Author Topic: Turns out I am practically retired already!  (Read 7421 times)

tooqk4u22

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Re: Turns out I am practically retired already!
« Reply #50 on: February 21, 2013, 11:04:35 AM »
In our society, one question to ask is do they actually realize they can live off passive income indefinitely with no reduction in lifestyle?
If they are working because they haven't considered the question, surely they are not retired, even though they could be.

I think this is a fair question - and really is about conciousness if they have not considered it then I agree.

Job for the purpose of money = work
Job for the purpose of fun = hobby

While I get what you are saying I still don't agree, if I choose to work in a job to fund things that are unncessary to my happiness but can expand on it then I still think I can be considered retired as I don't need to do it - no different than being a kayak instructor because in that case why not just go kayaking so you don't have any obligation to schedules, service, expecations, etc.

[Yeah, he has plenty of FU money, he's totally FI.  But he's not retired, IMO.

Otherwise, if there was a headline in the newspaper tomorrow that says "Warren Buffett to retire at the end of the month" it would be nonsensical and meaningless (because he's already retired).  But I certainly think that sentence makes sense.

If a headline said "Warren Buffett on track to be financially independent by the end of the month" I think that WOULD be nonsensical and meaningless, because he already is.

Thus my opinion of him being FI, but not RE, despite being able to take time to take the grandkids to DQ and doing what he loves daily.

But I agree with this to but for a different reason - I Buffett's whole self, identity and existence is wrapped up in his company and I don't believe he would be happy/satisfied/engaged doing anything else and for that reason he is not retired. In fact I would be willing to bet that if he did retire he would pass away within a year of doing so because that is his entire life - similar to when the surviving spouse of an elderly couple passes not to long after for whatever reason.

arebelspy

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Re: Turns out I am practically retired already!
« Reply #51 on: February 21, 2013, 11:07:03 AM »
Right, past tense indicates one has exercised the capacity. But I think the spirit of MMM's remarks indicate that retirement is a capacity afforded by FI. That is, by reaching FI, one has reached a stage when one can retire and one is actually retired after actually quitting one's job in an FI state.

If that's the case, I would agree.  But I think he actually calls someone who can retire, but hasn't yet, "retired" anyways.

I agree that "retirement is a capacity afforded by FI" but MMM basically says that "FI = retirement" -- they are synonymous.  To him, there is no such thing as "can retire" (any more than "can" be FI - you are or you aren't).

From what I understand of his definition at least.
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Lagom

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Re: Turns out I am practically retired already!
« Reply #52 on: February 21, 2013, 11:08:39 AM »
At some point it seems like yall are just arguing semantics. 

Yup.  That's all the whole "retired versus not" debate is.  That's all the IRP is, and MMM's whole post is.

Not so. Several on this board have turned this into a relatively pointless debate on semantics, but the more important challenge presented by the IRP is their belief that individuals like MMM are being dishonest. They are not really trying to define retirement. They are claiming that it is almost impossible to be financially independent at such an early age without striking it rich in one way or another or living like an ascetic. They are wrong, and this does need to be pointed out because there are a lot of fence sitters out there that might fail to change their lives for the better because they think MMM and others like him are hucksters.
« Last Edit: February 21, 2013, 11:10:50 AM by Lagom »

tooqk4u22

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Re: Turns out I am practically retired already!
« Reply #53 on: February 21, 2013, 11:10:54 AM »
You can retire without being FI.......

Isn't this called unemployment, otherwise I am not sure how you can be retired without being FI?


Tomato Tomato (that doesn't work either) :)

darkelenchus

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Re: Turns out I am practically retired already!
« Reply #54 on: February 21, 2013, 11:21:00 AM »
You can retire without being FI.......

Isn't this called unemployment, otherwise I am not sure how you can be retired without being FI?


Tomato Tomato (that doesn't work either) :)

Someone's SWR might be able to allow them to have their desired lifestyle and make it to the grave, but their withdrawals might require eating into the principal. Sure, this person is unemployed, but if they consciously and voluntarily left their job, wouldn't they be retired?
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darkelenchus

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Re: Turns out I am practically retired already!
« Reply #55 on: February 21, 2013, 11:26:26 AM »
At some point it seems like yall are just arguing semantics. 

Yup.  That's all the whole "retired versus not" debate is.  That's all the IRP is, and MMM's whole post is.

Not so. Several on this board have turned this into a relatively pointless debate on semantics, but the more important challenge presented by the IRP is their belief that individuals like MMM are being dishonest. They are not really trying to define retirement. They are claiming that it is almost impossible to be financially independent at such an early age without striking it rich in one way or another or living like an ascetic.

If you're debating whether X is possible/impossible or probable/improbable, you've got to be clear on what "X" means, right?
We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. - Aristotle

Lagom

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Re: Turns out I am practically retired already!
« Reply #56 on: February 21, 2013, 11:35:32 AM »
At some point it seems like yall are just arguing semantics. 

Yup.  That's all the whole "retired versus not" debate is.  That's all the IRP is, and MMM's whole post is.

Not so. Several on this board have turned this into a relatively pointless debate on semantics, but the more important challenge presented by the IRP is their belief that individuals like MMM are being dishonest. They are not really trying to define retirement. They are claiming that it is almost impossible to be financially independent at such an early age without striking it rich in one way or another or living like an ascetic.

If you're debating whether X is possible/impossible or probable/improbable, you've got to be clear on what "X" means, right?

I suppose, but I think it's pretty obvious to all of us that by "retirement," MMM mostly means what many would dub "financial independence." Because we know what he means, we don't need to endlessly debate the shades of grey of the word he chose to use, especially since it detracts from the more important point. It's the same issue I have with people that go on and on about how someone misused the word "ironic." Even if you disagree with that, this is right there in his post:

"Retired means different things to different people. But one of the rules of Mustachianism is that if someone tells you they are retired, you do not question them. You congratulate them."

Clearly, despite his "official" definition of "retirement," that wasn't really the goal of the post. Hence while the debate over that portion of it is marginally interesting, it is ultimately unimportant. JMHO.

arebelspy

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Re: Turns out I am practically retired already!
« Reply #57 on: February 21, 2013, 11:44:05 AM »
I think anyone on this forum is past the point of not believing it's possible.  We all, to a person, think it is.

So then the more interesting question to us becomes the semantics.

We're more than ready to tell any IRP that think it's not possible or that MMM isn't retired that it is, and he is.

But we may not be ready to say Warren Buffett is (though some of us might be).  If he said he was, I wouldn't question it.  But since he hasn't commented on the issue, I think it's an interesting philosophical debate.

You seem to think it's quite negative, or want to dismiss it, but semantics can be a fun, good thing.  :)
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Lagom

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Re: Turns out I am practically retired already!
« Reply #58 on: February 21, 2013, 11:53:09 AM »
I think anyone on this forum is past the point of not believing it's possible.  We all, to a person, think it is.

So then the more interesting question to us becomes the semantics.

We're more than ready to tell any IRP that think it's not possible or that MMM isn't retired that it is, and he is.

But we may not be ready to say Warren Buffett is (though some of us might be).  If he said he was, I wouldn't question it.  But since he hasn't commented on the issue, I think it's an interesting philosophical debate.

You seem to think it's quite negative, or want to dismiss it, but semantics can be a fun, good thing.  :)

That's fair enough and I actually agree completely that semantics can be fun. I suppose I'm just reacting to the misplaced negativity that some have expressed towards the post up for discussion and the level of heat that has sometimes entered such an innocuous debate. If we want to discuss what it means to be "retired," that is a legitimate and interesting pursuit. But that's not "all the IRP is and MMM's whole post is."

darkelenchus

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Re: Turns out I am practically retired already!
« Reply #59 on: February 21, 2013, 12:23:55 PM »
Right, past tense indicates one has exercised the capacity. But I think the spirit of MMM's remarks indicate that retirement is a capacity afforded by FI. That is, by reaching FI, one has reached a stage when one can retire and one is actually retired after actually quitting one's job in an FI state.

If that's the case, I would agree.  But I think he actually calls someone who can retire, but hasn't yet, "retired" anyways.

I agree that "retirement is a capacity afforded by FI" but MMM basically says that "FI = retirement" -- they are synonymous.  To him, there is no such thing as "can retire" (any more than "can" be FI - you are or you aren't).

From what I understand of his definition at least.

Fair enough. I take it that MMM ended up using "retired" to refer to a working person who is aware of their FI status because our common parlance really doesn't have a better term, but that MMM is privy to the "can retire/actually retired" distinction.
« Last Edit: February 21, 2013, 12:40:34 PM by darkelenchus »
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tooqk4u22

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Re: Turns out I am practically retired already!
« Reply #60 on: February 21, 2013, 12:29:46 PM »
Someone's SWR might be able to allow them to have their desired lifestyle and make it to the grave, but their withdrawals might require eating into the principal. Sure, this person is unemployed, but if they consciously and voluntarily left their job, wouldn't they be retired?

This is contradictory as if you have set an appropriate SWR and live within that you ARE financially independent and is/can be retired. 

FWIW the premise of the SWR (pedestrian version, not MMM forum version) is that it will last for a 30 year retirement - i.e. if you die with $1 left it is a complete success.   

It is very difficult (even by historical measures) to achieve a 4% real return without subjecting yourself to big swings or unpredictable cash flow - once you fire most will have some portion of their investments in stable/lower risk categories.
 
Even with real estate you won't get a real return that is sufficient.

Arebelspy is amassing an empire of homes that he is getting 10% plus returns on, but that is the initial investment and that may allow him to FIRE on less invested capital but once he does his investments (cash flow) will basically keep pace with inflation (on average but could be more or less in any given year). 

darkelenchus

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Re: Turns out I am practically retired already!
« Reply #61 on: February 21, 2013, 01:19:04 PM »
Someone's SWR might be able to allow them to have their desired lifestyle and make it to the grave, but their withdrawals might require eating into the principal. Sure, this person is unemployed, but if they consciously and voluntarily left their job, wouldn't they be retired?

This is contradictory...

Okay, so you're saying that FI is a SWR that can take you to your grave while providing you with the lifestyle you desire to lead. MMM is saying FI is

Quote
hav[ing] sufficient savings (or other assets) that you could live indefinitely off the passive income they provide, [such that] these savings must give you the freedom to realize that any work you do is totally optional.

In other words, FI is essentially reaching "The Crossover Point" discussed in YMOYL.

Your conception of FI is broader than MMM's, seeing as his conception requires that one supports her lifestyle via income from savings. I agree that my "retired but not FI" example is contradictory under your conception of FI, but I had MMM's definition in mind. If someone no longer works, isn't earning enough interest to preserve her capital indefinitely, but has saved enough and/or receives a return good enough to get her through life, then she's not MMM FI nor MMM retired. From your perspective, she's retired; so she's got to be FI and it would be a contradiction to say otherwise. Is this correct?

I like your definition of FI. Combine that with MMM's definition of retirement (when retirement is understood as an ability) and it removes the narrowness issue.
« Last Edit: February 21, 2013, 01:33:50 PM by darkelenchus »
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tooqk4u22

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Re: Turns out I am practically retired already!
« Reply #62 on: February 21, 2013, 03:08:22 PM »
Someone's SWR might be able to allow them to have their desired lifestyle and make it to the grave, but their withdrawals might require eating into the principal. Sure, this person is unemployed, but if they consciously and voluntarily left their job, wouldn't they be retired?

This is contradictory...

Okay, so you're saying that FI is a SWR that can take you to your grave while providing you with the lifestyle you desire to lead.

Well yes....what more do you need than that,  unless part of your plan is to leave assets to friends, families, charities, etc at the end.  Now what SWR to use is a whole different issue/debate and discussed in other threads.


MMM is saying FI is
Quote
hav[ing] sufficient savings (or other assets) that you could live indefinitely off the passive income they provide, [such that] these savings must give you the freedom to realize that any work you do is totally optional.

I like that definition too but again that would fall under that category of saving to much and giving up more of your life for the sake of infinite safety.  Aside from that, I don't think he would think of himself as FI then as his whole history/lifestyle has been based on flexibility - cut spending temporarily, work more temporarily - he described this very premise in several posts specifically in discussion the 4% SWR and when the meltdown happened.   To me I don't want to have to work under any foreseeable circumstance - and the thought cutting/working is a best a fallback plan for a doomsday scenario, at which time I probably wouldn't be able to get work anyway so it would be a moot point.

That said I don't envision myself not working or better said as not creating some additional income along the way.

He also cited this:

Quote
“Retired” means you no longer have to work for money, and you are aware of this fact. You can then proceed to do whatever you want, as long as you do it consciously and of your own accord. If you meet this condition, and you feel retired, congratulations, you are.



In other words, FI is essentially reaching "The Crossover Point" discussed in YMOYL.

Your conception of FI is broader than MMM's, seeing as his conception requires that one supports her lifestyle via income from savings. I agree that my "retired but not FI" example is contradictory under your conception of FI, but I had MMM's definition in mind. If someone no longer works, isn't earning enough interest to preserve her capital indefinitely, but has saved enough and/or receives a return good enough to get her through life, then she's not MMM FI nor MMM retired. From your perspective, she's retired; so she's got to be FI and it would be a contradiction to say otherwise. Is this correct?

I like your definition of FI. Combine that with MMM's definition of retirement (when retirement is understood as an ability) and it removes the narrowness issue.

I can agree with that.

Spartana

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Re: Turns out I am practically retired already!
« Reply #63 on: February 21, 2013, 03:18:22 PM »
Consider the person who is not FI but has enough savings that she could support her desired lifestyle until she runs her natural course, she's aware of this, and she has exercised that ability. By making FI a necessary condition for retirement, the MMM definition excludes this as an instance of retirement. But clearly we want to call this person "retired."

If the person has enough in saving to support themselves in their desired lifestyle until they die (maybe using up their principal and dying pennyless) then I would consider them FI and retired by my personal definition of FI and ER if they didn't have to get a job at some point to earn money to live on.

But if it's just a temp thing until they use up all their saving before going back to work at some point in their life, I wouldn't consider this retirement - just a long sabbatical - a temporary break from employment. Sort of like people who choose to take time off work, maybe many many years, to raise a family, go back to school, travel, etc...  They may choose to work occasionally during this time for extra funds but their main focus is on something else rather then work (child rearing, school, full time travel, etc..).

Now if they never planned to go back to work even though their funds won't last their entire life, and hoped that they would find funds to support them some other way besides a job (trust fund babies maybe? inheirit?) than I'd grudginly consider them retired. But I wouldn't consider a 18 year old travelling the world and working occasional gigs to support that travel as "retired" even if they never planned to work a full time permnanent job. I don't know what I'd call them (besides lucky) but it wouldn't be retired. Retired from what?  When I quit my job at 42 I considered myself on a long sabbatical/break from employment rather then retired because I had planned on going back to work at some later time - maybe in 5 years or so - even though I was technically modestly FI.  I changed that to retirement once I decided I didn't want to go back to work. So even though I didn't leave my job with the label of "retired person", that is what I now label myself. If I was working - even fun P/T, seasonal or even temp jobs  - and earning money (whether I needed that money or not) I would consider myself "semi-retired" not retired even if I didn't need that money because I would still be somewhat employed.
« Last Edit: February 21, 2013, 03:59:47 PM by Spartana »

Bakari

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Re: Turns out I am practically retired already!
« Reply #64 on: February 21, 2013, 05:51:56 PM »
if you die with $1 left it is a complete success.   

hee hee... my plan, when I'm 80 something, or get diagnosed terminal, is to acquire as much credit as I possibly can and max that $&!% out!
What can they do?  Nothin, thats what! Ahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!!
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Jamesqf

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Re: Turns out I am practically retired already!
« Reply #65 on: February 21, 2013, 06:02:28 PM »
Not so. Several on this board have turned this into a relatively pointless debate on semantics, but the more important challenge presented by the IRP is their belief that individuals like MMM are being dishonest. They are not really trying to define retirement. They are claiming that it is almost impossible to be financially independent at such an early age without striking it rich in one way or another or living like an ascetic.

I don't agree.  Yes, there are some people with that point of view, but I'm not one of them.  For one thing, I was FI (at the level I call independently poor) a decade or so ago. (And am gradually moving up the scale to independently middle class, as I keep adding to the stash.)  But I still think that MMM's lifestyle choice is a career change, not retirement, and I still hope never to have to retire (by conventional definition) myself.

Bakari

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Re: Turns out I am practically retired already!
« Reply #66 on: February 21, 2013, 06:05:34 PM »
Which part are you disagreeing with?

That the debate in this thread is semantic, that the IRP think being FI at a young age is impossible without being "rich", or that it actually is impossible to be FI without being rich?
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Nords

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Re: Turns out I am practically retired already!
« Reply #67 on: February 21, 2013, 07:47:40 PM »
Several on this board have turned this into a relatively pointless debate on semantics, but the more important challenge presented by the IRP is their belief that individuals like MMM are being dishonest.
I speak from some experience when I say "Best pointless debate ever!!"

But I understand the motivation behind the people who object to the claims of FI or ER (or whatever semantic symbol we're assigning to the concept).  They just want to make sure that this stuff really works and that it's not just a bunch of delusional Dominguez wannabes.

Several years ago a couple of well-meaning posters made quite a stir on an ER board with their financial analysis of the SWR.  One guy is a journalist and the other claimed to be a financial analyst.  Between them they caused a tremendous uproar with their seemingly articulate (but completely incorrect) analysis of financial history, valuations, and returns.  When the math didn't pan out, they turned to conspiracy theories attacking the moderators, the financial industry, the Federal Reserve, the BLS, and anybody else who was "preventing" them from proving that 2+2=5.  It's approaching over a decade of discord.  To make things even more awkward, the analyst has passed away so any indictment of his calculations is interpreted as a personal affront by the journalist.

The concern isn't so much hucksters or liars or crooks.  It's cluelessness or magical thinking.

By the way, I still think the dividing line between FI and self-deception is whether you'd donate all of your salary to charity.  Buffett is 82 years old and earns $100K/year plus expenses (about $350K/year) and had $47M last year in personal dividend income yet is giving away several billion each year for the next 13-14 years so... yeah, his SWR will probably work out OK.
« Last Edit: February 21, 2013, 07:50:05 PM by Nords »
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Jamesqf

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Re: Turns out I am practically retired already!
« Reply #68 on: February 22, 2013, 01:03:59 PM »
Which part are you disagreeing with?

That the debate in this thread is semantic, that the IRP think being FI at a young age is impossible without being "rich", or that it actually is impossible to be FI without being rich?

Sorry, I wasn't entirely clear there.  I disagree that most of the IRP (since I apparently am one :-)) think that achieving FI is impossible, or that MMM's finances wouldn't work out without his construction & blogging income.  As I said, I came a long way along that path before I ever heard of MMM, or early retirement in general.  I was awarded my IRP badge because I don't think MMM is actually retired, as the word is defined in the dictionary.  He's done a mid-life career change, to other sorts of work that give him greater satisfaction.  I applaud him for that, and for encouraging others to do the same, but it still ain't retirement :-)

And of course I disagree about the actual desirability of retirement, but we've got another thread for that.
« Last Edit: February 22, 2013, 07:52:30 PM by Jamesqf »

tooqk4u22

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Re: Turns out I am practically retired already!
« Reply #69 on: February 22, 2013, 01:17:35 PM »
if you die with $1 left it is a complete success.   

hee hee... my plan, when I'm 80 something, or get diagnosed terminal, is to acquire as much credit as I possibly can and max that $&!% out!
What can they do?  Nothin, thats what! Ahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!!

That's even better - that is my new goal.

MrMoneyMullet

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Re: Turns out I am practically retired already!
« Reply #70 on: February 23, 2013, 09:52:12 PM »
Several on this board have turned this into a relatively pointless debate on semantics, but the more important challenge presented by the IRP is their belief that individuals like MMM are being dishonest.
I speak from some experience when I say "Best pointless debate ever!!"


Been reading MMM for a couple of weeks; just joined the forum. Just read this entire thread and it was like a good book. Soaring at times, frustrating at times, and altogether worth the read!

Thanks all.

darkelenchus

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Re: Turns out I am practically retired already!
« Reply #71 on: February 24, 2013, 08:30:02 AM »
Okay, so you're saying that FI is a SWR that can take you to your grave while providing you with the lifestyle you desire to lead.

Well yes....what more do you need than that...

Right, I agree. But that contrasts with the "only rule" of MMM-style retirement is that passive income from your assets is able to support you to your grave. If all you need is a SWR (even on principal that doesn't pay interest), the "only rule" becomes unnecessary.

MMM is saying FI is
Quote
hav[ing] sufficient savings (or other assets) that you could live indefinitely off the passive income they provide, [such that] these savings must give you the freedom to realize that any work you do is totally optional.

I like that definition too but again that would fall under that category of saving to much and giving up more of your life for the sake of infinite safety.  Aside from that, I don't think he would think of himself as FI then as his whole history/lifestyle has been based on flexibility - cut spending temporarily, work more temporarily - he described this very premise in several posts specifically in discussion the 4% SWR and when the meltdown happened.   To me I don't want to have to work under any foreseeable circumstance - and the thought cutting/working is a best a fallback plan for a doomsday scenario, at which time I probably wouldn't be able to get work anyway so it would be a moot point.

Sure. I think this is the meeting-point between the semantic considerations and the "more important issue" of credibility that Lagom and Nords have alluded to. The concept of financial independence in FIRE communities has baked within it certain presumptions about the future. We can talk all we want about likelihoods for the future based on past performance and make predictions based on present circumstances, but if claiming to be FI entails claiming to have enough capital to support one's lifestyle to the grave (which may or may not include leaving an inheritance), it's to some degree disingenuous to behave as if FI is truly predicated of anyone currently living, since we don't know what the future holds. FI is at best provisionally predicated of those who are currently able to support their lifestyles without working. But the confidence, optimism, and bravado with which MMM presents an FI lifestyle gives some the impression that FI can be and is truly predicated of himself and other individuals, and so becomes a prime target for charges of charlatanism. Wrong though the criticism may be, it's not altogether misplaced, simply because FI is and must be provisionally predicated. The FIRE community doesn't have any illusions about this; hence Monte Carlo Simulations, Networthify, and other analytic tools that we use in planning for a variety of future circumstances.

Perhaps a better strategy for dealing with IRP, then, is to explicitly point out the provisional nature of the FI label. After all, it's not unlike a zillion other facets of our lives. The hunt for certainty is largely an exercise in futility, and the desire for total safety is an expensive illusion.

[MMM] also cited this:

Quote
“Retired” means you no longer have to work for money, and you are aware of this fact. You can then proceed to do whatever you want, as long as you do it consciously and of your own accord. If you meet this condition, and you feel retired, congratulations, you are.

Right. And the "only rule" was a clarification of the concept of "no longer hav[ing] to work for money." So if the "only rule" places some limitation on that concept which leads to the exclusion of the definition pertaining to an instance of retirement, the definition becomes too narrow to capture the meaning of the term "retirement."

I like your definition of FI. Combine that with MMM's definition of retirement (when retirement is understood as an ability) and it removes the narrowness issue.
I can agree with that.

Our work is done here. Close down the thread. tooqk and I agree. :-)
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