FIRE - What am I missing in the News Stories

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Topic Author
KandT
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FIRE - What am I missing in the News Stories

Post by KandT » Sun May 19, 2019 8:10 am

Seems like there are constant news stories on the FIRE movement. They all seem to say John and Jane saved 70% of their income and maxed out their 401K and now at 35 they have 1.2 million dollars and are retired.

First off - how are they figuring on getting the401K money out until they are 59.5??
Secondly - When did taking a job bagging groceries become a thing to aspire too? Many say they have retired from their software engineering position and now make coffee at Starbucks. That's not retired. That's just living on nothing. There are tons of people that do that.

What am I missing?

For me I want to retire early but why would I give up a good paying job for a part time low paying job? I guess they think there isn't any stress in low paying jobs but I would argue quite the reverse. Oddly, it seems low paying jobs frequently have lots of stress. It seems they need a class in stress management not a new job bagging groceries.

I am confused. :shock: :shock:

Call_Me_Op
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Re: FIRE - What am I missing in the News Stories

Post by Call_Me_Op » Sun May 19, 2019 8:16 am

I think 35 is way too early to retire, and $1.2 million won't be enough at that age. But to your point, people have all kind of crazy ideas that do not pan-out as they had hoped.
Last edited by Call_Me_Op on Sun May 19, 2019 8:16 am, edited 1 time in total.
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fabdog
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Re: FIRE - What am I missing in the News Stories

Post by fabdog » Sun May 19, 2019 8:16 am

Most of the stories I see have some component of traveling, moving around, not "shackled" to a high stress job.

As you note, getting out that young, and giving up peak earning power, especially with kids is a bit of a high wire act... as long as the markets go up and their expense profile doesn't change... and I guess they can always go back

I agree... I do "work" after I retired at 55, but just 3 months a year helping out at a tax business. The rest of the time is volunteer or travel

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Re: FIRE - What am I missing in the News Stories

Post by randomguy » Sun May 19, 2019 8:24 am

Google roth pipeline. Also very unlikely someone has 1.2 million in a 401(k) at 35.And yes the key is living on moderate incomes. And yes we can debate how many of them are retired. It is a catch name.


The other thing to remember is that we are probably talking about a tiny number of people doing it but they make a good press story. Nobody wants to read about the guy that saves 20%/year and retires at 55. The guy that saves 60% and retires at 35 is something that people will talk about (both the I wish I was retired at 35 crowd AND the people who go living on 30k/year is undesireable).

k3vb0t
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Re: FIRE - What am I missing in the News Stories

Post by k3vb0t » Sun May 19, 2019 8:36 am

randomguy wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 8:24 am
The other thing to remember is that we are probably talking about a tiny number of people doing it but they make a good press story. Nobody wants to read about the guy that saves 20%/year and retires at 55. The guy that saves 60% and retires at 35 is something that people will talk about (both the I wish I was retired at 35 crowd AND the people who go living on 30k/year is undesireable).
This. A million times this.

Also add in that the market has been moving up for a decade making those that saved a lot generate healthy returns. You’d have to be awfully confident that your portfolio would last what amounts to eternity if you retired today.

I’ll imagine if we have a significant downturn you’ll start seeing articles about people who “caught on FIRE” and had to go back to work, their lives are ruined, etc. And those articles will also highlight a very small percentage of people but make it seem like a huge phenomenon to earn the almighty click for those advertiser eyeballs.

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Cycle
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Re: FIRE - What am I missing in the News Stories

Post by Cycle » Sun May 19, 2019 8:41 am

Some leave their full time jobs so they can raise their kids on their own. Seems reasonable, certainly more rewarding than what I do at megacorp.
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Re: FIRE - What am I missing in the News Stories

Post by bloom2708 » Sun May 19, 2019 8:45 am

Read some of their blogs/books. It may not be the life for you, but it works.

Here are some I follow:

www.rootofgood.com
retireby40.org
astreaminlife.com
mrfreeat33.com
1500days.com

Each has a different twist. Low spending. Blog income. Living in an Air Stream. Spouse still working. Moving to another country.

None of them may doing what you would/might do. That is fine. They are taking risks, doing things different. Most of us sheeple (myself included) won't do the things needed to retire early, early. Many of us on Bogleheads will end up with "too much". That is probably OK too. Our kids and their kids will hopefully thank us.

Read up on rule 72t for getting money from a Traditional IRA. Substantially Equal Payments. Roth conversions. Side hustle income. Blog income. Speaking income. Book income. Many quit their traditional high stress job, but still "work". Maybe from home. Maybe only a few hours a day.

Lots to learn. Even if you take away a few nuggets here and there.
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Cycle
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Re: FIRE - What am I missing in the News Stories

Post by Cycle » Sun May 19, 2019 8:52 am

randomguy wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 8:24 am
Google roth pipeline. Also very unlikely someone has 1.2 million in a 401(k) at 35.
I have 522k in my 401k at age 35. Include my Roth and I'm at 600k.

I was contributing from age 22, and maxing from age 24 onward.

Marry someone similar and you've got 1.2MM at 35.

I save 70% net, going to be 60% net with child in daycare. We travel often and eat out often. We just don't waste money on stuff that doesn't bring us value, like cars, fancy housing, MBAs, basically all the pitfalls mentioned in the millionaire nextdoor. If one has an optimized lifestyle, 60-70% net savers can live quite extravagantly.
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Re: FIRE - What am I missing in the News Stories

Post by longinvest » Sun May 19, 2019 8:56 am

KandT wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 8:10 am
What am I missing?
Blogging is a business. A blog that suggested to find a career one enjoys (which contributes to society in some form or other), saving reasonably over decades and investing the money into a boring balanced portfolio, spending the rest to enjoy life with loved ones, and eventually retiring from that career when one is unable to continue or is tired, wouldn't be very popular. That wouldn't be good for advertising revenues.
Last edited by longinvest on Sun May 19, 2019 8:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
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lostdog
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Re: FIRE - What am I missing in the News Stories

Post by lostdog » Sun May 19, 2019 8:57 am

Most of them have blog income or some other side gig. They put themselves out there as a product of financial freedom but still make money on the side. Some of them won't share the details of their portfolio which I find suspect.

One blogger I WAS following shares his dividend portfolio in a blog and lives in Chang Mai, Thialand. He has blog income and book income but doesn't share that income information with his dividend income. I very politely brought up total return vs dividend investing on his social media page and he instantly blocked me. I figure he did that because it was a threat to his brand. I wasn't surprised.

Some of then leave details out for a reason.

When I go to the "Go curry cracker" blog, I get pummeled with ads when I try to read it. I stopped going there because it's extremely annoying.

I do enjoy retireby40 blog. No BS from him. He is a stay at home dad, real estate income and blog income.
Last edited by lostdog on Sun May 19, 2019 9:05 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Wiggums
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Re: FIRE - What am I missing in the News Stories

Post by Wiggums » Sun May 19, 2019 9:01 am

k3vb0t wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 8:36 am

I’ll imagine if we have a significant downturn you’ll start seeing articles about people who “caught on FIRE” and had to go back to work, their lives are ruined, etc.
:sharebeer I like that one...

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Re: FIRE - What am I missing in the News Stories

Post by 22twain » Sun May 19, 2019 9:10 am

KandT wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 8:10 am
saved 70% of their income and maxed out their 401K and now at 35 they have 1.2 million dollars and are retired.

First off - how are they figuring on getting the401K money out until they are 59.5??
At that savings rate they probably have a significant fraction of their money in after-tax accounts and don't need to tap their 401Ks, traditional (tax-deferred) IRAs, etc. during the "early" phase of retirement. And there are ways of getting money out of those accounts before age 59.5 without penalty. Look up "SEPP" and "72t".

Also, their idea of "retirement" often isn't what ordinary Joes mean by it. They often still have income from "lesser" jobs then their former high-stress soul-sucking megacorp jobs, or from other activities like owning real estate or running blogs about FIRE. (see Mr. Money Mustache). That's what I'd call "downshifting."
My investing princiPLEs do not include absolutely preserving princiPAL.

lostdog
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Re: FIRE - What am I missing in the News Stories

Post by lostdog » Sun May 19, 2019 9:20 am

22twain wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 9:10 am
KandT wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 8:10 am
saved 70% of their income and maxed out their 401K and now at 35 they have 1.2 million dollars and are retired.

First off - how are they figuring on getting the401K money out until they are 59.5??
At that savings rate they probably have a significant fraction of their money in after-tax accounts and don't need to tap their 401Ks, traditional (tax-deferred) IRAs, etc. during the "early" phase of retirement. And there are ways of getting money out of those accounts before age 59.5 without penalty. Look up "SEPP" and "72t".

Also, their idea of "retirement" often isn't what ordinary Joes mean by it. They often still have income from "lesser" jobs then their former high-stress soul-sucking megacorp jobs, or from other activities like owning real estate or running blogs about FIRE. (see Mr. Money Mustache). That's what I'd call "downshifting."

Why don't most of these bloggers communicate this? the SEPP and 72t.
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Re: FIRE - What am I missing in the News Stories

Post by whodidntante » Sun May 19, 2019 9:28 am

They roll it to an IRA and do roth conversion ladders or 72t. Some of the the people on fire seem broke to me and live broke even before they retire. I guess you can retire on a million with David Ramsey's Lampo wishful thinking. But a 50% drop puts you in a trailer house fixing up your 15 year old Ford.

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teen persuasion
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Re: FIRE - What am I missing in the News Stories

Post by teen persuasion » Sun May 19, 2019 9:44 am

KandT wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 8:10 am

First off - how are they figuring on getting the401K money out until they are 59.5??

What am I missing?
Roth conversion ladder
https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/in ... ge-59-5/

You simultaneously release funds from your traditional retirement accounts before age 59.5 without penalty, and shift balances from traditional to Roth accounts reducing taxable RMDs in the future when you may also be receiving pensions and SS. Small amounts moved over many years, mostly in the zero/10%/12% brackets.

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Re: FIRE - What am I missing in the News Stories

Post by Fallible » Sun May 19, 2019 10:24 am

KandT wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 8:10 am
Seems like there are constant news stories on the FIRE movement. They all seem to say John and Jane saved 70% of their income and maxed out their 401K and now at 35 they have 1.2 million dollars and are retired. ...
I'm not aware of "constant" news stories about people retiring at 35, especially without providing some detail of how they did it. Can you provide an example of one or two articles that have prompted your concerns? Thanks.
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dcw213
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Re: FIRE - What am I missing in the News Stories

Post by dcw213 » Sun May 19, 2019 11:07 am

It is a bold and high risk lifestyle choice and I likely wouldn't do it myself but I certainly understand the appeal and somewhat envy those with the courage to implement such a lifestyle. I think it comes down to the fact that, unlike previous generations, more of today's young people are opting for lifestyles that dont saddle them with large expenses to keep them going on the treadmill (mostly housing and to a lesser extent expensive cars). Those that avoid such expenses have much greater flexibility. A lot of those that pursue the jobs at Starbucks or Target do so primarily for insurance. If I was confident about being able to survive a stress event I would have no problem taking a lower stress job if I felt I would be able to enjoy life more. I am admittedly too conservative to do so and would not put my family at risk of the potential impact.

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Re: FIRE - What am I missing in the News Stories

Post by tennisplyr » Sun May 19, 2019 11:11 am

Some people--even highly paid ones--really hate their jobs!
Those who move forward with a happy spirit will find that things always work out.

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willthrill81
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Re: FIRE - What am I missing in the News Stories

Post by willthrill81 » Sun May 19, 2019 11:19 am

KandT wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 8:10 am
Seems like there are constant news stories on the FIRE movement. They all seem to say John and Jane saved 70% of their income and maxed out their 401K and now at 35 they have 1.2 million dollars and are retired.

First off - how are they figuring on getting the401K money out until they are 59.5??
Secondly - When did taking a job bagging groceries become a thing to aspire too? Many say they have retired from their software engineering position and now make coffee at Starbucks. That's not retired. That's just living on nothing. Hell there are tons of people that do that.

What am I missing?

For me I want to retire early but why would I give up a good paying job for a part time low paying job? I guess they think there isn't any stress in low paying jobs but I would argue quite the reverse. Oddly, it seems low paying jobs frequently have lots of stress. It seems they need a class in stress management not a new job bagging groceries.

I am confused. :shock: :shock:
Getting funds out of your 401k before age 59.5 is not difficult and has been addressed by others.

The 'financial independence' side of FIRE is pretty straightforward, but the 'retire early' is a whole other issue. Fritz at The Retirement Manifesto has suggested that this should instead be called "recreational employment." That seems much more applicable to what 99% of the FIRE folks are doing. Paula Pant, one of the big proponents in the FIRE community, says that she only knows one person who reached FI and earns no income at all; I believe that he hikes all around the world. By comparison, she knows hundreds who have left their original career and are doing something else that they really enjoy that also happens to earn some money on the side. Whether someone continues to 'work' or not is largely irrelevant to the FIRE message, in my view. Being truly financially independent is a worthwhile goal for anyone. What they do with their life after reaching that goal is up to them, but it's their choice, and they now have the ability to readily choose.
“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J.R.R. Tolkien,The Lord of the Rings

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Re: FIRE - What am I missing in the News Stories

Post by Miguelito » Sun May 19, 2019 11:19 am

I agree with all the comments.

In addition, now in my early 40's, I couldn't fathom not working in my field. I'd love longer vacations, but I dunno what I'd do with my time if I 100% retired now. I have trouble imagining being retired at 50 even if I could do so comfortably. In large part it's because I like my profession, I'm good at it, and the hours are reasonable. But there is a lot of human social interaction in my line of work (projects, meetings, etc.) that I would really miss it.

The psychological elements aside, the trips I'd want to take would be too expensive to take so many of them. I'd simply spend too much money if I weren't busy at work. Hobbies would get expensive fast.I'd have to have many millions put away to feel financially secure at 40 to spend what I'd want to spend without worry. I may honestly need $10M+ to feel that way.

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Re: FIRE - What am I missing in the News Stories

Post by Thesaints » Sun May 19, 2019 11:23 am

KandT wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 8:10 am
What am I missing?
Nothing; you got it 100% right.

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Re: FIRE - What am I missing in the News Stories

Post by willthrill81 » Sun May 19, 2019 11:25 am

Miguelito wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 11:19 am
I agree with all the comments.

In addition, now in my early 40's, I couldn't fathom not working in my field. I'd love longer vacations, but I dunno what I'd do with my time if I 100% retired now. I have trouble imagining being retired at 50 even if I could do so comfortably. In large part it's because I like my profession, I'm good at it, and the hours are reasonable. But there is a lot of human social interaction in my line of work (projects, meetings, etc.) that I would really miss it.

The psychological elements aside, the trips I'd want to take would be too expensive to take so many of them. I'd simply spend too much money if I weren't busy at work. Hobbies would get expensive fast.I'd have to have many millions put away to feel financially secure at 40 to spend what I'd want to spend without worry. I may honestly need $10M+ to feel that way.
I've heard several FIRE folks say that after six months of being on what Todd Tressider calls the "pro leisure circuit," they get bored with it and seek out ways to do things that are more meaningful to themselves and/or others. This often means starting a business, doing charity work, etc.
“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J.R.R. Tolkien,The Lord of the Rings

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Re: FIRE - What am I missing in the News Stories

Post by EddyB » Sun May 19, 2019 11:43 am

KandT wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 8:10 am

What am I missing?
That other people may have different needs, wants, priorities, risk tolerance, and ability or willingness to absorb setbacks and “make do.”

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Re: FIRE - What am I missing in the News Stories

Post by randomguy » Sun May 19, 2019 11:53 am

[quote=Cycle post_id=4551709 time=1558273963 user_id=121535]
If one has an optimized lifestyle, 60-70% net savers can live quite extravagantly.
[/quote]

It is more making a lot of money. Living on 30% of 50k isn't much however you optimize. 30% of 500k is a lot of money.

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Re: FIRE - What am I missing in the News Stories

Post by drk » Sun May 19, 2019 11:53 am

KandT wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 8:10 am
Many say they have retired from their software engineering position and now make coffee at Starbucks. That's not retired.
That is literally retired. We apply the same concept to people who retire from the military, or from sports or other activities. Retiring simply does not mean "never again doing anything for money."

frugalecon
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Re: FIRE - What am I missing in the News Stories

Post by frugalecon » Sun May 19, 2019 11:55 am

One thing that I don't recall having seen discussed in any of the articles about the more extreme version of "lean" or "skinny" FIRE at a very early age is that the person is potentially locking in a very low standard of living many decades in the future, when there may be technological advances that he or she would otherwise want to take advantage of. Given the uncertainty about where we will be as a society and economy, it seems that there is an option value in working longer and accumulating more wealth than you need to live comfortably in the current state of the world. But others may feel differently. I guess that an actionable question/issue is the degree to which uncertainty about future spending should factor into savings thresholds.

I wonder if this "movement" could have even happened without the ACA, which enables some of these people to externalize a lot of their healthcare costs due to the subsidies they receive.

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Re: FIRE - What am I missing in the News Stories

Post by scrabbler1 » Sun May 19, 2019 12:12 pm

As someone who FIREd 11 years ago at age 45, I often get a chuckle from reading these news stories. Often, these FIREees simply downsized to work in other lower-paying but perhaps more enjoyable fields instead of their higher-stress, higher-paying jobs. Others have spouses who work while declaring themselves "FIREd" which to me is not really different from SAHMs or SAHDs. Or they packed it in and greatly downsized their lifestyles compared to what they had before, to the point of not being able to enjoy anything any more.

As for the money one needs, I had 2/3 of just under a $1M portfolio in a 401k and company stock, with 1/3 in taxable. I cashed out the company stock at low tax rates using NUA and reversed the ratio to 2/3 taxable, 1/3 rollover IRA. As long as my taxable gets me to age ~60 intact (only 4 years from now), my "reinforcements" will arrive in the form of the IRA, SS, and my frozen company pension.

I also worked part-time for the last 7 years of my career, gently easing me into a full retirement 11 years ago. I made sure my day-to-day lifestyle was unchanged, an unbreakable condition to FIRE. I doubt my story of someone single with no kids would be of any real interest to the media.

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KandT
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Re: FIRE - What am I missing in the News Stories

Post by KandT » Sun May 19, 2019 12:22 pm

Fallible wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 10:24 am
KandT wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 8:10 am
Seems like there are constant news stories on the FIRE movement. They all seem to say John and Jane saved 70% of their income and maxed out their 401K and now at 35 they have 1.2 million dollars and are retired. ...
I'm not aware of "constant" news stories about people retiring at 35, especially without providing some detail of how they did it. Can you provide an example of one or two articles that have prompted your concerns? Thanks.
https://www.cnbc.com/2019/03/01/more-wo ... ement.html

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/these ... 2018-11-29

https://www.forbes.com/sites/lawrenceli ... 9903cd95a7

https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/20 ... 478332002/

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Re: FIRE - What am I missing in the News Stories

Post by drk » Sun May 19, 2019 12:27 pm

^ It seems like you're self-selecting into having this content in your face by reading those sites.

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KandT
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Re: FIRE - What am I missing in the News Stories

Post by KandT » Sun May 19, 2019 12:39 pm

drk wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 12:27 pm
^ It seems like you're self-selecting into having this content in your face by reading those sites.
You make a good point but I think it is my news feed's AI that is doing the selecting by what I click on. You are right it probably does feel like a constant stream of this news to me but it is selected out based on what I select.

I am actually really curious as to how they did it so I click on it. Hence my question of how it can be done. But there is no magic.

EnjoyIt
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Re: FIRE - What am I missing in the News Stories

Post by EnjoyIt » Sun May 19, 2019 12:41 pm

People have different needs and priorities.
Life isn’t always about having more money and more things. $1.2 million with no debt in a low cost of living area can provide for a very comfortable lifestyle especially now that they can get free ACA healthcare.

Once financially independent these people can do whatever they want. Just sitting at home all day is boring so they travel and may even take on part time work for the social aspect of it. These people don’t necessarily work because they get a few extra bucks which makes a big difference in enjoying the work.

The thing that you are missing is that this type of lifestyle is not the norm and seems strange to the average person. I think it is pleasantly declutering and has potential for a very happy life.

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Re: FIRE - What am I missing in the News Stories

Post by Herekittykitty » Sun May 19, 2019 12:47 pm

KandT wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 8:10 am

......When did taking a job bagging groceries become a thing to aspire too? Many say they have retired from their software engineering position and now make coffee at Starbucks. That's not retired. That's just living on nothing.
There are tons of people that do that.......

......What am I missing?.....
Retiring from a job is indeed retiring. Working after retirement at a different job doesn't negate the fact of retirement from the job from which one retired.

But that's just semantics.

To me, one would need to know whether the person bagging groceries, working at Walmart, or whatever other job along those lines needs the money to make it, or if they just want to get out and do something that gets them a regular schedule, around people, on a team, and so on, and enjoy the fact that they bring in a few bucks for doing it.

Occasionally one reads articles bemoaning the fate of formerly professionally employed formerly well compensated older people now working at Starbucks or something along that line. To me what matters is if they depend on those jobs to sustain themselves and maybe their families, or if they are retired and have the option to do those jobs.

Another possibility is that the person retired too early to get Medicare and didn't take or used up Cobra, prefers not or is unable to get Medicaid or buy insurance on the exchanges, and is working at a job that provides benefits such as health insurance. Or maybe the person is putting all their earned income from bagging groceries into a 401k or an IRA and possibly an IRA for their spouse. Or maybe they are getting all of that - health care, 401k, putting money into an IRA for themselves, and into one for their spouse.

And maybe they like Starbucks anyway and like to make coffee, or like the getting out and exercising aspect of bagging groceries.

Who knows.

But I wouldn't automatically assume that a retired person doing that kind of work doesn't want to be doing it, or that a retired person doing that kind of work has to, or if they have to have some income then don't assume they aren't getting all the additional income they need from one of those jobs and are happier than in their previous work.

Now, if they have no choice, then that is another thing, but that wasn't the point of your question.
I don't know anything.

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Re: FIRE - What am I missing in the News Stories

Post by AerialWombat » Sun May 19, 2019 12:52 pm

whodidntante wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 9:28 am
puts you in a trailer house fixing up your 15 year old Ford
And what's wrong with this???

20 million Americans live in mobile homes. There are 3 billion people living in abject poverty that would love to have that mobile home and 15 year old Ford.

Sorry, but your post comes across (to me, at least) as quite judgemental. Not everybody values the same material things you do.
“Life doesn’t come with a warranty.” -Michael LeBoeuf

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Re: FIRE - What am I missing in the News Stories

Post by Reb Tevye » Sun May 19, 2019 1:10 pm

Ghandi lived austerely with a robe, sandals, a bowl and a spoon.
Smart guy. Good writer. He could have had an awesome blog.

And with the the right brand marketing today could have made a mint.
"So, what would have been so terrible if I had a small fortune?"

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whodidntante
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Re: FIRE - What am I missing in the News Stories

Post by whodidntante » Sun May 19, 2019 1:18 pm

AerialWombat wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 12:52 pm
whodidntante wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 9:28 am
puts you in a trailer house fixing up your 15 year old Ford
And what's wrong with this???

20 million Americans live in mobile homes. There are 3 billion people living in abject poverty that would love to have that mobile home and 15 year old Ford.

Sorry, but your post comes across (to me, at least) as quite judgemental. Not everybody values the same material things you do.
You're right that I generalized my personal standard of living expectations onto others and that my standard is unattainable for billions of people. Sorry about that. The idea I was intending to express is that one million bucks isn't sufficient to provide an early and desirable retirement, at least for me.

JeepDaze
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Re: FIRE - What am I missing in the News Stories

Post by JeepDaze » Sun May 19, 2019 1:33 pm

KandT wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 8:10 am
I guess they think there isn't any stress in low paying jobs but I would argue quite the reverse. Oddly, it seems low paying jobs frequently have lots of stress. It seems they need a class in stress management not a new job bagging groceries.

I am confused. :shock: :shock:
Low paying jobs are stressful for people who don't have a lot of money. For people who have a lot of money, there is little stress over getting laid off or making ends meet with a low paying job.

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Re: FIRE - What am I missing in the News Stories

Post by Fallible » Sun May 19, 2019 2:07 pm

KandT wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 12:22 pm
Fallible wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 10:24 am
KandT wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 8:10 am
Seems like there are constant news stories on the FIRE movement. They all seem to say John and Jane saved 70% of their income and maxed out their 401K and now at 35 they have 1.2 million dollars and are retired. ...
I'm not aware of "constant" news stories about people retiring at 35, especially without providing some detail of how they did it. Can you provide an example of one or two articles that have prompted your concerns? Thanks.
https://www.cnbc.com/2019/03/01/more-wo ... ement.html

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/these ... 2018-11-29

https://www.forbes.com/sites/lawrenceli ... 9903cd95a7

https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/20 ... 478332002/.
Thanks for the links; previously I'd read only one of these. All of them do explain in detail, and with skepticism, the various ways these young people plan or hope to retire very early. I hope there are follow-ups as it will be interesting to know how successful (or not) they've been.
"John Bogle has changed a basic industry in the optimal direction. Of very few can this be said." ~Paul A. Samuelson

visualguy
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Re: FIRE - What am I missing in the News Stories

Post by visualguy » Sun May 19, 2019 2:15 pm

JeepDaze wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 1:33 pm
KandT wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 8:10 am
I guess they think there isn't any stress in low paying jobs but I would argue quite the reverse. Oddly, it seems low paying jobs frequently have lots of stress. It seems they need a class in stress management not a new job bagging groceries.

I am confused. :shock: :shock:
Low paying jobs are stressful for people who don't have a lot of money. For people who have a lot of money, there is little stress over getting laid off or making ends meet with a low paying job.
Right, but all the stress of doing those jobs is still there. I would probably last half a day and lay myself off.

Sam1
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Re: FIRE - What am I missing in the News Stories

Post by Sam1 » Sun May 19, 2019 2:23 pm

visualguy wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 2:15 pm
JeepDaze wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 1:33 pm
KandT wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 8:10 am
I guess they think there isn't any stress in low paying jobs but I would argue quite the reverse. Oddly, it seems low paying jobs frequently have lots of stress. It seems they need a class in stress management not a new job bagging groceries.

I am confused. :shock: :shock:
Low paying jobs are stressful for people who don't have a lot of money. For people who have a lot of money, there is little stress over getting laid off or making ends meet with a low paying job.
Right, but all the stress of doing those jobs is still there. I would probably last half a day and lay myself off.
They are jobs that require you to be on your feet almost the entire shift. That is HARD.

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Re: FIRE - What am I missing in the News Stories

Post by sschullo » Sun May 19, 2019 2:25 pm

I just love the FI and the FIRE movement. It is the 21st-century version of the counter culture movement. My generation also rejected the materialistic world back in the 60s and 70s, but something changed in the 1980s with the borrow and spend!
I think it started with the brilliant Mr. Money Mustache life philosophy, his writings, his wonderful lifestyle, and his gazillion followers. Think about him, he can write effectively about one of the most boring subjects we talk about, frugal living.
We preach around here about cutting back spending, learn to invest without an expensive adviser, and take the financial stress out of your lives. There is a lot of overlap between being an older Boglehead and the FI and FIRE movements. These young people are taking the Boglehead philosophy up a notch or two to not only rejecting the materialistic rat race but to work in the extremely stressful corporate world just long enough, save a ton of money and do something meaningful. They also reject the empty status and unhealthy competition that is involved with a highly successful executive ladder career. My nephew is worth about 15 million and has never taken a day off in all his life. He and his wife have no plans to do something else. Everything he and his wife does has to make a buck, and he is very good obviously at making money. But the FIRE movement was financial independence as its goal, not be a successful prisoner of living to work.
Public School K-12 Educators: "Ask NOT what your annuity sales person can do for you, ask what you can do to be a Do-It-Yourselfer (DIY)."

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alpenglow
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Re: FIRE - What am I missing in the News Stories

Post by alpenglow » Sun May 19, 2019 2:28 pm

There are a lot of blogs that sell an idealized fantasy. FIRE falls into that category for most.

Dink2018
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Re: FIRE - What am I missing in the News Stories

Post by Dink2018 » Sun May 19, 2019 2:32 pm

Lots of these people are full of BS.

They are just selling the idea of FIRE to get to FIRE themselves. Sort of like "how to make money online by selling other people the idea of making money online by selling info about how to make money online"

Notice in the above nothing REAL is actually sold other than HOPE.

It's a an infinite loop. Its the thing about the thing about the thing inside the thing itself.

My .02 if they have under $3m they are just delusional that their money will last. If their side hustle is selling you on FIRE then that's just it, another business. I'm not saying the advice doesn't help people or get people motivated or on the right track. But the idea that if you have $1m in your 30's is "SET FOR LIFE" is totally a joke. $10m in your 30's that's another story.

I've seen some people talk about fire bc they have $250k (haha, what a freaking joke) unless you are going to live in Myanmar then $250k is absolutely nothing in the long term.

Other posters have mentioned its the media effect of sensationalism. Totally true, the algos are built for that.

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AerialWombat
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Re: FIRE - What am I missing in the News Stories

Post by AerialWombat » Sun May 19, 2019 2:42 pm

Dink2018 wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 2:32 pm
But the idea that if you have $1m in your 30's is "SET FOR LIFE" is totally a joke.
Not everyone aspires to *your* lifestyle standard.

$1 million at my AA and my lifestyle would last me forever, likely leaving far more than the $1 million to my favorite charity upon my death.
“Life doesn’t come with a warranty.” -Michael LeBoeuf

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willthrill81
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Re: FIRE - What am I missing in the News Stories

Post by willthrill81 » Sun May 19, 2019 2:53 pm

Dink2018 wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 2:32 pm
My .02 if they have under $3m they are just delusional that their money will last.
It sounds like you and Suze Orman would get along great.

Most American households survive just fine for many years on incomes of far less than $90k annually ($3 million x 3% perpetual withdrawal rate). Millions do it on under $40k. My wife and I lived for four years on ~$15k and were happy as clams.
“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J.R.R. Tolkien,The Lord of the Rings

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rob
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Re: FIRE - What am I missing in the News Stories

Post by rob » Sun May 19, 2019 3:12 pm

Meh... It's all in the details and while this is not everyone...
- Often there are no kids
- Often it's a ultra frugal lifestyle
- Often that is in low cost parts of the world
- Often there is some income from travel blogging or how to do what we are doing or advertising kick backs

That's great for the people that can do it but it's hardly possible for the majority of people.
| Rob | Its a dangerous business going out your front door. - J.R.R.Tolkien

visualguy
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Re: FIRE - What am I missing in the News Stories

Post by visualguy » Sun May 19, 2019 3:13 pm

willthrill81 wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 2:53 pm
Dink2018 wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 2:32 pm
My .02 if they have under $3m they are just delusional that their money will last.
It sounds like you and Suze Orman would get along great.

Most American households survive just fine for many years on incomes of far less than $90k annually ($3 million x 3% perpetual withdrawal rate). Millions do it on under $40k. My wife and I lived for four years on ~$15k and were happy as clams.
There are multiple "Americas" with radically different cost of living, so it doesn't make sense to talk about how much you need without stating the particular location.

$40K barely pays the rent on a 2-bedroom apartment in my area.

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willthrill81
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Re: FIRE - What am I missing in the News Stories

Post by willthrill81 » Sun May 19, 2019 3:15 pm

visualguy wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 3:13 pm
willthrill81 wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 2:53 pm
Dink2018 wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 2:32 pm
My .02 if they have under $3m they are just delusional that their money will last.
It sounds like you and Suze Orman would get along great.

Most American households survive just fine for many years on incomes of far less than $90k annually ($3 million x 3% perpetual withdrawal rate). Millions do it on under $40k. My wife and I lived for four years on ~$15k and were happy as clams.
There are multiple "Americas" with radically different cost of living, so it doesn't make sense to talk about how much you need without stating the particular location.

$40K barely pays the rent on a 2-bedroom apartment in my area.
And that's the problem with statements like 'retiring with less than $3 million is delusional.' $40k in San Francisco may mean living in a van by the river. In many other places in the country, you can live well on such an income. Justin at www.rootofgood.com has spent less than $40k for the last 5-6 year with a family of five, and they travel internationally regularly, though they are certainly frugal.
“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J.R.R. Tolkien,The Lord of the Rings

stoptothink
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Re: FIRE - What am I missing in the News Stories

Post by stoptothink » Sun May 19, 2019 3:23 pm

willthrill81 wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 2:53 pm
Dink2018 wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 2:32 pm
My .02 if they have under $3m they are just delusional that their money will last.
It sounds like you and Suze Orman would get along great.

Most American households survive just fine for many years on incomes of far less than $90k annually ($3 million x 3% perpetual withdrawal rate). Millions do it on under $40k. My wife and I lived for four years on ~$15k and were happy as clams.
If we maintain our current lifestyle/expenses, wife and I will be able to pretty safely FIRE in the next handful of years (we're 38 and 33), but I don't see us actually retiring before we hit 50 (for a number of reasons). We'll likely have several times what we need to safely retire before we actually do. I do totally agree with the sentiment that most of the FIRE culture is smoke and mirrors and Dink2018 stated it very well:

"They are just selling the idea of FIRE to get to FIRE themselves. Sort of like "how to make money online by selling other people the idea of making money online by selling info about how to make money online"

That being said, you have to roll your eyes at the other statement. There are plenty of us here who are actually quite successful (for us, $200k+ HHI) but have low household expenses. We're at ~$45k/yr for a family of 4 and this includes reocurring expenses that are nearly done: 15yr mortgage (paid off in ~3yrs), full-time daycare for son (done in a year), and cash-flowing wife's tuition (1 more year). $90k/yr in expenses is pretty extravagant for the majority of families in this country, and few of them are eating cat food. There is actually life outside of the Bay Area, Seattle, and NYC.
Last edited by stoptothink on Sun May 19, 2019 3:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

stoptothink
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Re: FIRE - What am I missing in the News Stories

Post by stoptothink » Sun May 19, 2019 3:25 pm

visualguy wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 3:13 pm
willthrill81 wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 2:53 pm
Dink2018 wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 2:32 pm
My .02 if they have under $3m they are just delusional that their money will last.
It sounds like you and Suze Orman would get along great.

Most American households survive just fine for many years on incomes of far less than $90k annually ($3 million x 3% perpetual withdrawal rate). Millions do it on under $40k. My wife and I lived for four years on ~$15k and were happy as clams.
There are multiple "Americas" with radically different cost of living, so it doesn't make sense to talk about how much you need without stating the particular location.

$40K barely pays the rent on a 2-bedroom apartment in my area.
...but it supports a family decently in a lot of the country. It's pointless making broad generalizations like Dink did; that statement is ridiculous for more than half of the households in this country.

visualguy
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Re: FIRE - What am I missing in the News Stories

Post by visualguy » Sun May 19, 2019 3:26 pm

willthrill81 wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 3:15 pm
visualguy wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 3:13 pm
willthrill81 wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 2:53 pm
Dink2018 wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 2:32 pm
My .02 if they have under $3m they are just delusional that their money will last.
It sounds like you and Suze Orman would get along great.

Most American households survive just fine for many years on incomes of far less than $90k annually ($3 million x 3% perpetual withdrawal rate). Millions do it on under $40k. My wife and I lived for four years on ~$15k and were happy as clams.
There are multiple "Americas" with radically different cost of living, so it doesn't make sense to talk about how much you need without stating the particular location.

$40K barely pays the rent on a 2-bedroom apartment in my area.
And that's the problem with statements like 'retiring with less than $3 million is delusional.' $40k in San Francisco may mean living in a van by the river. In many other places in the country, you can live well on such an income. Justin at www.rootofgood.com has spent less than $40k for the last 5-6 year with a family of five, and they travel internationally regularly, though they are certainly frugal.
It's delusional in some parts of the country, but not others (or if you go to some places abroad). It is important to remember, though, that a significant percentage of people in the US live in high cost of living areas. Maybe a third.

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