have no employees to manage and remain excited about going to work. In my 40s, I was tagged as "executive potential", attended training, and was offered interesting overseas assignments. Each time, we decided that life was so good that it was hard to imagine better. When we travel overseas as a family I sometimes wonder if we missed something cool, but life IS good.

I used to joke with my friends about Miss America Syndrome. That's when the host asks the contestant, "What do you want to do with your life?" and she says, "I want to be an investment banker, have 5 children, be a pillar of my community, and a leader in my church." It takes considerable effort to do any one of those things well, but practically impossible to do them all well. We all have to find our personal balance, I suppose.

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Re: If you're FI, or close to FI, are still fighting to climb the Corp. Ladder?

Post by JBTX » Thu Sep 13, 2018 11:57 am

Having some liquidity and decent retirement savings and approaching FI has definitely reduced my motivation or desire to climb the corporate ladder.

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Re: If you're FI, or close to FI, are still fighting to climb the Corp. Ladder?

Post by rgs92 » Thu Sep 13, 2018 11:59 am

Profound and inspiring story Taylor. Best to you again.

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Re: If you're FI, or close to FI, are still fighting to climb the Corp. Ladder?

Post by Glockenspiel » Thu Sep 13, 2018 12:04 pm

I'm only 33 and already feeling stressed to the max in my engineering consulting firm. Not enough time, not enough resources, company resistant to hiring, not enough time to train people up. I would gladly take a 24-32 hour/week job, if that existed, and decrease my pay accordingly.

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Re: If you're FI, or close to FI, are still fighting to climb the Corp. Ladder?

Post by bhsince87 » Thu Sep 13, 2018 12:14 pm

I absolutely downshifted. I transferred out of management and back into engineering. Pick and choose my projects according to amount of BS attached, work 40 hours only, no evening emails, etc.

Now I'm experiencing something related that I didn't expect. I've always had a dream of quitting the traditional career roles and instead supporting myself with some sort of artsy or craft based business related to my hobbies. Woodworking, jewelry making, photography, etc.

But now that I realize I don't even need to have any income from those activities, I'm questioning why I ever had that concept of a "dream life".

Sometimes I wonder if I'm just getting lazy.
Retirement: When you reach a point where you have enough. Or when you've had enough.

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Re: If you're FI, or close to FI, are still fighting to climb the Corp. Ladder?

Post by CarpeDiem22 » Thu Sep 13, 2018 12:20 pm

I'm 31, and about same percentage (31%) done towards FI goal. It's not much but I already have a improved attitude in office where I focus more on the value add that I can do, and not care about the office politics, non-value add work and general irritations. I don't care if they fire me for standing up against some unethical stuff that I believe is going on. As a finance professional, I already see things improving in office as I can take a concrete stand and not bow down to the business pressure.

Thanks to the older and wiser folks for sharing their thoughts in this post. Helps us younger folks with direction in life.

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Re: If you're FI, or close to FI, are still fighting to climb the Corp. Ladder?

Post by HappyWorkerBee » Thu Sep 13, 2018 12:35 pm

This probably varies a lot depending on your ambition, job, and where you are in life.

I reached FI in my early 30s and worked hard to advance my career for many years after that. I loved my job, I saw it as an opportunity to grow and learn, to have an impact on the world and be a part of a team. I felt like I hadn't yet reached my full potential and I wanted to be the best that I could be so I kept working hard, climbing the corporate ladder. After a while I burned out and needed a break, so I retired in my late 30s.

For me the keys to continuing to enjoy work after FI were gratitude (feeling very grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the team / work community, and the opportunity to have an impact on the world) and challenge (feeling like I was growing my skills at work). I expect that I would still be working if I'd had strong social ties at work.

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Re: If you're FI, or close to FI, are still fighting to climb the Corp. Ladder?

Post by Meg77 » Thu Sep 13, 2018 2:26 pm

I think about this topic a lot. In some ways (at least for some people), I think approaching or achieving FI can help your career. Confidence improves; you may speak and come and go more freely; you work on what matters most or what you want to work on; you may be less stressed and come across as less desperate for promotions or bonuses or more opportunities; you may just fire the most annoying of your clients. Ironically in some ways, acting as though you don't need a job can make you better at it, more efficient and more respected.

Of course the flip side is that you can get lazy or complacent. You may not submit your best work because your work at 50% of effort is sufficient. Perhaps it becomes a struggle to show up on time or refrain from leaving early. This is especially a risk if you don't really like what you do or think it matters in the first place, but I sometimes veer toward these issues even though I like what I do and really like my colleagues and boss.

The problem is, I'm competent so I'm not that challenged on a day to day basis. Moving into management would be the next step - and it may well be on the horizon whenever my boss retires - but I find myself oddly ambivalent about that major career step up. I won't be content to be bored and have my skills atrophy over the long term, which would be the case if I hand out for too many years in my current role. Becoming a manager would mean new experiences, learning and challenge, which are all good. But it would also mean more people relying on me, more responsibility and work/hours put in - and likely not that much more money (certainly not enough to change my life). My husband is about to take that leap too at his firm.

So despite the fact that we're on the cusp of FI, we will probably spend a few more years moving up the corporate ladder with more stress and padding net worth even more (and increasing our spending, which I am more than comfortable doing at this point). It's not because we HAVE to, but more because it feels like the right thing - given we have the opportunities teed up. We've worked so long to get to this point, our skills and networks are finally maturing, and we finally have a lot more to give to our firms and our teams. Quitting just because we can afford to doesn't feel like the right move. But then again our jobs aren't that stressful compared to many other professional careers. We are bankers working 30-50 hours a week - not exactly at risk of extreme burnout to begin with.
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Re: If you're FI, or close to FI, are still fighting to climb the Corp. Ladder?

Post by StealthRabbit » Thu Sep 13, 2018 3:32 pm

getting close to FI...
REDUCE your time and energy commitment to your company

Consider reading the Cliff Notes for "Die Broke"

Basically,
  • Reduce your emotional and time commitment to employer. (But do your job)
    Establish your other skills / priorities
    Plan (as in be ready) for your transition
    Do it on your own terms
    "ENJOY" your final years
(2) coworkers did this during their last 2 yrs, and this made work much more tolerable / enjoyable. (for them and for bosses (Who didn't have a clue these 2 were planning their exit)

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Re: If you're FI, or close to FI, are still fighting to climb the Corp. Ladder?

Post by letsgobobby » Thu Sep 13, 2018 3:34 pm

The difficulty is that taking the next step careerwise after one reaches FI will almost occur in midlife. This is usually when we are at our busiest because of family/kid commitments, and also when our own mortality starts peaking at us from over the horizon. This makes the prospect of trading life energy/time for money very unappealing. So it has to be some kind of passion or psychological need which drives further career advancement; money alone won't do it.

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Re: If you're FI, or close to FI, are still fighting to climb the Corp. Ladder?

Post by UpperNwGuy » Thu Sep 13, 2018 3:46 pm

I worked my butt off for 39 years of my 40-year career and climbed the corporate ladder. It wasn't about financial security. Rather it was about pride in my work and my professional reputation. In the fall of 2012 I made the decision to retire in the summer of 2013, and from that point onwards I started leaving at 5pm or 530pm rather than working until 630pm or 7pm. And, as an earlier comment mentioned, I reduced my emotional commitment to my employer.

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Re: If you're FI, or close to FI, are still fighting to climb the Corp. Ladder?

Post by drew1976 » Thu Sep 13, 2018 4:36 pm

I am at 65-70% of my target FI number. Targeting reaching the number in about 4 years.

Zero desire to climb the corporate ladder despite encouragement from other mgrs to do the same. Perhaps I'd hit my FI goal 6 months earlier but at what cost?

I'm already at a point where if I drastically changed my lifestyle, I could safely tell this job I was through at any point. Once you've hit that point, no real bonus to overachieving unless its something you enjoy. Here that means late nights, more pointless meeting, more people headaches, etc. Also, my company has been good to me, so taking a job that I will take a while to get good at only to leave a vacancy sooner than later seems wrong. I'd rather let someone else get their chance to give it a try now.

It's also been liberating to really not sweat performance reviews. Perhaps not coincidentally they've gone up since I stopped caring about them. But I could be told I was in the 30-50% percentile and not care one iota. I may still keep this job even once I hit I FI since it is still challenging and not really causing enough stress to give up the paycheck - if I was a mgr I think I'd be counting down the days.

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Re: If you're FI, or close to FI, are still fighting to climb the Corp. Ladder?

Post by tioscrooge » Thu Sep 13, 2018 5:01 pm

As others on this forum have said before - FI liberates you.
My spouse and I reached FI a few years ago. My spouse decided to climb corporate ladder - knowing full well that she didn't have to / need to. If it ever stops being challenging and fun, she will retire. She is driven by challenges and the new job will offer her that.
Whether you think you can or you can not, you will be correct.

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Re: If you're FI, or close to FI, are still fighting to climb the Corp. Ladder?

Post by ThankYouJack » Thu Sep 13, 2018 5:08 pm

Absolutely not.

Not FI yet (well maybe Ramen Noodle FI).

And the best thing about it is that we've been given a ton more flexibility and freedom with our jobs because we've explained to our managers exactly what we want out of our jobs. If we're let go not a huge deal, so might as well try to shape our jobs to exactly how we like them. If our jobs change a lot where we don't like them or have a lot of pressure to do more, we can walk away. It's almost like the main character in Office Space - the more we try to walk away from our jobs, the better our situation gets. We are very honest and open with our managers and bring uniqueness to the table so that works in our favor.

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Re: If you're FI, or close to FI, are still fighting to climb the Corp. Ladder?

Post by blinx77 » Thu Sep 13, 2018 6:11 pm

GoldStar wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 9:57 am
Many people climb the corporate ladder because they enjoy having more responsibility, more control, etc. - not everyone is doing it purely for financial reasons.
If you are comfortable at the level you are at I wouldn't go out of my way to move forward if the additional responsibilities don't interest you.
Yep. I am pushing to be general counsel at my governmental agency for zero extra pay. Mostly, I don't want another lawyer who might not be as good (diligent / smart / knowledgeable) to come in and boss me around.

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Re: If you're FI, or close to FI, are still fighting to climb the Corp. Ladder?

Post by ge1 » Thu Sep 13, 2018 6:27 pm

Very timely topic for me. Mid 40s and in 3-4 years we should be FI.

I made a big career step 2 years ago, which opened a lot of doors and another big step is entirely possible in another year or 2. For me it‘s not „claiming the corporate ladder“ though, it‘s more making the most of abilities and living life to the max. My worst nightmare is lying on my death bed and regretting all the things I haven‘t done.

Now, those „things I haven‘t done“ could also mean that due to the job I didn‘t spend enough time with family and friends (I don‘t think that‘s high risk for me though). But that‘s the struggle I personally have, i.e. I simply don‘t know if I will keep directing my energy at work or will it be more fulfilling to do non profit or other work. I guess I don’t need to know now and will find out.

One thing I know for sure is that I won’t just stop working simply because I hit a number - that’s seems a fairly depressing scenario as it implies i never enjoyed my job to begin with.

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Re: If you're FI, or close to FI, are still fighting to climb the Corp. Ladder?

Post by randomizer » Thu Sep 13, 2018 6:33 pm

I'm not FI yet, but I do feel burned out and stopped climbing a while back. Just coasting.
87.5:12.5, EM tilt — HODL the course!

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Re: If you're FI, or close to FI, are still fighting to climb the Corp. Ladder?

Post by KlangFool » Thu Sep 13, 2018 6:33 pm

ge1 wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 6:27 pm

One thing I know for sure is that I won’t just stop working simply because I hit a number - that’s seems a fairly depressing scenario as it implies i never enjoyed my job to begin with.
ge1,

To each its own. From another point of view, it is depressing to think that a person has nothing better to do with his/her life than working.

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Re: If you're FI, or close to FI, are still fighting to climb the Corp. Ladder?

Post by corn18 » Thu Sep 13, 2018 7:44 pm

20 years in the Navy as a pilot and I was always chasing the next step in my career. Retired @ 20 years because the flying jobs dried up.

I left for a business development (BD) job at defense megacorp and started climbing the ladder. Made it to VP BD @ the $5B level and then made the jump to President of a division ($70M). Buried myself deep in a turnaround and kicked butt. Next step is bigger P/L and then C-suite. I have a path to that if I want to maintain this drive for another 10 years.

I'm 52, and for the first time in my life, I am thinking about slowing down. Will be FI @ 55. So I am taking another VP job and seeing where we end up @ 55. After 30 years of being gone most of the time, I think my wife deserves more. And no one ever says on their death bed that they wish they had worked more.
Last edited by corn18 on Thu Sep 13, 2018 8:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: If you're FI, or close to FI, are still fighting to climb the Corp. Ladder?

Post by flyingaway » Thu Sep 13, 2018 8:25 pm

randomizer wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 6:33 pm
I'm not FI yet, but I do feel burned out and stopped climbing a while back. Just coasting.
Me too.

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Re: If you're FI, or close to FI, are still fighting to climb the Corp. Ladder?

Post by ChowYunPhat » Thu Sep 13, 2018 9:15 pm

This post really resonates with me. Spouse and I are in our early 40s with her in semi-retirement. We are both happy and able to spend and save at levels which are comfortable. Heading towards FI in the next couple of years, but really enjoying my work and am well compensated.
Meg77 wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 2:26 pm
I think about this topic a lot. In some ways (at least for some people), I think approaching or achieving FI can help your career. Confidence improves; you may speak and come and go more freely; you work on what matters most or what you want to work on; you may be less stressed and come across as less desperate for promotions or bonuses or more opportunities; you may just fire the most annoying of your clients. Ironically in some ways, acting as though you don't need a job can make you better at it, more efficient and more respected.
That. I already feel this way in some regards and it has made me a better leader. However, next career move is likely a large step change with 50%-75% more compensation but additional politics, headaches, and time commitment. Great to hear honest views on this topic.
A wise man and his money are friends forever...

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Re: If you're FI, or close to FI, are still fighting to climb the Corp. Ladder?

Post by DC3509 » Thu Sep 13, 2018 9:48 pm

SQRT wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 10:54 am
mrspock wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 10:27 am
SQRT wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 9:34 am
I reached my ultimate goal in my career at age 48. It was what I always wanted and worked for. After 3-5 years of working in this position I was FI by quite a wide margin. Did my work ethic and drive diminish? Disappointingly it did. I regret this even now after 12 years of retirement. Wish I could have risen above the “FI” and continued at my previous pace. Who knows what I could have accomplished. But I retired at 56 to live the life of “rich retired guy”. It’s been a great retirement but in retrospect I think I could easily have done even better.

Life isn’t always just about money. At this point I feel a bit like I “sold out”. Took the money and ran. Silly I know.
I think you made the right choice. Consider had you stayed, you might very well have looked back and asked yourself "I traded X years of freedom for Y dollars or career accomplishment." or maybe your wouldn't have I don't know.
I think on balance I did make the right choice but the longer I am retired the less sure I am. I suspect it might be due to gradually “forgetting” how stressful the job was.

In any event,I was trying to point out the relatively rare point of view (around here at least) that one can derive satisfaction from one’s career. Or that the “obvious smart choice” once one reaches FI may not be to retire. For many it is, of course, but not for everyone.
I have posted about this before, but this is a major issue I have with this board in general. Many -- many -- of the posts about FI or FIRE or savings in general involve a lot of grumbling and complaining about work, careers, etc. and assume that being "retired early" will resolve all of these issues. I thought this was a refreshingly honest post.

I am the complete opposite -- I love my career and consider myself extremely lucky to be doing what I do every day. That may change, but I know plenty of people in this same career who are working well into their 60s and 70s and occasionally longer than that and feel the same way as I do. The "being retired" lifestyle seems dreadfully boring to me and can tamper motivation on having extremely high savings rates -- just like achieving FI may tamper motivation to work in other people.

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Re: If you're FI, or close to FI, are still fighting to climb the Corp. Ladder?

Post by flyingaway » Thu Sep 13, 2018 10:09 pm

DC3509 wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 9:48 pm

I have posted about this before, but this is a major issue I have with this board in general. Many -- many -- of the posts about FI or FIRE or savings in general involve a lot of grumbling and complaining about work, careers, etc. and assume that being "retired early" will resolve all of these issues. I thought this was a refreshingly honest post.

I am the complete opposite -- I love my career and consider myself extremely lucky to be doing what I do every day. That may change, but I know plenty of people in this same career who are working well into their 60s and 70s and occasionally longer than that and feel the same way as I do. The "being retired" lifestyle seems dreadfully boring to me and can tamper motivation on having extremely high savings rates -- just like achieving FI may tamper motivation to work in other people.
I don't hate my job, but I could not be happy of doing that for my entire life. I prefer to have time to do something different.

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Re: If you're FI, or close to FI, are still fighting to climb the Corp. Ladder?

Post by letsgobobby » Thu Sep 13, 2018 10:42 pm

DC3509 wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 9:48 pm
SQRT wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 10:54 am
mrspock wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 10:27 am
SQRT wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 9:34 am
I reached my ultimate goal in my career at age 48. It was what I always wanted and worked for. After 3-5 years of working in this position I was FI by quite a wide margin. Did my work ethic and drive diminish? Disappointingly it did. I regret this even now after 12 years of retirement. Wish I could have risen above the “FI” and continued at my previous pace. Who knows what I could have accomplished. But I retired at 56 to live the life of “rich retired guy”. It’s been a great retirement but in retrospect I think I could easily have done even better.

Life isn’t always just about money. At this point I feel a bit like I “sold out”. Took the money and ran. Silly I know.
I think you made the right choice. Consider had you stayed, you might very well have looked back and asked yourself "I traded X years of freedom for Y dollars or career accomplishment." or maybe your wouldn't have I don't know.
I think on balance I did make the right choice but the longer I am retired the less sure I am. I suspect it might be due to gradually “forgetting” how stressful the job was.

In any event,I was trying to point out the relatively rare point of view (around here at least) that one can derive satisfaction from one’s career. Or that the “obvious smart choice” once one reaches FI may not be to retire. For many it is, of course, but not for everyone.
I have posted about this before, but this is a major issue I have with this board in general. Many -- many -- of the posts about FI or FIRE or savings in general involve a lot of grumbling and complaining about work, careers, etc. and assume that being "retired early" will resolve all of these issues. I thought this was a refreshingly honest post.

I am the complete opposite -- I love my career and consider myself extremely lucky to be doing what I do every day. That may change, but I know plenty of people in this same career who are working well into their 60s and 70s and occasionally longer than that and feel the same way as I do. The "being retired" lifestyle seems dreadfully boring to me and can tamper motivation on having extremely high savings rates -- just like achieving FI may tamper motivation to work in other people.
You're not alone, but just because we love what we do doesn't mean we don't have other interests, and there are only so many hours in the day/week.

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Re: If you're FI, or close to FI, are still fighting to climb the Corp. Ladder?

Post by AlphaLess » Thu Sep 13, 2018 10:46 pm

SQRT wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 9:34 am
I reached my ultimate goal in my career at age 48. It was what I always wanted and worked for. After 3-5 years of working in this position I was FI by quite a wide margin. Did my work ethic and drive diminish? Disappointingly it did. I regret this even now after 12 years of retirement. Wish I could have risen above the “FI” and continued at my previous pace. Who knows what I could have accomplished. But I retired at 56 to live the life of “rich retired guy”. It’s been a great retirement but in retrospect I think I could easily have done even better and not just financially.

Life isn’t always just about money. At this point I feel a bit like I “sold out”. Took the money and ran. Silly I know.
Great perspective. Thank you for sharing it.
"You can get more with a kind word and a gun than with just a kind word." George Washington

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Re: If you're FI, or close to FI, are still fighting to climb the Corp. Ladder?

Post by Starfish » Fri Sep 14, 2018 1:33 am

I think it is great to like what you do for a job. Probably is mandatory for a happy life.
I think it is terribly sad to have as only enjoyment/hobby/passion/pleasure the job you have, especially a corporate job. To me it would feel like I wasted life, glorified slavery.

The funny thing is generally exactly people who have no interest in retirement become FI the fastest, while the people who would retire tomorrow can't get the money.

For me, getting closer to being desired level of FI and passing the first threshold of "bare-bones FI" had 2 effects.
On one hand I care less, work less, have no chance at climbing up (financially or job title) because I have no drive take a job with more work, but on the other I don't worry or stress anymore, which increased the enjoyment of work and my happiness.
Now if I check my email at midnight or if read a paper in the weekend is because I want and out of genuine curiosity and interest. When there is pressure my interest is masked and it feels like an obligation. Like work.

We will see how this holds up for 5 more years (plus/minus).

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Re: If you're FI, or close to FI, are still fighting to climb the Corp. Ladder?

Post by Starfish » Fri Sep 14, 2018 1:40 am

DC3509 wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 9:48 pm
SQRT wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 10:54 am
mrspock wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 10:27 am
SQRT wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 9:34 am
I reached my ultimate goal in my career at age 48. It was what I always wanted and worked for. After 3-5 years of working in this position I was FI by quite a wide margin. Did my work ethic and drive diminish? Disappointingly it did. I regret this even now after 12 years of retirement. Wish I could have risen above the “FI” and continued at my previous pace. Who knows what I could have accomplished. But I retired at 56 to live the life of “rich retired guy”. It’s been a great retirement but in retrospect I think I could easily have done even better.

Life isn’t always just about money. At this point I feel a bit like I “sold out”. Took the money and ran. Silly I know.
I think you made the right choice. Consider had you stayed, you might very well have looked back and asked yourself "I traded X years of freedom for Y dollars or career accomplishment." or maybe your wouldn't have I don't know.
I think on balance I did make the right choice but the longer I am retired the less sure I am. I suspect it might be due to gradually “forgetting” how stressful the job was.

In any event,I was trying to point out the relatively rare point of view (around here at least) that one can derive satisfaction from one’s career. Or that the “obvious smart choice” once one reaches FI may not be to retire. For many it is, of course, but not for everyone.
I have posted about this before, but this is a major issue I have with this board in general. Many -- many -- of the posts about FI or FIRE or savings in general involve a lot of grumbling and complaining about work, careers, etc. and assume that being "retired early" will resolve all of these issues. I thought this was a refreshingly honest post.
To me is exactly the opposite, a shockingly large number of people clearly FI talking about retiring at 70 and "work ethic".
I understand to love your job, but really, nothing else? No other interest in life? Family, kids, fishing, traveling, climbing mountains, friends, boats, whatever.
What is the chance that the only thing you could like in life is exactly the job you have?

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