For those who are FI: At what point did you begin to relax?

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Ed_Sandwich
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For those who are FI: At what point did you begin to relax?

Post by Ed_Sandwich » Sat Oct 19, 2019 8:39 am

Wife and I are in our late 30s in HCOL. We are working toward FI and my motivation is mostly fear. I grew up with parents who had money troubles despite a high middle class income, and I don't want to have that anxiety in our life. We are DI2K and our net worth is about 30% of the way to FI. Kids are under 5 years old.

So far it seems like my anxiety about having enough has been pretty steady. For those of you who have made it to financial Independence at what point did you begin to feel like you can relax about money and not constantly worried and under pressure? I'm going through a fairly negative time at work but I still feel like I can't truly speak my mind and "be myself" yet.

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climber2020
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Re: For those who are FI: At what point did you begin to relax?

Post by climber2020 » Sat Oct 19, 2019 8:49 am

I arbitrarily set up 3 levels of financial independence for myself: stage 1 (bare bones living expenses), stage 2 (comfortable, but no fancy vacations), and stage 3 (can quit forever and likely be fine).

Once I reached stage 2, I cut back on my work hours and my general stress level declined significantly. I speak my mind freely and say no to things I don't want to do. It's awesome.

mptfan
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Re: For those who are FI: At what point did you begin to relax?

Post by mptfan » Sat Oct 19, 2019 8:50 am

What is DI2K? Is this a common acronym that I should know? I googled it and got nothing. Why do so many people use random acronyms, do they not realize that some people do not know what they are supposed to mean? Am I expected to do research to figure out what you are trying to say? Is it so hard to type out the words?

NoFred
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Re: For those who are FI: At what point did you begin to relax?

Post by NoFred » Sat Oct 19, 2019 8:58 am

climber2020 wrote:
Sat Oct 19, 2019 8:49 am
I arbitrarily set up 3 levels of financial independence for myself: stage 1 (bare bones living expenses), stage 2 (comfortable, but no fancy vacations), and stage 3 (can quit forever and likely be fine).

Once I reached stage 2, I cut back on my work hours and my general stress level declined significantly. I speak my mind freely and say no to things I don't want to do. It's awesome.
I took this approach with another stage “2.5” that’s where I’m at now and is focused on having fun on the way to stage 3.

ETA: I assume it’s Dual Income 2 Kids
-NoFred

Cycle
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Re: For those who are FI: At what point did you begin to relax?

Post by Cycle » Sat Oct 19, 2019 9:07 am

There are some levers you can pull to reduce your anxiety. Not having rent or any loans. Having multiple income streams would be another. Our rental income or 4% of our assets cover our expenses, so FI, but not fat FI.

Just bc I'm FI hasn't changed anything for me work-wise. The negative aspects of big project work at megacorp aren't mitigated by the fact I don't need to show up. I've considered switching to a startup, but I like just working 40 or less hrs a week and being in a low stress environment.

The grass isnt always greener on the other side of FI. It may be greener on the other side of FIRE... I wouldn't know.

I googled di2k... No idea what that is.
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Re: For those who are FI: At what point did you begin to relax?

Post by whodidntante » Sat Oct 19, 2019 9:07 am

mptfan wrote:
Sat Oct 19, 2019 8:50 am
What is DI2K? Is this a common acronym that I should know? I googled it and got nothing. Why do so many people use random acronyms, do they not realize that some people do not know what they are supposed to mean? Am I expected to do research to figure out what you are trying to say? Is it so hard to type out the words?
DINK is one I've heard before. So the OP's creativity didn't chap my behind.

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Re: For those who are FI: At what point did you begin to relax?

Post by 7eight9 » Sat Oct 19, 2019 9:10 am

mptfan wrote:
Sat Oct 19, 2019 8:50 am
What is DI2K? Is this a common acronym that I should know? I googled it and got nothing. Why do so many people use random acronyms, do they not realize that some people do not know what they are supposed to mean? Am I expected to do research to figure out what you are trying to say? Is it so hard to type out the words?
DINK = Double Income No Kids - Term coined in the 1980s. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DINK_(acronym)

DI2K = best guess would be a variant (i.e. Double Income Two Kids)
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Re: For those who are FI: At what point did you begin to relax?

Post by fujiters » Sat Oct 19, 2019 9:11 am

mptfan wrote:
Sat Oct 19, 2019 8:50 am
What is DI2K? Is this a common acronym that I should know? I googled it and got nothing. Why do so many people use random acronyms, do they not realize that some people do not know what they are supposed to mean? Am I expected to do research to figure out what you are trying to say? Is it so hard to type out the words?
Dual income 2 kids. It's a refrain on the more common DINK=dual income no kids.

I'm about 2 years from climber2020's stage 2 (FI if we cut back and spend no more than a couple thousand on travel a year). I'm still very anxious about money, but I've become more willing to speak my mind at work and avoid people and projects that are unpleasant.

I suspect the money anxiety will follow me into retirement. It's clearly a personal trait I've had for years and which other people of lesser means don't struggle with. I wonder if this is the case with most high savers.
“The purpose of the margin of safety is to render the forecast unnecessary.” -Benjamin Graham

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Re: For those who are FI: At what point did you begin to relax?

Post by HomeStretch » Sat Oct 19, 2019 9:12 am

Spouse and I in a HCOL area began to relax when one salary (we both worked) grew enough to cover our living expenses (including house and kid expenses). The other (about equal) salary covered savings and lumpy expenses.

Spouse had financial anxiety for a long time (both had primary breadwinner parents who had prolonged unemployment in their late 40s/early 50s). What helped minimize anxiety was to review a monthly listing of each asset and liability (our mortgage) so spouse could see our progress and savings.

We paid off our mortgage early which seemed to completely eliminate spouse’s anxiety which stemmed mainly from fear of job loss. When the feared bogeyman (job loss) occurred later and life went on with just my salary (temporarily), it didn’t bother spouse too much.
Last edited by HomeStretch on Sat Oct 19, 2019 9:16 am, edited 1 time in total.

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ram
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Re: For those who are FI: At what point did you begin to relax?

Post by ram » Sat Oct 19, 2019 9:14 am

mptfan wrote:
Sat Oct 19, 2019 8:50 am
What is DI2K? Is this a common acronym that I should know? I googled it and got nothing. Why do so many people use random acronyms, do they not realize that some people do not know what they are supposed to mean? Am I expected to do research to figure out what you are trying to say? Is it so hard to type out the words?
DINK= Double Income. No Kids. (Is this a common acronym that I should know? : Yes)

DI2K = Saw it first time. But easy to understand that it is 2 kids.
Ram

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Re: For those who are FI: At what point did you begin to relax?

Post by Hockey10 » Sat Oct 19, 2019 9:15 am

I began to relax the day I drove home from Megacorp for the final time.

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Re: For those who are FI: At what point did you begin to relax?

Post by TomatoTomahto » Sat Oct 19, 2019 9:27 am

I relaxed years ago, but I don’t think my wife relaxed until recently. She continues to work, but it’s because she a) enjoys her job and b) feels responsibility (I don’t) to provide a safety net for a large extended family. Not that I wouldn’t help out family, but what are the odds that every one of them will require backstopping?

I do find it reassuring that she continues to earn at a high level and I am more liberal with purchases. I would, tbh, prefer that she retire, but as a loving spouse, I support her in her choices.
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Re: For those who are FI: At what point did you begin to relax?

Post by RadAudit » Sat Oct 19, 2019 9:31 am

Ed_Sandwich wrote:
Sat Oct 19, 2019 8:39 am
For those of you who have made it to financial Independence at what point did you begin to feel like you can relax about money and not constantly worried and under pressure?
I'm not sure you really want to know; but, here goes. I'm 72. ...

When did I relax? Hasn't happened, yet. Different concerns. A little less pressure....

Short story long. If you are a worrier, there is always something to worry about - even if the numbers say something different. You can always be under pressure if you want to be. YMMV. Best of luck.

Edited - because, oh phoo, the details don't matter.
Last edited by RadAudit on Sat Oct 19, 2019 9:35 am, edited 2 times in total.
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ram
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Re: For those who are FI: At what point did you begin to relax?

Post by ram » Sat Oct 19, 2019 9:33 am

climber2020 wrote:
Sat Oct 19, 2019 8:49 am
I arbitrarily set up 3 levels of financial independence for myself: stage 1 (bare bones living expenses), stage 2 (comfortable, but no fancy vacations), and stage 3 (can quit forever and likely be fine).

Once I reached stage 2, I cut back on my work hours and my general stress level declined significantly. I speak my mind freely and say no to things I don't want to do. It's awesome.
I have a variation on this concept.
If 5% withdrawal rate (WR) was a safe withdrawal rate (SWR) then we would be retired today.
I am at 5% WR stage and that is enough to make me slow down and smell the roses. Will likely hold current speed till reaching 4% WR and then slow down further to a projected 3.33% WR at retirement.
Last edited by ram on Sat Oct 19, 2019 9:34 am, edited 1 time in total.
Ram

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Re: For those who are FI: At what point did you begin to relax?

Post by crre » Sat Oct 19, 2019 9:33 am

the day i realized i was at climber2020's stage 1 is the day i started to relax. slightly more relaxed with each stage, and completely relaxed the day youngest kid got her first job.

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Re: For those who are FI: At what point did you begin to relax?

Post by AerialWombat » Sat Oct 19, 2019 9:46 am

I grew up in poverty, and have spent several years of my adult life homeless. I’m two months away from pulling the rip cord to semi-retirement, and I will never relax. I have seven different income streams, each of which can independently support me, and I still worry. It will never change, even after I hit my stage 3 number, to continue the theme of the thread.

I think what matters is what you do with the worry. I acknowledge it, recognize that I’ve put myself in a good position, and try to enjoy life.
“Life doesn’t come with a warranty.” -Michael LeBoeuf

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Re: For those who are FI: At what point did you begin to relax?

Post by onourway » Sat Oct 19, 2019 9:51 am

I think a huge part of reducing anxiety before full FI is keeping expenses low relative to your income and holding little to no debt.

So while we are pretty well at ‘lean’ FI, what matters more to me is that we have no consumer debt, and a mortgage we could easily afford on one income, or pretty much any income for that matter. So while we have the security of two (secure) jobs right now, it’s really the low expenses that make us able to relax.

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Svensk Anga
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Re: For those who are FI: At what point did you begin to relax?

Post by Svensk Anga » Sat Oct 19, 2019 12:00 pm

Age 48 getting the mortgage paid off helped a lot. That was 2007 and it sure was comforting to go through 2008/09 without a mortgage payment or any other debt service for that matter. My salary was substantially higher than my DW's, but I figured if my job evaporated, we could get by reasonably well on just her income. Our future lifestyle might be a bit constrained relative to previous expectations without my salary, but there would be no dramatic disruption.

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Re: For those who are FI: At what point did you begin to relax?

Post by Atomic » Sat Oct 19, 2019 12:01 pm

OP, for what it's worth, we're 40ish DI2K and have been tracking overall debt, investments and net worth since 2005. We've increased savings rate to the 30-40% range over that time. While still not to 'the number' I would consider FI, we've been steadily gaining. I put the numbers into the https://networthify.com calculator annually in January and it seems like the RE part could be possible as early as age 50, and that seems too soon. With the slow progress tracking ahead of goal, I began to relax about 2015, a decade into the data collection when net worth was 1/2 of what it is now, and still a fraction of the FI threshold. My advice, relax when you are on track to meet your goals.

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Re: For those who are FI: At what point did you begin to relax?

Post by VictoriaF » Sat Oct 19, 2019 12:07 pm

The best approach to your financial life, and life in general, is not to be stressed or relaxed, but to be in control. Have a good strategy, troubleshoot your strategy against known unknowns, aim for antifragility against unknown unknowns, and monitor your progress. Studies show that people in the most dare circumstances feel better when they have a plan. Likewise, financially secure people lose their assets after making behavioral mistakes.

Good luck,
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Re: For those who are FI: At what point did you begin to relax?

Post by GerryL » Sat Oct 19, 2019 12:39 pm

I was already ... um, mature, when I started the job I would retire from 21 years later, and was coming off 18 months of being unemployed. So the possibility of losing my income too soon was always in the back of my mind.

I built a spreadsheet that allowed me to gauge and forecast my progress in building my portfolio using several scenarios (save $n annually with x% growth). Then Megacorp started going through rough times and the possibility of job loss was very real. I added another set of scenarios to the spreadsheet: save $0 annually. The calculations showed that if I lost my lucrative job and could find a subsistence-wage job, my investments would take care of retirement. That knowledge eased my mind.

I managed to keep my job and retired a year earlier than planned. Ironically, when I had a financial plan run shortly before retirement and learned I had way more than I needed, I found that news unsettling. Great, but unsettling.

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Re: For those who are FI: At what point did you begin to relax?

Post by themuse » Sat Oct 19, 2019 12:57 pm

Stay hungry and stay a little worried. It's obviously not the same as being anxious and stressed, but nothing wrong with some level of staying under the radar.

The phases being referenced are interesting but my input is that they often are not sequential. I don't want to wait till I'm phase 2 to have fancy vacations as the kids might be all grown up etc. So you will straddle the boundaries as you go through...sometimes moving back, but you will know when you have broken through, so to speak.

We have one extreme plan (move to a LCOL area and have a paid off home, monthly expenses plus health insurance taken care off and nothing else - no education support for kids, no world travel etc) -- everything else is on top.

I also haven't really experienced FI phases allowing me to speak my mind at work or say no to projects. I have found that has gotten better come with more seniority than anything else. It never goes away...the CEO has to cater to the Board, the Board has to deal with institutional investors, the institutions have to deal with Bogleheads etc.
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Re: For those who are FI: At what point did you begin to relax?

Post by LilyFleur » Sat Oct 19, 2019 5:16 pm

RadAudit wrote:
Sat Oct 19, 2019 9:31 am
Ed_Sandwich wrote:
Sat Oct 19, 2019 8:39 am
For those of you who have made it to financial Independence at what point did you begin to feel like you can relax about money and not constantly worried and under pressure?
I'm not sure you really want to know; but, here goes. I'm 72. ...

When did I relax? Hasn't happened, yet. Different concerns. A little less pressure....

Short story long. If you are a worrier, there is always something to worry about - even if the numbers say something different. You can always be under pressure if you want to be. YMMV. Best of luck.

Edited - because, oh phoo, the details don't matter.
I agree. Depending on your family of origin and their relationship with money, and your own psychological makeup, your mileage will vary. Some folks will never have "enough."

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Re: For those who are FI: At what point did you begin to relax?

Post by delamer » Sat Oct 19, 2019 5:35 pm

When we had enough savings and pension income to cover basic expenses, college costs for 2 kids, and an affordable, secure source of health insurance for the family for the indefinite future (taking into account expected Social Security).

For me, age 56.

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Re: For those who are FI: At what point did you begin to relax?

Post by Doom&Gloom » Sat Oct 19, 2019 5:59 pm

I was born relaxed.

But if I were a worrier and had two young kids, I would be sure I had a good long-term plan in place, check it periodically (not daily!), reassure myself that I had done the financially necessary things, and enjoy my family! I would not let this FI obsession rule my life.

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Re: For those who are FI: At what point did you begin to relax?

Post by goodenyou » Sat Oct 19, 2019 6:13 pm

I began to relax when I reached a 3% SWR rate. My wife went back to work after being a SAH mom for many years. She has an advanced degree with high income potential. She now works making a high income and likes her job although we can live off a fraction of my income. Kids are older, in college and all college costs are covered. House paid off. No debt. We can relax. However, since she is now working, she's prohibiting me from retiring :D Things are much more relaxed since we have "enough", but choose to continue to keep active with our skills and keep working. Knowing you don't have to work makes work more pleasant. We plan on building a home in another city that will allow us to age in place. It will be much more expensive than our current home, but we plan to pay cash for it. Mortgage-free life is relaxing.
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Re: For those who are FI: At what point did you begin to relax?

Post by dcw213 » Sat Oct 19, 2019 6:24 pm

mptfan wrote:
Sat Oct 19, 2019 8:50 am
What is DI2K? Is this a common acronym that I should know? I googled it and got nothing. Why do so many people use random acronyms, do they not realize that some people do not know what they are supposed to mean? Am I expected to do research to figure out what you are trying to say? Is it so hard to type out the words?
Pretty easy to figure out if you bothered to google. This is an online message board, people use acronyms. Calm down.

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Re: For those who are FI: At what point did you begin to relax?

Post by marcopolo » Sat Oct 19, 2019 6:53 pm

Ed_Sandwich wrote:
Sat Oct 19, 2019 8:39 am
Wife and I are in our late 30s in HCOL. We are working toward FI and my motivation is mostly fear. I grew up with parents who had money troubles despite a high middle class income, and I don't want to have that anxiety in our life. We are DI2K and our net worth is about 30% of the way to FI. Kids are under 5 years old.

So far it seems like my anxiety about having enough has been pretty steady. For those of you who have made it to financial Independence at what point did you begin to feel like you can relax about money and not constantly worried and under pressure? I'm going through a fairly negative time at work but I still feel like I can't truly speak my mind and "be myself" yet.
I only had a brief period of time when I was not relaxed.

Most of my life, I was too busy living, raising a family, busing a career to worry, or even think about FI or retirement. We just lived our life and socked away the leftover.

Then one day in my late 40s, started thinking about what the next stage in life might hold. Through some hard work, and mostly good fortune, it turned out we were pretty much FI already without having given it much thought.

Spent a few more years thinking about what we wanted to do next, and setting our lives and finances up to support that. Pulled the plug on my career a couple years ago (at age 51), and have not looked back.

IMHO, Life is too short to spend so much time worrying.

Good luck to you.
Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right.

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Re: For those who are FI: At what point did you begin to relax?

Post by TCB » Sat Oct 19, 2019 8:14 pm

dcw213 wrote:
Sat Oct 19, 2019 6:24 pm
mptfan wrote:
Sat Oct 19, 2019 8:50 am
What is DI2K? Is this a common acronym that I should know? I googled it and got nothing. Why do so many people use random acronyms, do they not realize that some people do not know what they are supposed to mean? Am I expected to do research to figure out what you are trying to say? Is it so hard to type out the words?
Pretty easy to figure out if you bothered to google. This is an online message board, people use acronyms. Calm down.
I’m with mptfan on this. I’d guess that 98% of acronyms make EVERY reader of your message:
1. Stop
2. Re-read the letters
3. Attempt to make sense of it, and then either:
A. Accept that they’re not going to waste more time so they assume it’s meaning based on context
B. Google it
C. Attempt to put the googled definition back into the context of the original message
D. If C is unsuccessful, ask other readers what the definition is.

All because the sender did not want to type out “Your mileage may vary” or
“If I recall correctly”, or whatever words took too long to write out.

At the very least, it is a jolt to the momentum of the reading experience.

I have a copy of a hand-written letter that my grandfather wrote in the 1940’s to his daughter (my aunt). It was written in cursive, and every word was spelled out completely. He was a working man who got his hands dirty, but I can picture him sitting at his kitchen table, getting out the paper & pen, and really taking his time to communicate properly the goings-on of the day.

There’s something of that that we’ve lost along the way.

I suppose this is actionable in that if we all act to communicate properly what we mean with full, complete words, we exponentially reduce the total time wasted by others who have to look up letters.

Thank you. End of rant.

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Re: For those who are FI: At what point did you begin to relax?

Post by 7eight9 » Sat Oct 19, 2019 8:19 pm

TCB wrote:
Sat Oct 19, 2019 8:14 pm
dcw213 wrote:
Sat Oct 19, 2019 6:24 pm
mptfan wrote:
Sat Oct 19, 2019 8:50 am
What is DI2K? Is this a common acronym that I should know? I googled it and got nothing. Why do so many people use random acronyms, do they not realize that some people do not know what they are supposed to mean? Am I expected to do research to figure out what you are trying to say? Is it so hard to type out the words?
Pretty easy to figure out if you bothered to google. This is an online message board, people use acronyms. Calm down.
I’m with mptfan on this. I’d guess that 98% of acronyms make EVERY reader of your message:
1. Stop
2. Re-read the letters
3. Attempt to make sense of it, and then either:
A. Accept that they’re not going to waste more time so they assume it’s meaning based on context
B. Google it
C. Attempt to put the googled definition back into the context of the original message
D. If C is unsuccessful, ask other readers what the definition is.

All because the sender did not want to type out “Your mileage may vary” or
“If I recall correctly”, or whatever words took too long to write out.

At the very least, it is a jolt to the momentum of the reading experience.

I have a copy of a hand-written letter that my grandfather wrote in the 1940’s to his daughter (my aunt). It was written in cursive, and every word was spelled out completely. He was a working man who got his hands dirty, but I can picture him sitting at his kitchen table, getting out the paper & pen, and really taking his time to communicate properly the goings-on of the day.

There’s something of that that we’ve lost along the way.

I suppose this is actionable in that if we all act to communicate properly what we mean with full, complete words, we exponentially reduce the total time wasted by others who have to look up letters.

Thank you. End of rant.
TLDR :happy
I guess it all could be much worse. | They could be warming up my hearse.

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Re: For those who are FI: At what point did you begin to relax?

Post by wolf359 » Sat Oct 19, 2019 9:26 pm

mptfan wrote:
Sat Oct 19, 2019 8:50 am
What is DI2K? Is this a common acronym that I should know? I googled it and got nothing. Why do so many people use random acronyms, do they not realize that some people do not know what they are supposed to mean? Am I expected to do research to figure out what you are trying to say? Is it so hard to type out the words?
DI2K - Double Income 2 kids
DINK - Double Income No Kids
SINK - Single Income No Kids
SUNK - Starving. Unemployed. No Kids.

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Re: For those who are FI: At what point did you begin to relax?

Post by EddyB » Sat Oct 19, 2019 10:21 pm

7eight9 wrote:
Sat Oct 19, 2019 8:19 pm
TCB wrote:
Sat Oct 19, 2019 8:14 pm
dcw213 wrote:
Sat Oct 19, 2019 6:24 pm
mptfan wrote:
Sat Oct 19, 2019 8:50 am
What is DI2K? Is this a common acronym that I should know? I googled it and got nothing. Why do so many people use random acronyms, do they not realize that some people do not know what they are supposed to mean? Am I expected to do research to figure out what you are trying to say? Is it so hard to type out the words?
Pretty easy to figure out if you bothered to google. This is an online message board, people use acronyms. Calm down.
I’m with mptfan on this. I’d guess that 98% of acronyms make EVERY reader of your message:
1. Stop
2. Re-read the letters
3. Attempt to make sense of it, and then either:
A. Accept that they’re not going to waste more time so they assume it’s meaning based on context
B. Google it
C. Attempt to put the googled definition back into the context of the original message
D. If C is unsuccessful, ask other readers what the definition is.

All because the sender did not want to type out “Your mileage may vary” or
“If I recall correctly”, or whatever words took too long to write out.

At the very least, it is a jolt to the momentum of the reading experience.

I have a copy of a hand-written letter that my grandfather wrote in the 1940’s to his daughter (my aunt). It was written in cursive, and every word was spelled out completely. He was a working man who got his hands dirty, but I can picture him sitting at his kitchen table, getting out the paper & pen, and really taking his time to communicate properly the goings-on of the day.

There’s something of that that we’ve lost along the way.

I suppose this is actionable in that if we all act to communicate properly what we mean with full, complete words, we exponentially reduce the total time wasted by others who have to look up letters.

Thank you. End of rant.
TLDR :happy
Does that stand for “get off my lawn”?

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2pedals
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Re: For those who are FI: At what point did you begin to relax?

Post by 2pedals » Sat Oct 19, 2019 11:29 pm

Sorry, I have FI but don't know how to relax. It must be part of who I am.

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Re: For those who are FI: At what point did you begin to relax?

Post by flyingaway » Sun Oct 20, 2019 1:12 am

Just yesterday, when I started to relax at a casino (and will continue).

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Re: For those who are FI: At what point did you begin to relax?

Post by Dottie57 » Sun Oct 20, 2019 10:00 am

VictoriaF wrote:
Sat Oct 19, 2019 12:07 pm
The best approach to your financial life, and life in general, is not to be stressed or relaxed, but to be in control. Have a good strategy, troubleshoot your strategy against known unknowns, aim for antifragility against unknown unknowns, and monitor your progress. Studies show that people in the most dare circumstances feel better when they have a plan. Likewise, financially secure people lose their assets after making behavioral mistakes.

Good luck,
Victoria
This is excellent advice.

At a minimum gather up all of your spending (checkbook, cc etc) and determine the year’s spending. Even better break it into categories. Know when your mortgage is paid off and your cash flow needs go down. Some of your taxes will not exist in retirement like SS and medicare tax. Some will go down because income sources are different - income taxes , retirement savings and health care.

Think through all of the differences in your income and expenses and it should help you calm down.

Best wishes to OP.

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Re: For those who are FI: At what point did you begin to relax?

Post by goodenyou » Sun Oct 20, 2019 10:33 am

Fear is a strong motivator. For me, knowing that I didn't have a backstop to financial problems in my life (because my parents were not well-off), motivated me to avoid overspending and encouraged me to have financial discipline. I moved to a place that was less desirable (LCOL) for geographic arbitrage in order to climb out of debt and secure FI in the shortest time possible. I believe I have achieved that goal. I doubt I could have done it elsewhere when I compare my situation to others my age in my field. Were there downsides to that decision? Probably. But, having FI and freedom to choose without being in debt has cleared my mind in a way that is much important to me than living in a "highly desirable" place. I think of it as delayed gratification. It is often crudely referred to here and in other places as "FU" money. You may benefit from living in a lower cost of living place with decreasing spending and increasing saving rates.
"Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge" | Do you know how to make a rain dance work? Dance until it rains.

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Re: For those who are FI: At what point did you begin to relax?

Post by J295 » Sun Oct 20, 2019 11:08 am

Totally relaxed about money (but not relaxed at that time about work) a year before I transitioned out of full-time work. I was 52 at the time.

Regarding acronyms… they are fine… Honestly it wasn’t rocket science to figure out this one… If it really rankles you when you see an acronym just move along

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Re: For those who are FI: At what point did you begin to relax?

Post by pyld76 » Sun Oct 20, 2019 11:12 am

climber2020 wrote:
Sat Oct 19, 2019 8:49 am
I arbitrarily set up 3 levels of financial independence for myself: stage 1 (bare bones living expenses), stage 2 (comfortable, but no fancy vacations), and stage 3 (can quit forever and likely be fine).

Once I reached stage 2, I cut back on my work hours and my general stress level declined significantly. I speak my mind freely and say no to things I don't want to do. It's awesome.
I’ve had a very similar strategy.

DW and I are dual income, no children. In our 40s, we are past stage 1 “for life” (if we both become unemployed forever and assuming a 3% SWR, we can keep ourselves off cat food for life. If we assume her pension is delivered as promised (state based) OR that social security will be around it something approaching the current form thereof, we are well into stage 2 if we both become unemployed and never work again.

Once we reached stage 1, I didn’t really relax. Once we reached stage 2 under a reasonable set of assumptions, I had a very similar reaction to climber2020–my stress level at work has declined a bunch. However, ironically (or, perhaps for being a BH participant, predictably) I then started “moving the goalposts” on the actual stages and considering really far-out edge cases like:

1. What if we don’t see a dime in social security?
2. What if DW’s pension fails to materialize?
3. Is it prudent to plan for an SWR of 1%, a variable withdrawal strategy, etc?

I’m not certain I’ll ever be worry-free. But I also recognize that this kind of optimization worry is the very definition of a “first world problem.” After getting to stage 1, As I consider our lot in life relative to the country or planet, my “worry” shifts to how I can better fund the DAF and the charities we give to, because other people have far more concrete things to “worry” about than we do.

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Re: For those who are FI: At what point did you begin to relax?

Post by Broken Man 1999 » Sun Oct 20, 2019 12:46 pm

I relaxed when I saw my lump-sum pension amount appear in my Vanguard IRA. Balance got a good bump up.

At that point, I no longer worried about what MegaCorp could/would do to my pension. It had been frozen for nine years prior to me taking pension in 2015. Fortunately I was 100% vested in my pension, so no loss. Still, the shenanigans corporate America sometimes pull on their retired employees made me feel much more secure when I had the pension money in my IRA.

Broken Man 1999
“If I cannot drink Bourbon and smoke cigars in Heaven than I shall not go. " -Mark Twain

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Re: For those who are FI: At what point did you begin to relax?

Post by TomatoTomahto » Sun Oct 20, 2019 1:29 pm

Regarding acronyms, I usually try to spell them out the first time they appear in my post (eg, Liability Matching Portfolio (LMP)), but some are used so often on BH (that’s Bogleheads), that it feels precious. For example, the thread title, or LCOL, HCOL, AA, RMDs, etc.

DI2K took a tiny tiny moment, wondering if it was a typo of DINK, but context won.
Okay, I get it; I won't be political or controversial. The Earth is flat.

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Re: For those who are FI: At what point did you begin to relax?

Post by Starfish » Sun Oct 20, 2019 1:50 pm

TCB wrote:
Sat Oct 19, 2019 8:14 pm
dcw213 wrote:
Sat Oct 19, 2019 6:24 pm
mptfan wrote:
Sat Oct 19, 2019 8:50 am
What is DI2K? Is this a common acronym that I should know? I googled it and got nothing. Why do so many people use random acronyms, do they not realize that some people do not know what they are supposed to mean? Am I expected to do research to figure out what you are trying to say? Is it so hard to type out the words?
Pretty easy to figure out if you bothered to google. This is an online message board, people use acronyms. Calm down.
I’m with mptfan on this. I’d guess that 98% of acronyms make EVERY reader of your message:

1. Stop
2. Re-read the letters
Nope, I assure you none of this is true for most people who have been on BH for more than several months. Acronyms become very quickly a secondary language.
DI2K is a bit out of the ordinary, it might take 2-3 seconds.

To the original question: when I realized that I am in lean FI I relaxed at work. I like my work more now and I am happier. A lot of my stress disappeared (not that I was very stressed to begin with).

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Re: For those who are FI: At what point did you begin to relax?

Post by Sandtrap » Sun Oct 20, 2019 2:17 pm

Fear and anxiety can be a good thing If they keep away complacencies, over confidence, lethargy, and sloth.
Especially sloths.
J🏝
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Re: For those who are FI: At what point did you begin to relax?

Post by Clemblack » Sun Oct 20, 2019 8:22 pm

TCB wrote:
Sat Oct 19, 2019 8:14 pm
dcw213 wrote:
Sat Oct 19, 2019 6:24 pm
mptfan wrote:
Sat Oct 19, 2019 8:50 am
What is DI2K? Is this a common acronym that I should know? I googled it and got nothing. Why do so many people use random acronyms, do they not realize that some people do not know what they are supposed to mean? Am I expected to do research to figure out what you are trying to say? Is it so hard to type out the words?
Pretty easy to figure out if you bothered to google. This is an online message board, people use acronyms. Calm down.
I’m with mptfan on this. I’d guess that 98% of acronyms make EVERY reader of your message:
1. Stop
2. Re-read the letters
3. Attempt to make sense of it, and then either:
A. Accept that they’re not going to waste more time so they assume it’s meaning based on context
B. Google it
C. Attempt to put the googled definition back into the context of the original message
D. If C is unsuccessful, ask other readers what the definition is.

All because the sender did not want to type out “Your mileage may vary” or
“If I recall correctly”, or whatever words took too long to write out.

At the very least, it is a jolt to the momentum of the reading experience.

I have a copy of a hand-written letter that my grandfather wrote in the 1940’s to his daughter (my aunt). It was written in cursive, and every word was spelled out completely. He was a working man who got his hands dirty, but I can picture him sitting at his kitchen table, getting out the paper & pen, and really taking his time to communicate properly the goings-on of the day.

There’s something of that that we’ve lost along the way.

I suppose this is actionable in that if we all act to communicate properly what we mean with full, complete words, we exponentially reduce the total time wasted by others who have to look up letters.

Thank you. End of rant.

I agree with this. The acronyms kill me. I also believe it takes more thought, time, and effort to type an acronym than it does to simply type the words.

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Re: For those who are FI: At what point did you begin to relax?

Post by goldendad » Sun Oct 20, 2019 9:39 pm

2 million net worth

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Re: For those who are FI: At what point did you begin to relax?

Post by jh » Sun Oct 20, 2019 11:16 pm

Ed_Sandwich wrote:
Sat Oct 19, 2019 8:39 am
For those of you who have made it to financial Independence at what point did you begin to feel like you can relax about money and not constantly worried and under pressure? I'm going through a fairly negative time at work but I still feel like I can't truly speak my mind and "be myself" yet.

Like previous commenters, I break FI into multiple pieces. You've got bare bones FI, tight budget FI, living high on the hog FI, and stupidly excessive FI.

*** My job stress went away once I got to bare bones FI. ***

IMHO bare bones FI is where you have enough money that you can keep a roof over your head and eat three meals a day. At this level you might have to make some "extreme" adjustments (like be willing to live as an expat or be willing to rent a single room in the US, use public transportation, etc.), but you aren't going to go homeless or starve.

At the tight budget FI, you can live without making any huge lifestyle changes, but you are living as frugal as possible. Sure, you still have a car, but its a used car. You make all your meals at home. Entertainment is a Netflix subscription. You get the idea.

High on the hog FI is where you have enough money, that you won't notice any difference between your working life and being retired. The only difference is you are no longer making way more money than you need. You are no longer funding 401k, Roth, etc. All your money just goes to pay your bills. You do have a mild amount of excess money, but its for taking vacation trips, saving up for the next car, etc.

Lastly, stupidly excessive FI is where you have way more money than you need to live on. You are living high on the hog, and you have enough money to keep socking it away like a mad man (i.e. you probably have the same income, coming in, as when you were working, and you were living below your means). At this level you are still making the kind of money that got you to FI in the first place.

I am now going to put these levels of FI into specific money amounts specifically for myself. I don't expect these numbers to be applicable to anyone else.

For myself alone.

Bare Bones FI = $18k per year
Tight Budget FI = $24k-$30k per year
High on the Hog FI = $36k-$40k per year... I spend $2,700 a month (i.e. $32,400 per year), not including taxes and health insurance.
Stupidly Excessive FI = More than $40k... current w-2 income is like $72k and qualified div income around $18k. So, $90k more or less.

I am only at the Bare Bones FI level, but boy oh boy does it make a difference. Just knowing I won't end up living in a tent city if I get laid off is huge. The other thing is, at this level all I need is a part-time minimum wage job and I can get to the Tight Budget FI level.

IMHO, you can have a really good life at the Tight Budget FI level. You just need to be creative instead or resorting to using money to make life interesting. You can't afford a vacation, but nothing stops you from reading books and transporting your mind into the most epic adventures ever.

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Re: For those who are FI: At what point did you begin to relax?

Post by bltn » Mon Oct 21, 2019 5:42 am

I ve never thought about a particular sum being my FI amount. I ve always worked toward accumulation and figured when I wanted to retire, or had to, we would figure out how to live on whatever we had. Pretty simplistic. After joining this forum and seeing the concept of an FI amount based on a safe withdrawal rate, I realized I could have retired securely about 15 years ago. But my job was rewarding and I kept going. My lifestyle increased from one of mere maintenance to one of increased comfort. I m glad I never thought about FIRE.
Old fashioned, I know.

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Re: For those who are FI: At what point did you begin to relax?

Post by hudson » Mon Oct 21, 2019 6:56 am

Ed_Sandwich wrote:
Sat Oct 19, 2019 8:39 am
For those of you who have made it to financial Independence at what point did you begin to feel like you can relax about money and not constantly worried and under pressure?
I never was constantly worried and felt like I was under pressure. I just kept an eye on my age, my expenses, my income, and my pile. My excellent employer had a history of letting older workers stay on or go part time. When I thought that everything would work, I retired. I wasn't sure that it would work until I tested everything for a year; then I knew that I would likely be OK.

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Re: For those who are FI: At what point did you begin to relax?

Post by mak1277 » Mon Oct 21, 2019 7:29 am

I suspect that most people are either worriers, or they're not. I think if you're worried about money now, you're going to be more worried as you get more of it (more to lose, etc.). I was never worried about money when I didn't have any. I am probably a little *more* worried now that I'm well past any reasonable definition of FI...but I wouldn't say I'm worried, just aware.

Edit to add: I've been around bogleheads for a while now, and the acronyms still annoy the heck out of me even when I know what they mean.

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Re: For those who are FI: At what point did you begin to relax?

Post by RubyTuesday » Mon Oct 21, 2019 7:38 am

Physical stress makes bones more dense and muscle stronger. Similarly, some minimum amount of psychological stress provides motivation. Too much psychological stress ruins your quality of life and physical health.

So how to maintain a reasonable level of stress...

Understanding the financial requirements needed to fund your life, kids’ educations, and retirement should get you (at least) into a sufficiently motivating level of psychological stress. As Victoria and others have mentioned, planning for known risks, and making your plan (and yourself) less fragile against the unknown risks, allows you to at least feel in enough control to relax some well before reaching FI.

Interestingly, I worried more about financial matters for several years after selling a business than I ever did while starting and growing the business. Feeling like I had something to lose was a new experience that made me much more risk averse for a while.

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Re: For those who are FI: At what point did you begin to relax?

Post by scrabbler1 » Mon Oct 21, 2019 8:56 am

I have been FI (and -REd) for 11 years. A big first step toward being relaxed and on my way to that was when I paid off the mortgage in 1998. That greatly reduced my expenses and allowed me to cover my expenses using only 1 biweekly paycheck (I was still working full-time). Seeing this, three years later, I was able to switch to working part-time, halving my weekly hours worked and recovering my personal life, while still being able to pay my bills with something left over (just not as much as before). That was the next big step.

In the next 7 years, I saw the value of my company stock skyrocket, accelerating my ER plans to the point that I could do that in 2008, which I did. THEN, I was really relaxed!

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