FIRE - What am I missing in the News Stories

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

Post by drk » Sun May 19, 2019 3:28 pm

^ Why is that relevant? People plan for individual situations, not aggregate ones. If someone working in SF or NYC wants to retire after hitting a number, we can reasonably assume that they have a plan to live somewhere that makes it feasible.

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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 3:34 pm

visualguy wrote:
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.
Yes, but a third don't live in very high cost of living areas like San Francisco, Manhattan, or Seattle.
“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

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

Post by FireProof » Sun May 19, 2019 3:44 pm

Well, first, it doesn't involve bagging groceries, that's a strange perception. And secondly, spending may or may not be lower, but with an extra 40+ hours per week (commuting, etc.), total utility can't help but be higher

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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 4:00 pm

I'm surprised that so many people point fingers at the FIRE community and claim that it's a big pyramid scheme. Surely they realize that they people who are blogging about FIRE are people who are earning some kind of income from blogging about FIRE. There's much self-selection bias at work here. If you want a truly representative view of the typical FIRE person, then examining blogs and such about it is far from the right way to do it.
“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

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

Post by visualguy » Sun May 19, 2019 4:01 pm

willthrill81 wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 3:34 pm
Yes, but a third don't live in very high cost of living areas like San Francisco, Manhattan, or Seattle.
Not sure about the exact proportion, but it's significant. You have to add up the Seattle area, SF Bay Area, LA area, San Diego, Boston, much of CT, NYC area, DC area, Hawaii, etc. It's a large population even in VHCOL, and then you have other areas which are HCOL but not VHCOL which are still challenging for a cheap retirement.

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

Post by mptfan » Sun May 19, 2019 5:29 pm

drk wrote:
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."
There is no consensus on this, there are two interpretations. One interpretation is being retired from your primary higher paying full time occupation and then working at a lower paying less stressful usually part time position. Another interpretation of retired is stopping all work for pay.

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

Post by lostdog » Sun May 19, 2019 5:32 pm

Semi-retired is a good one for most to understand.
Total World Stock and Total World Bond. The simple two fund diversified portfolio. "The burden of proof should be on the active bet, not the global market cap." -jhfenton

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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 5:36 pm

visualguy wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 4:01 pm
willthrill81 wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 3:34 pm
Yes, but a third don't live in very high cost of living areas like San Francisco, Manhattan, or Seattle.
Not sure about the exact proportion, but it's significant. You have to add up the Seattle area, SF Bay Area, LA area, San Diego, Boston, much of CT, NYC area, DC area, Hawaii, etc. It's a large population even in VHCOL, and then you have other areas which are HCOL but not VHCOL which are still challenging for a cheap retirement.
Yes, but people can simply move. I was reading an article a few days ago that said Hawai'i had a net loss of 12,000 residents in 2018 due to people escaping the ultra-high cost of living there.

As I started my own path to eventual FIRE (early 2020, at age 42), I left Seattle last year and headed back toward the cheaper interior of the country where I'm from.
“Life doesn’t come with a warranty.” -Michael LeBoeuf

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

Post by CedarWaxWing » Sun May 19, 2019 5:37 pm

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.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 undesirable).
I like the idea of saving like crazy, then going half time for work at something that is extremely interesting, in a controllable friendly workplace. My adult kids are saving 60-70% of their income because their lifestyle does not require the income they make, and they feel like they can go seek other work anytime they loose interest in their current positions, or if they feel they are not advancing in the places they work at the rate they feel is appropriate to their performance.

Working less than full time provides a great deal more security... and connection with interesting people you have something in common with hopefully, than simply going full retirement at a very young age. Working is not a problem for most folks.. .working in the wrong job, or with the wrong people is a big problem for many.

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

Post by lostdog » Sun May 19, 2019 5:47 pm

CedarWaxWing wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 5:37 pm
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.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 undesirable).
I like the idea of saving like crazy, then going half time for work at something that is extremely interesting, in a controllable friendly workplace. My adult kids are saving 60-70% of their income because their lifestyle does not require the income they make, and they feel like they can go seek other work anytime they loose interest in their current positions, or if they feel they are not advancing in the places they work at the rate they feel is appropriate to their performance.

Working less than full time provides a great deal more security... and connection with interesting people you have something in common with hopefully, than simply going full retirement at a very young age. Working is not a problem for most folks.. .working in the wrong job, or with the wrong people is a big problem for many.
+1

Being around people that have your best interest rather than their own or the bottom line makes a huge difference.
Total World Stock and Total World Bond. The simple two fund diversified portfolio. "The burden of proof should be on the active bet, not the global market cap." -jhfenton

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

Post by HomeStretch » Sun May 19, 2019 5:50 pm

AerialWombat wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 5:36 pm
Yes, but people can simply move.
We live in a VHCOL area. As we near retirement we recognize moving would greatly reduce our annual living expenses and taxes. But we don’t find it simple to move due to a variety of factors:
- Two sets of aging parents that need (physical) help on a weekly basis
- child that attends in-state university
- abundance of close family and friends nearby
- Love our community

We would move if we had to for financial reasons. But we have instead saved a lot more than most would need in other areas of the country so we can stay here.

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Nate79
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Re: FIRE - What am I missing in the News Stories

Post by Nate79 » Sun May 19, 2019 5:50 pm

willthrill81 wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 4:00 pm
I'm surprised that so many people point fingers at the FIRE community and claim that it's a big pyramid scheme. Surely they realize that they people who are blogging about FIRE are people who are earning some kind of income from blogging about FIRE. There's much self-selection bias at work here. If you want a truly representative view of the typical FIRE person, then examining blogs and such about it is far from the right way to do it.
I'm surprised that this exact thread topic comes up so often on BH. Why are people so critical of others and how they choose to live their lives, especially the FIRE movement? The people blogging about FIRE are an extremely small subset of the movement yet people keep ridiculing the movement based on some bloggers. A vast majority of the movement are not retired in the traditional sense and yet critics latch onto this. That and living frugally instead of in debt up to your eyeballs and broke like the rest of the population.

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

Post by drk » Sun May 19, 2019 6:13 pm

mptfan wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 5:29 pm
There is no consensus on this, there are two interpretations. One interpretation is being retired from your primary higher paying full time occupation and then working at a lower paying less stressful usually part time position. Another interpretation of retired is stopping all work for pay.
The ambiguity is fictional. Those who offer this alternative interpretation are simply confused, so I'll just go ahead and quote myself:
drk wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 11:53 am
Retiring simply does not mean "never again doing anything for money."
If people want to incorrectly take retirement to imply total retirement, then that's on them.

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

Post by visualguy » Sun May 19, 2019 6:14 pm

HomeStretch wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 5:50 pm
AerialWombat wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 5:36 pm
Yes, but people can simply move.
We live in a VHCOL area. As we near retirement we recognize moving would greatly reduce our annual living expenses and taxes. But we don’t find it simple to move due to a variety of factors:
- Two sets of aging parents that need (physical) help on a weekly basis
- child that attends in-state university
- abundance of close family and friends nearby
- Love our community

We would move if we had to for financial reasons. But we have instead saved a lot more than most would need in other areas of the country so we can stay here.
People in VHCOL areas can often be in the best position to retire early if they move to an LCOL area because of their higher incomes and home equity. You make your money in a VHCOL area, and then you can FIRE in an LCOL area. Some do this, but most don't for the reasons you mentioned and others. It's not really an appealing option generally, and I hear it mentioned more as a last resort or fallback kind of situation where people would rather work longer to prevent this from happening.

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

Post by visualguy » Sun May 19, 2019 6:16 pm

drk wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 6:13 pm
If people want to incorrectly take retirement to imply total retirement, then that's on them.
If I still work for money, that's not retirement from my perspective.

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

Post by randomguy » Sun May 19, 2019 6:23 pm

mptfan wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 5:29 pm
drk wrote:
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."
There is no consensus on this, there are two interpretations. One interpretation is being retired from your primary higher paying full time occupation and then working at a lower paying less stressful usually part time position. Another interpretation of retired is stopping all work for pay.
Screw that. I turns out I retired at 17 as I haven't worked a single day as dishwasher since then. I am starting a blog about FIREing by 18 and am going to start making the big bucks:)

In case it isn't obvvious.
I am retired = I don't work
I am a retired military office = I don't work as a military officer. I may or may not be retired.

In the first case the adjective applies to me. In the second case it applies to my profession.

And yes there are some fuzzy lines when people work but the money is nonMaterial (i.e you work for beer money). But if you plan requires you to bring in x amount of money from working, you aren't retired.

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

Post by frugalecon » Sun May 19, 2019 6:35 pm

visualguy wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 6:14 pm
HomeStretch wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 5:50 pm
AerialWombat wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 5:36 pm
Yes, but people can simply move.
We live in a VHCOL area. As we near retirement we recognize moving would greatly reduce our annual living expenses and taxes. But we don’t find it simple to move due to a variety of factors:
- Two sets of aging parents that need (physical) help on a weekly basis
- child that attends in-state university
- abundance of close family and friends nearby
- Love our community

We would move if we had to for financial reasons. But we have instead saved a lot more than most would need in other areas of the country so we can stay here.
People in VHCOL areas can often be in the best position to retire early if they move to an LCOL area because of their higher incomes and home equity. You make your money in a VHCOL area, and then you can FIRE in an LCOL area. Some do this, but most don't for the reasons you mentioned and others. It's not really an appealing option generally, and I hear it mentioned more as a last resort or fallback kind of situation where people would rather work longer to prevent this from happening.
Many of the LCOL places are in states that have political climates that may be unfriendly for certain groups, e.g. same sex married couples. That issue definitely impacts what I view the realistic options to be for my family.

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

Post by scottinmet » Sun May 19, 2019 6:46 pm

scrabbler1 wrote:
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.
Not at all, retiring at 45 with under a million in investable assets, you should start a blog. You must have all kinds of useful information for the pre-FIRE crowd. :happy

scrabbler1
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Re: FIRE - What am I missing in the News Stories

Post by scrabbler1 » Sun May 19, 2019 6:47 pm

randomguy wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 6:23 pm
mptfan wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 5:29 pm
drk wrote:
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."
There is no consensus on this, there are two interpretations. One interpretation is being retired from your primary higher paying full time occupation and then working at a lower paying less stressful usually part time position. Another interpretation of retired is stopping all work for pay.
Screw that. I turns out I retired at 17 as I haven't worked a single day as dishwasher since then. I am starting a blog about FIREing by 18 and am going to start making the big bucks:)

In case it isn't obvvious.
I am retired = I don't work
I am a retired military office = I don't work as a military officer. I may or may not be retired.

In the first case the adjective applies to me. In the second case it applies to my profession.

And yes there are some fuzzy lines when people work but the money is nonMaterial (i.e you work for beer money). But if you plan requires you to bring in x amount of money from working, you aren't retired.
+1

scrabbler1
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Re: FIRE - What am I missing in the News Stories

Post by scrabbler1 » Sun May 19, 2019 6:54 pm

scottinmet wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 6:46 pm
scrabbler1 wrote:
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.
Not at all, retiring at 45 with under a million in investable assets, you should start a blog. You must have all kinds of useful information for the pre-FIRE crowd. :happy
But a blog would be WORK, and I have zero interest in doing any kind of work, especially on an ongoing basis. Also, most people don't have access to $300k in "free" company stock from working, a key part of my early retirement. I am so much of an outlier, most people would simply scoff at my lifestyle and life choices.

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

Post by flyingaway » Sun May 19, 2019 7:05 pm

I also retired immediately after graduating from college. I have been doing a volunteering job, but they insisted on paying me a market salary.

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

Post by scottinmet » Sun May 19, 2019 7:12 pm

scrabbler1 wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 6:54 pm
But a blog would be WORK, and I have zero interest in doing any kind of work, especially on an ongoing basis. Also, most people don't have access to $300k in "free" company stock from working, a key part of my early retirement. I am so much of an outlier, most people would simply scoff at my lifestyle and life choices.
I think you are an outlier only in the fact that you took the retirement at 45, but there are plenty of people who are in the same financial situation as you were and even have delayed pensions waiting for them should they retire early. It is a life choice that not many make, but people are definitely interested in knowing how someone actually made it work.

But not wanting to put in the work to make a blog I fully understand as that would be pretty tedious to me.

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

Post by FIREchief » Sun May 19, 2019 7:23 pm

tennisplyr wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 11:11 am
Some people--even highly paid ones--really hate their jobs!
Amen.
I am not a lawyer, accountant or financial advisor. Any advice or suggestions that I may provide shall be considered for entertainment purposes only.

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

Post by FIREchief » Sun May 19, 2019 7:26 pm

willthrill81 wrote:
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.
45 months in. Haven't been bored for a single day. Life can be meaningful in many different ways. It doesn't have to involve business, work, etc.
I am not a lawyer, accountant or financial advisor. Any advice or suggestions that I may provide shall be considered for entertainment purposes only.

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

Post by flyingaway » Sun May 19, 2019 7:36 pm

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.
If you were 100% retired now, you could be 100% on vacation. It is an easier problem than figuring out how to get employed.

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

Post by Independent George » Sun May 19, 2019 7:38 pm

I think FIRE is an admirable goal, and I respect the folks with the discipline to accomplish it. My main problem with FIRE as reported by the media (and, to some extent, from the blogs, too) is that most of the people attempting it are simply not realistic about it, and rather than being confronted with the reality of it, the FIRE community engages in an echo chamber that dismisses all the valid criticisms that get brought up. FIRE Is a great thing for those who can pull it off, but it is not attainable or desirable for everyone; pretending otherwise does a great disservice to people.

klaus14
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Re: FIRE - What am I missing in the News Stories

Post by klaus14 » Sun May 19, 2019 7:45 pm

Call_Me_Op wrote:
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.
Why?
1.2M would generate $3500 monthly even with conservative 3.5% SWR.
$3500 is more than what average household makes in most of Europe and some part of US.

Olemiss540
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Re: FIRE - What am I missing in the News Stories

Post by Olemiss540 » Sun May 19, 2019 7:51 pm

whodidntante wrote:
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.
Interesting how visceral folks' reactions to different life experiences can be, specifically towards those seemingly well wishing folks who buck the trend of constant consumerism in the hope of finding happiness in the things less costly to buy (or perhaps that comes at no cost at all).

Just shows the deep rooted nature that consumerism has buried its fingers within our society IMO. Like an attempt at a meager life is an ill fated one better off spent in a cubicle.
I hold index funds because I do not overestimate my ability to pick stocks OR stock pickers.

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

Post by CyclingDuo » Sun May 19, 2019 8:07 pm

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:
Three things to consider when either aligning with or criticizing FIRE:

• Champion a high rate of savings
• What level of FIRE is being sought?
• The increased flexibility once FI is hit.

First thing to consider is that we should all champion those who manage to save at a high rate of savings to meet their goals - even if we do not understand their desire to achieve FIRE at an early age or not compared to a traditional retirement (taking place in your 60's). Most of us speak in these forums of finding a balance with regard to our quality of living while working with a savings rate that matches the lifestyle choice and prepares us for retirement. It all gets divided up between the concepts of FIRE - or the other side of the coin being "traditional retirement" as in in your 60's. However, we all know there is some middle ground between the two.

Even Rockstar Finance blogs separate the blog lists from those best sites that feature FIRE to those blog sites that feature Traditional Retirement.

Here is the Traditional Retirement best of blog list: https://directory.rockstarfinance.com/p ... n=&search=

Those that start early with their savings have the luxury of utilizing the power of time and compounding to reach their targeted FIRE goal(s). The below chart is an example that shows the basic premise of wanting to figure out a multiple of millions one would like to have in retirement and what that translates to in terms of how much to save on a daily basis to get there based on their age. KlangFool often talks about his strategy of saving on an annual basis the equivalent of his projected one year of expenses in retirement. Not a bad goal in and of itself.

What if a 20-25 year old boosted their daily savings from the chart below to target a much higher savings rate ---> as in many times more during their first decade to fifteen years of work? Is that such a bad thing if they can pull it off?

Image

I never really thought of things in terms of daily compared to annually until the past 4 or 5 years as we settled into the empty nest years, figuring out the budget as empty nesters and beginning the process of being able to figure out more what our expenses will be in retirement. It's a good reality check to break that annual savings requirement in terms of dollars down to the point of what your average annual daily spend is and see if you can save that daily amount.

Here's another graphic that breaks down average daily spend by age demographics in the US:

Image

As an example, our annual expenses we find in the pre-retirement/empty nest phase of our lives averages out to be around $182 per day. Following KlangFool's strategy, I guess we indeed are and have been saving in a similar way aligned his strategy. We always try to save a bare minimum of at least our daily spend per day X 365 days to get our annual savings goal met and build up the kitty. The past few years we have been able to surpass that level of daily spend savings. We, like most our age, were certainly not thinking that way back in our 20's, 30's and 40's. Obviously, one does not get a do over, so we find ourselves in the camp of not being sorry that we chose a balanced lifestyle of living and saving in our 20's-40's and not having set a goal of FIRE at an early age as the trade off for us was that we were able to travel the world, take advantages of experiences, and even enjoyed living and working overseas for a nice stretch. Those choices certainly resulted in front end loading our lives with regard to travel and experiencing other cultures. In other words, we all have different goals, experiences and paths to achieve what we want to in this journey.

That being said and even though we were not setting a goal of FIRE in the age 35-50 range, we are in the camp of championing those who do desire to super save in the early years and choose a level of FIRE that meets their needs at an earlier age.

What if they were saving $25K ($68.50 per day), $30K ($82.20 per day), $50K ($136.98 per day), $75K+ ($205+ per day) per year and living minimalist while doing so during their first 15 years of work? Or what if they were a dual income household and able to live below their means and sock away a large portion of their combined income? Obviously, an amazing bull market throughout the majority of that time frame has helped not only those who have a goal of FIRE at an early age, but also all of us who have a goal of retiring at a later age - be it FIRE or not. That's where we find many who are currently shooting for the FIRE at a younger age camp. How they got there in terms of their career choice, stress level, and desire to de-stress may or may not make sense to those who have not followed that path. I will admit, it is a path we didn't take, so it is hard to align with that goal considering our particular careers didn't really take off until age 30. However, as mentioned above - for those that can do it early and save at a high level, we should cheer and champion abilities to do it. Jonathan Clements from the Humble Dollar blog https://humbledollar.com/ was a guest on Rick Ferri's podcast where they discussed this issue and praised those who have made the choice to super charge their savings in the early years.

Link to the podcast where Rick interviews JC (the entire podcast is a great listen, but jump to 37 minute mark for FIRE):

https://rickferri.com/podcast/episode-0 ... ick-ferri/

We know that the levels of savings rate - whatever one wants to label each level - are a reason some of the early FIRE crowd have been able to reach their goals.

Image

Second point is determining which level of FIRE fits into one's goals. Is it LEAN FIRE, regular FIRE, or FAT FIRE? (There are even things called Fart FIRE and Barista FIRE).

https://www.budgetsaresexy.com/your-lif ... ou-retire/
https://www.budgetsaresexy.com/4-types- ... etirement/

Image

Not everyone has the same goal, and that is okay. Whether it is age 35, age 45, age 55, age 65 or later - and whether it is lean, regular, or fat (or Fart of Barista) - those goals and benchmarks are out for those interested. We are not ashamed to say our goal is firmly focused on FAT FIRE, but remain flexible.
:sharebeer

Image

The third point revolves around the level of income flow from human capital that can be adjusted if one has reached a certain level of the FI- portion early in their life that allows for the flexibility of choosing what one wants to do (the posts about bagging groceries, or serving coffee up above comes to mind as examples). Above, this is called "Barista FIRE". This level of FI can happen at any age as well as the de-stressing via taking on different income producing work. I can only speak to it from the past year of my life (age 56-57) where I went through a forced downsizing due to a termination. I did find replacement income at or near the same level, but also find myself as a result in a rather piecemeal situation of combining several part-time jobs that have two within my industry niche and one outside which in total have actually turned out to be a rather de-stressed work environment in terms of responsibilities. It's been decades since I was paid on an hourly basis, so the latter part of 2018 and now into 2019 has been a return to what that is all like. The job outside of my industry niche provides the benefits so perhaps I am officially entered into the future Barista FIRE phase of my life. :mrgreen:

I have experienced a major drop off in stress due to no longer needing to do committee work, grant writing, student advising, recruiting, weekly meetings, departmental planning and assessment, etc... . I also stepped down from some non-profit community service work I was doing to add to de-stressing my duties. In combination, having removed all of those previous duties suddenly made me realize I must have overlooked how much of a huge stress level or burden of work that was while I was doing them.

I would imagine those that have reached a certain level of the FI- portion of FIRE have such flexibility to de-stress and work jobs that many may consider on the surface as beneath them due to additional income being less than the high stress job, yet it affords the person to avoid tapping into the savings or all of the savings in the newly found existence (Barista FIRE). Again, one should take care in pronouncing anything beneath them while trying to understand the various levels of FIRE crowd who may have already attained the FI portion of their equation which opens up the flexibility of what kind of work via human capital brings in income and benefits. That part-time barista or grocery bagger just might surprise you. :mrgreen:

I imagine those comments above about somebody who has hit a level of FI and de-stressing via part-time work that is not such a high octane stress level of producing income thanks to the flexibility of not needing as much income is something that is hard to relate to if you have not experienced it or taken the time to think through what it could mean for one's well being, enjoyment of life, and extension of the working years without having to have the nose to the grindstone in a pronounced way.

There's more than one way to skin a cat....
Last edited by CyclingDuo on Mon May 20, 2019 11:03 am, edited 1 time in total.
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MathWizard
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Re: FIRE - What am I missing in the News Stories

Post by MathWizard » Sun May 19, 2019 8:58 pm

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. 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:
If there are 52 people who do this, there is a story for every week of the year .

Do you suppose they will be checking back in even 2 years, much less in 30 or50 years to see how well this turned out?

What's on the news is the unusual. Man bites dog, not the other way around. I would not pay any attention to it.

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

Post by hisdudeness » Sun May 19, 2019 9:30 pm

AerialWombat wrote:
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.
Amen. No problem here either, in a LCOL area and no debt.

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

Post by Pu239 » Sun May 19, 2019 9:46 pm

MathWizard wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 8:58 pm


If there are 52 people who do this, there is a story for every week of the year .

Do you suppose they will be checking back in even 2 years, much less in 30 or50 years to see how well this turned out?

What's on the news is the unusual. Man bites dog, not the other way around. I would not pay any attention to it.
The Rockstar Finance Directory is currently tracking 2,200 personal finance blogs, many related to FIRE, hence enough to read 6 blogs per day before repeating after a year.

https://directory.rockstarfinance.com/p ... nce-blogs/

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

Post by LadyGeek » Sun May 19, 2019 9:48 pm

This thread is now in the Personal Finance (Not Investing) forum (retirement planning).
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Re: FIRE - What am I missing in the News Stories

Post by HawkeyePierce » Sun May 19, 2019 10:11 pm

I consider myself on the FIRE train, though my goal is principally FI and not necessarily RE. I think of it more as optionality.

I'm currently 29 and saving about 65% of a 300k annual gross income. My FI goal is $2.8m in 15 years (in 2019 dollars). I'm about ten percent of the way there. Based on my projected savings, even with most pessimistic of market return scenarios should allow me to be FI in that time frame. My hope is that my portfolio would be sufficient even in an extended bear market. Simulations, including those with aggressive sequence-of-returns-risk, show that I should be okay.

1) I'm quite happy with my lifestyle on my current spending. Last year I spent $72,000. I'm content with my 2011 Honda, factory outlet clothing and five year old laptop. I'm assuming my spending will grow to some degree (mortgage, maybe kids eventually) but I hope to keep it largely in check. This is why I believe I can realistically support myself without an income based on my current plan.

2) While I love my job and am on a great career track, I'm in tech. This industry can be highly cyclical and who knows what the future holds. Software engineer salaries have skyrocketed over the last ten years—is that growth sustainable or will we revert to the mean? Nobody knows. If at some point my career is no longer as lucrative, or the industry tanks, I want to be in a position to walk away. In this sense, my FIRE goals are more about "chasing stability" than never working. For me, FIRE is as much about hedging as pursuing a certain lifestyle.

3) I've seen how damaging decades in a megacorp can be. My father spent his life climbing that ladder. Saturday conference calls, vacations cancelled, emails after dinner every night. I categorically refuse to live that life and if I'm not able to find a suitable workplace, I need a fallback option.

At the moment I've struck a balance between career progression, lifestyle and aggressive saving. Last year I took eight weeks of vacation—I fully realize how lucky I am to be in such a situation. At the same time, I want to build on that luck to keep this balance going. I always want a BATNA in my pocket.

For me, FIRE is about pessimism, not optimism.

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

Post by MossySF » Sun May 19, 2019 11:12 pm

SF and NYC also are magnets for new immigrants due to all the ethnic communities.

Surely you don't think these new immigrants are earning anything close to high incomes, right?

So if they can live there, a higher earner could in theory meet them halfway in the living expenses department.

Now redo the numbers instead of using the "my kids are GIFTED so I must spend $$$ so they can get ahead" lifestyle.

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

Post by HomerJ » Sun May 19, 2019 11:21 pm

HomeStretch wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 5:50 pm
AerialWombat wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 5:36 pm
Yes, but people can simply move.
We live in a VHCOL area. As we near retirement we recognize moving would greatly reduce our annual living expenses and taxes. But we don’t find it simple to move due to a variety of factors:
- Two sets of aging parents that need (physical) help on a weekly basis
- child that attends in-state university
- abundance of close family and friends nearby
- Love our community

We would move if we had to for financial reasons. But we have instead saved a lot more than most would need in other areas of the country so we can stay here.
You don't have to move a thousand miles away.

Once you retire, you don't have to care about being close to work or in a good school district. Lots of people can move 20-50 miles and save a ton of money on housing.
The J stands for Jay

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

Post by HomerJ » Sun May 19, 2019 11:23 pm

drk wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 6:13 pm
mptfan wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 5:29 pm
There is no consensus on this, there are two interpretations. One interpretation is being retired from your primary higher paying full time occupation and then working at a lower paying less stressful usually part time position. Another interpretation of retired is stopping all work for pay.
The ambiguity is fictional. Those who offer this alternative interpretation are simply confused, so I'll just go ahead and quote myself:
drk wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 11:53 am
Retiring simply does not mean "never again doing anything for money."
If people want to incorrectly take retirement to imply total retirement, then that's on them.
If you NEED the money, you're not retired.

If the extra money is just for fun discretionary items, you can call yourself retired and still work at Starbucks.
The J stands for Jay

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

Post by HomerJ » Sun May 19, 2019 11:25 pm

frugalecon wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 6:35 pm
visualguy wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 6:14 pm
HomeStretch wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 5:50 pm
AerialWombat wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 5:36 pm
Yes, but people can simply move.
We live in a VHCOL area. As we near retirement we recognize moving would greatly reduce our annual living expenses and taxes. But we don’t find it simple to move due to a variety of factors:
- Two sets of aging parents that need (physical) help on a weekly basis
- child that attends in-state university
- abundance of close family and friends nearby
- Love our community

We would move if we had to for financial reasons. But we have instead saved a lot more than most would need in other areas of the country so we can stay here.
People in VHCOL areas can often be in the best position to retire early if they move to an LCOL area because of their higher incomes and home equity. You make your money in a VHCOL area, and then you can FIRE in an LCOL area. Some do this, but most don't for the reasons you mentioned and others. It's not really an appealing option generally, and I hear it mentioned more as a last resort or fallback kind of situation where people would rather work longer to prevent this from happening.
Many of the LCOL places are in states that have political climates that may be unfriendly for certain groups, e.g. same sex married couples. That issue definitely impacts what I view the realistic options to be for my family.
There are plenty of LCOL areas that do not fit that stereotype.
The J stands for Jay

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

Post by EnjoyIt » Sun May 19, 2019 11:26 pm

I find it interesting how so many people here criticize living on less. It is kind sad that one can't be happy without millions.

Just because it is different from what is the norm, does not make it impossible.
Last edited by EnjoyIt on Mon May 20, 2019 12:29 am, edited 2 times in total.

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

Post by randomguy » Sun May 19, 2019 11:27 pm

Pu239 wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 9:46 pm
MathWizard wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 8:58 pm


If there are 52 people who do this, there is a story for every week of the year .

Do you suppose they will be checking back in even 2 years, much less in 30 or50 years to see how well this turned out?

What's on the news is the unusual. Man bites dog, not the other way around. I would not pay any attention to it.
The Rockstar Finance Directory is currently tracking 2,200 personal finance blogs, many related to FIRE, hence enough to read 6 blogs per day before repeating after a year.

https://directory.rockstarfinance.com/p ... nce-blogs/
Over 5000 people showed up at BronyCon in 2018. It also made the paper:) Weird niches still have thousands of peoples given the US population size.

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

Post by cogito » Sun May 19, 2019 11:29 pm

Man, I am baffled why people get so worked up about this.

It's pretty simple, a lot of people, especially millenials, would rather pursue having a paid off house with 600k in the bank and part-time job at a coffee shop by 35, instead of working at MegaCorp until age 65. This is totally attainable by almost anybody working a six-figure job in a big city, even with a family and kids. The details you ask about can be easily found at any of the FIRE blogs you mentioned hearing about.

Obviously many shades of grey on the spectrum of retiring early to dying at MegaCorp with 10M, yada yada

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

Post by InMyDreams » Mon May 20, 2019 12:16 am

My late 40's neighbor, who has been FIRE'd for a couple of years, was working a steady but not lucrative job before she FIRE'd. She told me that her spending goal in 2018 was no more than $25k. I understood that she is not touching her retirement accounts. She is traveling, but cheaply (airBnB is her friend). She says that she doesn't count on SS, but it will be icing on the cake if she gets it.

But a recurring theme on MMM - healthcare insurance. There's an ongoing thread about what may happen to the ACA. And my neighbor indicated that healthcare insurance would be the one thing that would drive her back to work.

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

Post by Pu239 » Mon May 20, 2019 12:41 am

cogito wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 11:29 pm
Man, I am baffled why people get so worked up about this.

It's pretty simple, a lot of people, especially millenials, would rather pursue having a paid off house with 600k in the bank and part-time job at a coffee shop by 35, instead of working at MegaCorp until age 65. This is totally attainable by almost anybody working a six-figure job in a big city, even with a family and kids. The details you ask about can be easily found at any of the FIRE blogs you mentioned hearing about.

Obviously many shades of grey on the spectrum of retiring early to dying at MegaCorp with 10M, yada yada
This has been done before. What were the outcomes of the "Your Money or Your Life" crowd who retired early a couple of decades ago? Seems like anyone considering an important life decision like FIRE would insist on the cold, hard facts of experience rather than anecdotes provided in a book or calculations provided by tools such as FIRECalc. I hope early retirement for the "Your Money or Your Life" crowd worked out according to plan but where is the independent supporting data?

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

Post by CarpeDiem22 » Mon May 20, 2019 2:20 am

In before the lock.
KandT wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 8:10 am
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 think we all agree that financial independence is a good thing. What you do once you are FI is slightly controversial and depends on your risk taking ability and priorities in life. A regular well paying job obviously comes with constraints no matter how much you enjoy it. Now the question to settle is how long to go beyond being FI when you can call it quits. To answer that question, we need to know how much money we would need for remaining lifetime; we cannot answer this question precisely and that is where the risk taking ability, alternate income sources etc come into picture.

It is obvious that a part-time job consumes less of your time while paying less income. Whether the money-time swap is worth it is something we need to decide individually, and it is highly unlikely that we'll settle on this (just like domestic vs international and lumpsum vs DCA). Also, very important, the goal of life is to maximise happiness, not money.

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

Post by Old_Dollar » Mon May 20, 2019 4:23 am

Higher income people basically living frugally. The FIRE crowd certainly does not only use only pre-tax account. They are very boglehead-ish when it comes to doing the math to determine optimal investment contribution. Discussions on the advantages and disadvantages of Roth, pre-tax, HSA, brokerage accounts, etc are as rampant on FIRE forums as they are here.

Good for them. If a 22 year old maxes out his/her 401k, ends up with 1+ million, a decent HSA and enough in a brokerage account to "retire" at a young age then so be it. That individual stepping aside to allow for someone else to have access to a good paying job is wonderful. FIRE is a win-win.
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Re: FIRE - What am I missing in the News Stories

Post by Old_Dollar » Mon May 20, 2019 5:03 am

cogito wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 11:29 pm
Man, I am baffled why people get so worked up about this.

It's pretty simple, a lot of people, especially millenials, would rather pursue having a paid off house with 600k in the bank and part-time job at a coffee shop by 35, instead of working at MegaCorp until age 65. This is totally attainable by almost anybody working a six-figure job in a big city, even with a family and kids. The details you ask about can be easily found at any of the FIRE blogs you mentioned hearing about.

Obviously many shades of grey on the spectrum of retiring early to dying at MegaCorp with 10M, yada yada

Exactly! I'm in my mid 30s and no where near FIRE. However, kudos to those who pulled it off! Financial independence is something everyone should strive for. No one ever knows when the next recession hits. Even if someone doesn't want to leave their high paying MegaCorp job, the freedom to do so for the real negative reasons in life (recessions, changes for the worse in management, etc) is a great stress reliever.
I am here solely to learn about investing.

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

Post by RickBoglehead » Mon May 20, 2019 5:26 am

Hopefully no one reads a blog thinking it is news. Blogs are adding to the internet's mass of unsubstantiated opinionized drivel, IMO. Similarly most podcasts.

The only thing holding us back from FIRE before was in-law's care. Since we had to be here, working was fine. Then reality of medical costs in retirement necessitated a close look at DW's retirement benefits options. So our FIRE will be in early 60s in 2 years and 4 weeks.

I have been semi-retired for years, spending much of my time for years managing in-law's care, bills. etc., and subsequently estates, plus my father's estate. Surprising how many hours a day that took. I now bring in roughly half of what I used to and am quite happy with it and plan our retirement. Much more relaxed.

Today's WSJ say that millennials are in worse financial shape as they approach middle age than any other generation...
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Re: FIRE - What am I missing in the News Stories

Post by harvestbook » Mon May 20, 2019 6:26 am

drk wrote:
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."
Yeah, that's what I'm thinking. How many people "retire" at any age and never do a single thing the rest of their lives that earns them money, whether it's selling their junk on eBay, consulting, doing some part-time work, or just stumbling into an opportunity?

Running out of money is only one risk on the scale of risk in life, and I consider it a minor one that gets obsessed over because it's one of the few we can actually imagine.

FIRE forums don't have threads on $5,000 watches and $60,000 sports cars.
I'm not smart enough to know, and I can't afford to guess.

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

Post by JoMoney » Mon May 20, 2019 7:51 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. 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:
I have not seen these "constant" news stories, FIRE sounds a lot better than the news I have been seeing though.
There are at least 3 ways I can think of to get 401k money out before 59.5
-Just withdraw it when you need it (and pay the 10% penalty)
-Setup (and stick to) a SEPP/72t plan and stick to it (no penalty, fixed withdrawals)
-Use Roth IRA conversion ladder (no penalty, flexible withdrawals)

If John and Jane are used to saving 70% of their income, living on $40k a year sounds doable. (a lot of people live quite well on less)
"To achieve satisfactory investment results is easier than most people realize; to achieve superior results is harder than it looks." - Benjamin Graham

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

Post by SRenaeP » Mon May 20, 2019 8:57 am

scrabbler1 wrote:
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.
Out of curiosity, how have you spent your time over the past 11 years? I will be FI around the same age and am contemplating the RE part.

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