Author Topic: Iím glad I didnít find out about FIRE until my 40ís  (Read 8097 times)

John123

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Iím glad I didnít find out about FIRE until my 40ís
« on: August 04, 2017, 08:43:26 AM »
There seems to be a common theme about regretting not finding out about FIRE sooner.  I have the opposite feeling, I have zero regrets since getting serious about it last year at age 42.  The reason is twofold, first is the wait.  Iím 43 now and can see the light at the end of the tunnel, but if I got into this in my 20ís, the light would be nowhere in sight.  Once I bought into the idea, I was consumed with wanting it as soon as possible.  Sure, I could have already gotten there had I started earlier, but instead I got to wake up one day and find out it was right in front of me.

When I first started reading about FIRE and the 4% rule, I had never added up all my accounts (10 total and no balance over 330K plus paid off house).  I was a little surprised when the total came out to 1.27M.  I never got to celebrate the 1M NW milestone because I never knew it happened (1M invested assets is close, so I will get to celebrate that).  I could be so much farther ahead, but I donít care. 

That brings me to the other reason Iím glad I didnít find out earlier.  I enjoyed my younger years and the money I spent during that time.  FIRE has caused me to become a little too stingy with my money.  This basically boils down to YOLO. I actually believe there is some truth to that, so again, no regrets. 

FIRE date should be late 2020, but I have young kids and am tied to the school year, so the RE part isnít that appealing right now.  Itís all about FI and the freedom and peace of mind that comes with it.  Iím hoping to have 1.25M invested to consider myself FI with wiggle room.
 
One more thingÖregrets suck.  Try not to have them.

John

jlcnuke

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Re: Iím glad I didnít find out about FIRE until my 40ís
« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2017, 08:51:20 AM »
There seems to be a common theme about regretting not finding out about FIRE sooner.  I have the opposite feeling, I have zero regrets since getting serious about it last year at age 42.  The reason is twofold, first is the wait.  Iím 43 now and can see the light at the end of the tunnel, but if I got into this in my 20ís, the light would be nowhere in sight.  Once I bought into the idea, I was consumed with wanting it as soon as possible.  Sure, I could have already gotten there had I started earlier, but instead I got to wake up one day and find out it was right in front of me.

When I first started reading about FIRE and the 4% rule, I had never added up all my accounts (10 total and no balance over 330K plus paid off house).  I was a little surprised when the total came out to 1.27M.  I never got to celebrate the 1M NW milestone because I never knew it happened (1M invested assets is close, so I will get to celebrate that).  I could be so much farther ahead, but I donít care. 

That brings me to the other reason Iím glad I didnít find out earlier.  I enjoyed my younger years and the money I spent during that time.  FIRE has caused me to become a little too stingy with my money.  This basically boils down to YOLO. I actually believe there is some truth to that, so again, no regrets. 

FIRE date should be late 2020, but I have young kids and am tied to the school year, so the RE part isnít that appealing right now.  Itís all about FI and the freedom and peace of mind that comes with it.  Iím hoping to have 1.25M invested to consider myself FI with wiggle room.
 
One more thingÖregrets suck.  Try not to have them.

John

As someone who didn't save/invest crap throughout most of their 20's (despite having plenty of money I could have invested instead of spending on booze, parties, and women), I really really wish I would have considered it much earlier so that I might have made some different choices. I'd likely be comfortably retired today instead of (hopefully) 7 years from now.
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marielle

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Re: Iím glad I didnít find out about FIRE until my 40ís
« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2017, 08:54:17 AM »
Sounds like you have had a very high income and good savings habits already. The majority of Americans are middle class income and in debt with really expensive houses and brand new cars. Most people won't have over 1mil saved by 40 unless they try for it. I don't regret finding out about FI at an early age at all, though I was already pretty frugal before knowing ER is possible.

John123

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Re: Iím glad I didnít find out about FIRE until my 40ís
« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2017, 08:57:12 AM »
As someone who didn't save/invest crap throughout most of their 20's (despite having plenty of money I could have invested instead of spending on booze, parties, and women), I really really wish I would have considered it much earlier so that I might have made some different choices. I'd likely be comfortably retired today instead of (hopefully) 7 years from now.

Sorry, I really should have made it more clear this was about me personally not having regrets.  I can totally understand if others feel different.  I could have been FIRE years ago if I would have started earlier, but I don't feel regretful about it (again, personally).

John   

John123

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Re: Iím glad I didnít find out about FIRE until my 40ís
« Reply #4 on: August 04, 2017, 09:02:55 AM »
Sounds like you have had a very high income and good savings habits already. The majority of Americans are middle class income and in debt with really expensive houses and brand new cars. Most people won't have over 1mil saved by 40 unless they try for it. I don't regret finding out about FI at an early age at all, though I was already pretty frugal before knowing ER is possible.

I should point out this includes my wife as well.  I didn't personally save 1M on my decent, but not high for this forums salary (less than 6 figures).

John

itchyfeet

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Re: Iím glad I didnít find out about FIRE until my 40ís
« Reply #5 on: August 04, 2017, 09:51:59 AM »
John

I agree with you. I felt the message came at the right time for me, which was early 40s.

For me, in a period of dissatisfaction with my work I became desperate to escape ASAP and research on the how led me to ERE and MMM. I'd never looked at a personal finance website prior to this epiphany, but through luck and common sense had built a decent NW over 20 years of work.

For a few years after finding all this information I remained desperate to FIRE, obsessed even, but recently I am feeling a little ambivalent. I am more feeling I want a long break (6 months to a year should do) and then to start a new career. Something completely diffierent that will keep me interested for 10 years or so.

Maybe I am institutionalised and am just fearing my ability to get going every day without somewhere to be.

I also think a small part is greed. i am now following my finances closely (like you, I didn't before 40), and I am liking the growth I see a little too much 😁. I'm not sure how I will feel drawing down.

Unlike you I have not become more frugal.... more the opposite..... DW and I keep justifying spending on travel with let's do it while i have a high paying job. we don't know what the markets will dictate for our future.

Throughout our 20 year relationship DW and I have tried to keep a balance in what we do. Tried to balance careers, finances, fun, fitness, family. We continue to seek balance.

Re3iRtH

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Re: Iím glad I didnít find out about FIRE until my 40ís
« Reply #6 on: August 04, 2017, 10:01:00 AM »
There seems to be a common theme about regretting not finding out about FIRE sooner.  I have the opposite feeling, I have zero regrets since getting serious about it last year at age 42.  The reason is twofold, first is the wait.  Iím 43 now and can see the light at the end of the tunnel, but if I got into this in my 20ís, the light would be nowhere in sight.  Once I bought into the idea, I was consumed with wanting it as soon as possible.  Sure, I could have already gotten there had I started earlier, but instead I got to wake up one day and find out it was right in front of me.

When I first started reading about FIRE and the 4% rule, I had never added up all my accounts (10 total and no balance over 330K plus paid off house).  I was a little surprised when the total came out to 1.27M.  I never got to celebrate the 1M NW milestone because I never knew it happened (1M invested assets is close, so I will get to celebrate that).  I could be so much farther ahead, but I donít care. 

That brings me to the other reason Iím glad I didnít find out earlier.  I enjoyed my younger years and the money I spent during that time.  FIRE has caused me to become a little too stingy with my money.  This basically boils down to YOLO. I actually believe there is some truth to that, so again, no regrets. 

FIRE date should be late 2020, but I have young kids and am tied to the school year, so the RE part isnít that appealing right now.  Itís all about FI and the freedom and peace of mind that comes with it.  Iím hoping to have 1.25M invested to consider myself FI with wiggle room.
 
One more thingÖregrets suck.  Try not to have them.

John

As someone who didn't save/invest crap throughout most of their 20's (despite having plenty of money I could have invested instead of spending on booze, parties, and women), I really really wish I would have considered it much earlier so that I might have made some different choices. I'd likely be comfortably retired today instead of (hopefully) 7 years from now.

I tend to agree with John on the regret thing. Be proud and savor the memories of your 20s. Looking back on my 20s, I did all the partying,  lots of international traveling, nightlife, falling in love with everything and every one, and don't regret even one second of it. Whoever said you have to "give up your 20s" to be a doctor, didn't know how to time and life hack.

That said, I also feel that after discovering this site not very long ago, I have become too 'responsible' and stingy with my money. I was always the generous one, too. So sad :P
« Last Edit: August 16, 2017, 12:54:49 AM by Re3iRtH »

neonlight

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Re: Iím glad I didnít find out about FIRE until my 40ís
« Reply #7 on: August 04, 2017, 10:51:08 AM »
There seems to be a common theme about regretting not finding out about FIRE sooner.  I have the opposite feeling, I have zero regrets since getting serious about it last year at age 42.  The reason is twofold, first is the wait.  Iím 43 now and can see the light at the end of the tunnel, but if I got into this in my 20ís, the light would be nowhere in sight.  Once I bought into the idea, I was consumed with wanting it as soon as possible.  Sure, I could have already gotten there had I started earlier, but instead I got to wake up one day and find out it was right in front of me.

Interesting notion. Instead of running a ultra marathon, you are already over mid way when you realize you're in the race. So a longer journey but you probably enjoyed the scenery while unconsciously going the race midway.

Also in similar position. After reading MMM (which was two weeks ago! I started reading about early retirement and bumped into MMM 2 days ago) I started making some serious calculation and realized that I have cash lying here and there, and maybe some uncollected business dues that I will either not collect it(complicated) or just pour back into business even after I collected the debts. After making all the calculation I am actually 2/3 to the finishing line. Given I am extremely lucky as I get to work in a country that gave me better income which I will then get to spend it in my home country.


That brings me to the other reason Iím glad I didnít find out earlier.  I enjoyed my younger years and the money I spent during that time.  FIRE has caused me to become a little too stingy with my money.  This basically boils down to YOLO. I actually believe there is some truth to that, so again, no regrets. 


For some reason I like being thrift. My best vacation was a super cheap backpack around Europe where I spent my night sleeping at train station, abandoned castles and even ATM rooms! I probably won't do it again due to safety but that cheap vacation was easily the best. :)

neonlight

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Re: Iím glad I didnít find out about FIRE until my 40ís
« Reply #8 on: August 04, 2017, 10:53:03 AM »
There seems to be a common theme about regretting not finding out about FIRE sooner.  I have the opposite feeling, I have zero regrets since getting serious about it last year at age 42.  The reason is twofold, first is the wait.  Iím 43 now and can see the light at the end of the tunnel, but if I got into this in my 20ís, the light would be nowhere in sight.  Once I bought into the idea, I was consumed with wanting it as soon as possible.  Sure, I could have already gotten there had I started earlier, but instead I got to wake up one day and find out it was right in front of me.

Interesting notion. Instead of running a ultra marathon, you are already over mid way when you realize you're in the race. So a longer journey but you probably enjoyed the scenery while unconsciously going the race midway.

Also in similar position. After having the idea (which was two weeks ago! I started reading about early retirement and bumped into MMM 2 days ago) I started making some serious calculation and realized that I have cash lying here and there, and maybe some uncollected business dues that I will either not collect it(complicated) or just pour back into business even after I collected the debts. After making all the calculation I am actually 2/3 to the finishing line. Given I am extremely lucky as I get to work in a country that gave me better income which I will then get to spend it in my home country.


That brings me to the other reason Iím glad I didnít find out earlier.  I enjoyed my younger years and the money I spent during that time.  FIRE has caused me to become a little too stingy with my money.  This basically boils down to YOLO. I actually believe there is some truth to that, so again, no regrets. 


For some reason I like being thrift. My best vacation was a super cheap backpack around Europe where I spent my night sleeping at train station, abandoned castles and even ATM rooms! I probably won't do it again due to safety but that cheap vacation was easily the best. :)

John123

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Re: Iím glad I didnít find out about FIRE until my 40ís
« Reply #9 on: August 04, 2017, 11:41:59 AM »
Interesting notion. Instead of running a ultra marathon, you are already over mid way when you realize you're in the race. So a longer journey but you probably enjoyed the scenery while unconsciously going the race midway.

I love your analogy, it's dead on. 

John

jlcnuke

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Re: Iím glad I didnít find out about FIRE until my 40ís
« Reply #10 on: August 04, 2017, 11:42:39 AM »
As someone who didn't save/invest crap throughout most of their 20's (despite having plenty of money I could have invested instead of spending on booze, parties, and women), I really really wish I would have considered it much earlier so that I might have made some different choices. I'd likely be comfortably retired today instead of (hopefully) 7 years from now.

Sorry, I really should have made it more clear this was about me personally not having regrets.  I can totally understand if others feel different.  I could have been FIRE years ago if I would have started earlier, but I don't feel regretful about it (again, personally).

John

I regret it only in hindsight, as I could have set myself up much better financially. However, even if I had been exposed to the FIRE concept much back in my 20's and even early 30's, I probably wouldn't have made it a goal or really tried towards it back then. In fact, I was saving/investing pretty well in my early 30's and well schooled on personal finance by that time, but I had no thoughts of ER back then. I had career ambitions/goals that were driving me and the savings/investments were something I understood were positive things but not something I thought I'd be using before I was old enough to collect SS. It wasn't until some unfortunate things that made those goals all but impossible to reach without again uprooting my life, which would be a major inconvenience to me and other family members, that I even started considering when I could get out of the "rat race". Had my career taken the path I was heading towards then, I'd likely be quite satisfied working and not constantly looking forward to the day I could bail on working. In fact, if things change moving forward and present a good opportunity to resume that path I'd likely still entertain that option. Barring that unlikely scenario, however, I'm glad to know that I'm on the path to be able to jump into ER before I'm 50. I'd have preferred to be "halfway through the marathon before I knew I was in a race" though :D
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BlueHouse

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Re: Iím glad I didnít find out about FIRE until my 40ís
« Reply #11 on: August 04, 2017, 12:00:30 PM »
I think your construct is faulty and even downright silly.  You are glad you didn't KNOW about it?  Because knowledge is bad? 

You can know about it and still make choices. 

For me, thinking about things in terms of what brings me pleasure and what doesn't add much pleasure has helped me carve some things out of my life to attain goals faster than I would have otherwise.  I was late to the game too, and thankfully have a current high income so that I can catch up to where I should have been had I not pissed away so much money on stupid things that didn't enhance my life.  Now that I'm in my late 40s, I yearn for freedom like I never have before and if I learned some of the tricks earlier at least now I would have a choice. 

So I guess my comment boils down to:  don't advocate for hiding knowledge.  Advocate for choice for all! 
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John123

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Re: Iím glad I didnít find out about FIRE until my 40ís
« Reply #12 on: August 04, 2017, 12:24:44 PM »
I think your construct is faulty and even downright silly.  You are glad you didn't KNOW about it?  Because knowledge is bad? 

You can know about it and still make choices. 

For me, thinking about things in terms of what brings me pleasure and what doesn't add much pleasure has helped me carve some things out of my life to attain goals faster than I would have otherwise.  I was late to the game too, and thankfully have a current high income so that I can catch up to where I should have been had I not pissed away so much money on stupid things that didn't enhance my life.  Now that I'm in my late 40s, I yearn for freedom like I never have before and if I learned some of the tricks earlier at least now I would have a choice. 

So I guess my comment boils down to:  don't advocate for hiding knowledge.  Advocate for choice for all!



Silly or not here is one more reason.   If I was a FIRE disciple pre-children, I don't know what would have happened.  I was sort of on the fence anyways and this could have pushed my away from children.  The massive positive impact my kids have my life is something that can't be explained.  I could get really emotional about it, but I'll just leave it at that.  If I didn't have kids because of FIRE goals...I can't even imagine.  Now that I think about it, that is the most important reason I'm glad I never found out about FIRE until my 40's.




jezebel

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Re: Iím glad I didnít find out about FIRE until my 40ís
« Reply #13 on: August 04, 2017, 12:30:37 PM »
I would just consider the fact that it is REALLY easy to say this when your NW is already over 1 million when you discover FIRE.  Congrats.

simonsez

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Re: Iím glad I didnít find out about FIRE until my 40ís
« Reply #14 on: August 04, 2017, 12:34:33 PM »
Ignorance sure is blissful when you come to in your early 40s and you're worth 7 figures.

John123

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Re: Iím glad I didnít find out about FIRE until my 40ís
« Reply #15 on: August 04, 2017, 12:38:39 PM »
I would just consider the fact that it is REALLY easy to say this when your NW is already over 1 million when you discover FIRE.  Congrats.

Very true.  But I'm also 43 and still several years away.  Not breaking any records here.

John123

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Re: Iím glad I didnít find out about FIRE until my 40ís
« Reply #16 on: August 04, 2017, 12:43:03 PM »
Ignorance sure is blissful when you come to in your early 40s and you're worth 7 figures.

This is valid.  It's easy for me to say that because it worked out. 

simonsez

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Re: Iím glad I didnít find out about FIRE until my 40ís
« Reply #17 on: August 04, 2017, 12:46:27 PM »
Ignorance sure is blissful when you come to in your early 40s and you're worth 7 figures.

This is valid.  It's easy for me to say that because it worked out.
Yes indeed!  Kudos are still warranted though.  Congrats on the progress thus far, it sounds like you've had a nice life from the brief tidbits you've shared.

Tuskalusa

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Re: Iím glad I didnít find out about FIRE until my 40ís
« Reply #18 on: August 04, 2017, 01:47:59 PM »
Mid-forties here. Discovered MMM about 2 years ago. I'm grateful that I discovered MMM when I did because it put some structure around what I had been thinking all along. I always saved aggressively for retirement, and I knew to live within my means, but I didn't have a specific goal in mind.

Had I heard about MMM in my twenties, I would have wanted it right away. My obsessive personality would have probably created more angst than benefit. But in my 40s, it gave me perspective to change my life.

There are good things about finding out the benefits of simple living and wealth maximization at any age. However, I'm in the same boat with the author here. Figuring it out later worked for me.

gluskap

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Re: Iím glad I didnít find out about FIRE until my 40ís
« Reply #19 on: August 04, 2017, 02:42:31 PM »
I agree about living life without regrets.  I discovered MMM a bit late in my mid 30s and yeah I probably could've FIREd earlier if I had discovered it in my 20s.  But I'm glad that I got to enjoy life in my 20s without too much worry about being overly frugal.  I did a lot of traveling that would've been hard for me to do now with a kid.  Plus in a way I got to get it out of my system and now it's easier to refrain from that type of spending cuz I've "been there done that" already.

Milizard

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Re: Iím glad I didnít find out about FIRE until my 40ís
« Reply #20 on: August 04, 2017, 03:16:53 PM »
When I first discovered MMM, I was frustrated because I was very underpaid.  I just wrote it off for myself--it was for people who earned a good living.  I had always hoped for FIRE, though, since my first crappy job and the personal finance class I took telling me to save 15% for retirement.  I always did 15%--didn't realize I could save more.  (And maybe I couldn't in my 401k at first--there were more restrictions on it back then.  Plus, the options I had in it kind of sucked.  Over the years, and with the internet, it has gotten much easier to learn and to invest.   So, I sort of wished I knew more back then, but may have not been able to act on it anyway, or I just wouldn't have because there was more work involved in it.

neonlight

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Re: Iím glad I didnít find out about FIRE until my 40ís
« Reply #21 on: August 04, 2017, 08:15:01 PM »
Mid-forties here. Discovered MMM about 2 years ago. I'm grateful that I discovered MMM when I did because it put some structure around what I had been thinking all along. I always saved aggressively for retirement, and I knew to live within my means, but I didn't have a specific goal in mind.

Had I heard about MMM in my twenties, I would have wanted it right away. My obsessive personality would have probably created more angst than benefit. But in my 40s, it gave me perspective to change my life.

There are good things about finding out the benefits of simple living and wealth maximization at any age. However, I'm in the same boat with the author here. Figuring it out later worked for me.

Did you safe aggresively but put less thought on passive wealth generation? I grew up being thrift and was already practising many habits unknowingly. So when I started looking at FIRE I just realized that the focus now be on smart investment.

Wonder if it's the case for you.
« Last Edit: August 04, 2017, 08:48:27 PM by neonlight »

brooklynmoney

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Re: Iím glad I didnít find out about FIRE until my 40ís
« Reply #22 on: August 04, 2017, 08:36:21 PM »
Interesting notion. Instead of running a ultra marathon, you are already over mid way when you realize you're in the race. So a longer journey but you probably enjoyed the scenery while unconsciously going the race midway.

I love your analogy, it's dead on. 

John

I agree this is exactly how I would describe my journey!

Slow2FIRE

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Re: Iím glad I didnít find out about FIRE until my 40ís
« Reply #23 on: August 04, 2017, 09:39:37 PM »
Congrats.

Now imagine how you would feel if you were more like most US Americans (I fall into the general US American category) and are in your forties with very little net worth.  I try not to dwell on my past mistakes, but if I had better awareness of the possibilities and/or a goal to strive for - I wouldn't be near your age with a low six figure net worth.  Having only stumbled upon living beneath my means, saving, investing and striving for FI 2 years ago means that at best I can achieve an "ordinary early retirement".

Tuskalusa

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Re: Iím glad I didnít find out about FIRE until my 40ís
« Reply #24 on: August 04, 2017, 11:45:24 PM »
@neonlight

Yes, I think it's fair to say that I saved aggressively, but didn't think seriously about wealth generation. I also did most of my saving in 401k fund with generous employer matches. So all of my eggs were in a basket that is difficult to touch in early retirement.

When I found MMM, I saw the bigger picture of passive income/wealth generation. So it was a matter of shifting resources and strategies. And while I didn't FIRE in my 30's, I now have confidence in my resources and my plan.

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Re: Iím glad I didnít find out about FIRE until my 40ís
« Reply #25 on: August 05, 2017, 07:36:49 PM »
I would have loved to figure this all out 20yrs ago. I would be FIRE now for 5-10yrs and I would not have missed out on anything important. I would have just been more efficient with my spending, saving and investing. All waiting to get this info did is delay my retirement.

neonlight

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Re: Iím glad I didnít find out about FIRE until my 40ís
« Reply #26 on: August 05, 2017, 08:09:57 PM »
@neonlight

Yes, I think it's fair to say that I saved aggressively, but didn't think seriously about wealth generation. I also did most of my saving in 401k fund with generous employer matches. So all of my eggs were in a basket that is difficult to touch in early retirement.

When I found MMM, I saw the bigger picture of passive income/wealth generation. So it was a matter of shifting resources and strategies. And while I didn't FIRE in my 30's, I now have confidence in my resources and my plan.

Being sometimes an inpatient person, it would have been a herculean and dreaded task if I found out about FIRE too early and needed a decade to achieve it. If I made my calculations right, I could retire really soon but have to live super thrift for 50 years, or I can hold out for a few more years and retire comfortable. So like you, we are starting from a level of confidence and comfort :)

I am 35 but with all the problems at work I am also contemplating a soft FIRE next year. I know I can retire and if I want to come back to work in say ten years later (45 yo) I can. I can use the ten years for doing something I like , maybe have a family and etc. Any suggestions?
« Last Edit: August 07, 2017, 10:03:23 AM by neonlight »

Tuskalusa

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Re: Iím glad I didnít find out about FIRE until my 40ís
« Reply #27 on: August 06, 2017, 01:30:07 AM »
If you can swing being home while raising a family, I'd totally recommend that. There's so much to juggle with work and home.

I've done the "soft fire." I have a part time job working in education. Interesting work, but low pay. But now I have time to give back to the community. 😀

BlueHouse

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Re: Iím glad I didnít find out about FIRE until my 40ís
« Reply #28 on: August 07, 2017, 09:29:27 AM »
One of the best things I learned while reading about mustachianism is the lazy investment portfolio.  It's still difficult for me to just "leave it alone".  But since I've committed to that, my investments have done so much better than when I was just stumbling along blindly.  I'm glad no one tried to convince me that ignorance is bliss.  oh wait, the entire consumer sucka industry tried to convince me of that and did a decent job for many years. 
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Re: Iím glad I didnít find out about FIRE until my 40ís
« Reply #29 on: August 07, 2017, 09:46:32 AM »
Similar boat here. Didn't find out about the FIRE concept until a few years ago. Finding out sooner would have led to angst, anxiety, and stress. Finding out when we're nearly there means we don't have to wait as long to grab that dangling carrot. And I'm also more patient now than I was in my 20s.

My one regret is dinking around for so long with our money poorly invested, so it grew sluggishly when it could have done much better with indexed investing. And our financial planner siphoned off her percentage for a decade, without providing great results, which is my bad for not paying more attention. To be fair, though, she did also lay out projections for when spouse & I could retire at our current spending levels, which got me thinking about how "retirement" didn't have to mean 65+. So in a way, she's the one who first got me thinking informally about FIRE.

It is wise to know your younger self well enough to know what thoughts would cause more trouble than benefit. There's a reason some horses wear blinders. We are not just rational creatures, but emotional ones too.

dude

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Re: Iím glad I didnít find out about FIRE until my 40ís
« Reply #30 on: August 07, 2017, 12:58:39 PM »
Didn't stumble upon MMM until about 4 years ago, in my late 40's. Knew I had a pension coming at the end of this career in 2019, but figured it wouldn't be enough to live on and I'd have to get another job until I was 62. Realized after reading the FIRE literature that I was way off base, and could permanently retire then. Was always pretty good on the saving end, but not so much on the spending side, so it wasn't too late for me to make impactful changes.

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Re: Iím glad I didnít find out about FIRE until my 40ís
« Reply #31 on: August 08, 2017, 11:40:55 AM »
+1 
I get what John was saying and I agree.  If you are on the path anyways but just enjoying the scenery, it's nicer than focusing on the end goal and not enjoying the journey.

I started reading this site in my mid-30's, but it really didn't impact me in any meaningful way, since I was already basically on the path.  And it is just nice to listen to the chatter of other like minded people.

StockBeard

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Re: Iím glad I didnít find out about FIRE until my 40ís
« Reply #32 on: August 09, 2017, 02:13:49 AM »
I agree with the OP. Learning about MMM has brought me a great and meaningful goal, but also the frustration to not be "there yet". So I'm glad I didn't make my own 20's miserable for the sake of saving money and reaching FI.

Then again, as others have said, It's easier to be happy about it for people who naturally saved without thinking about it, than for someone who in their 40s realize they're still very far from the goal

londonstache

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Re: Iím glad I didnít find out about FIRE until my 40ís
« Reply #33 on: August 09, 2017, 06:53:48 AM »
FIRE has caused me to become a little too stingy with my money. 

I'm a sizeable distance from FIRE - relatively I'm doing well for my age, but a long way off. This is a really useful perspective and a warning to me not to be stingy with my money. What I'd like to aim for is to be frugal myself but generous towards others - this doesn't just mean cash but will also be time and attention.

One more thingÖregrets suck.  Try not to have them.

Another timely point. I tend to regret not saving more in my 20s but I don't need to keep beating myself up about it.

Laura33

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Re: Iím glad I didnít find out about FIRE until my 40ís
« Reply #34 on: August 09, 2017, 11:18:40 AM »
This makes me think.  I have long said that I wish I had known about the actual RE part of FIRE earlier, because then I could have maybe convinced DH to be more frugal (i.e., that it's not just doing without, it's about putting your money toward this awesome vision that is so much more important). 

But maybe I heard the message when I was ready to hear it, and if I'd heard it 25 years ago, I'd have dismissed it.  Back then, I was highly ambitious, determined to put my stamp on the world. I was also bound and determined never to be poor again.  So overall, my ethos was "work hard and save aggressively so you can be rich by the time you retire at 65."  The idea of setting myself up to live on $30-40K (today's money) forever is something I would have scoffed at -- walk/bike everywhere? Clean my own house and mow my own lawn and never go out to eat and go camping for vacation and do all my own repairs and shop at thrift stores?  That's the life I was running away from.  I was going to do Great Things, and people were going to shower me with giant wads of cash as my reward!

And, you know, I bitch about how DH is spendier than I am.  But my frustration with him back then was out of fear -- I wanted to save all I could because it would never be enough, so I could be like Scrooge McDuck and sit on piles of gold coins.  I would never have retired at MMM's level of savings, because I was too afraid everything would go in the shitter.  And then, to be completely honest, DH's spendy ways were probably good for me for the first decade or so; he had such a different, optimistic view of money that he taught me to let go a little, that the world wouldn't end if we bought Charmin instead of the generic version.  Whereas before I took joy only in saving, he taught me that spending in the *right* ways also made me happy.  I think I needed that lesson to feel like I had power over money instead of money having power over me -- to see it as a tool that I could use as I wanted.  I think if I had known about MMM back then, I would have used it as a justification to double down on my stinginess, as evidence that I was "right" and he was wrong, and I don't know if I would have ever made the switch from operating out of fear to operating out of a sense of power and confidence.

Of course, I took it too far -- I got lazy, I started wanting "stuff" just as "stuff," I outsourced more and more, and our budget kept expanding.  Until finally I realized that none of that was bringing me any *more* satisfaction; in fact, I had gone over the edge of hedonic adaptation and was feeling lazy and entitled and didn't understand how I could have gotten more than I had ever hoped as a kid and was still unhappy and still found more things to want.  And the job seemed more of a chase; much of that early ambition faded away.  And that's when, after years of reading, the message began to resonate: I didn't need more outsourced help, I needed less, because I needed to remind myself that I am a competent, capable human who can figure things out.  I didn't need more stuff, I needed to pay attention to the stuff that brought me satisfaction and joy and the stuff that just cluttered my house -- and I needed to evaluate how many more hours/years I was willing to work for any of it.  And that's sort of where I am now, still figuring that balance out.

It all reminds me of when I met DH:  as we started dating, I realized that he reminded me of a number of NGBs* I had known in HS/college -- smart, genuinely nice, respectful, and clearly smitten with me, but none of the "broodingly handsome"/unattainable stuff I usually crushed on.  So we kept dating, and I kept waiting to get bored, and I never did -- I had finally grown up enough to actually *want* someone who was good for me.  IOW, even though it felt like I looked for-freaking-ever to meet the right guy, in reality, I had met several guys like him before -- I just wasn't ready to see what they had to offer back then. 

*Nice guy, but. . . .

Tl;dr:  I agree with John.  While I might wish to rewrite history to begin saving 75% of my salary at 25, the person I was at 25 was not ready to hear the MMM message and would have either ignored it completely or used its power for evil instead of good.  The message resonates now because of the experiences I had and mistakes I made over the next 25 years.
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neonlight

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Re: Iím glad I didnít find out about FIRE until my 40ís
« Reply #35 on: August 10, 2017, 09:20:56 PM »
This makes me think.  I have long said that I wish I had known about the actual RE part of FIRE earlier, because then I could have maybe convinced DH to be more frugal (i.e., that it's not just doing without, it's about putting your money toward this awesome vision that is so much more important). 

But maybe I heard the message when I was ready to hear it, and if I'd heard it 25 years ago, I'd have dismissed it.  Back then, I was highly ambitious, determined to put my stamp on the world. I was also bound and determined never to be poor again.  So overall, my ethos was "work hard and save aggressively so you can be rich by the time you retire at 65."  The idea of setting myself up to live on $30-40K (today's money) forever is something I would have scoffed at -- walk/bike everywhere? Clean my own house and mow my own lawn and never go out to eat and go camping for vacation and do all my own repairs and shop at thrift stores?  That's the life I was running away from.  I was going to do Great Things, and people were going to shower me with giant wads of cash as my reward!

And, you know, I bitch about how DH is spendier than I am.  But my frustration with him back then was out of fear -- I wanted to save all I could because it would never be enough, so I could be like Scrooge McDuck and sit on piles of gold coins.  I would never have retired at MMM's level of savings, because I was too afraid everything would go in the shitter.  And then, to be completely honest, DH's spendy ways were probably good for me for the first decade or so; he had such a different, optimistic view of money that he taught me to let go a little, that the world wouldn't end if we bought Charmin instead of the generic version.  Whereas before I took joy only in saving, he taught me that spending in the *right* ways also made me happy.  I think I needed that lesson to feel like I had power over money instead of money having power over me -- to see it as a tool that I could use as I wanted.  I think if I had known about MMM back then, I would have used it as a justification to double down on my stinginess, as evidence that I was "right" and he was wrong, and I don't know if I would have ever made the switch from operating out of fear to operating out of a sense of power and confidence.

Of course, I took it too far -- I got lazy, I started wanting "stuff" just as "stuff," I outsourced more and more, and our budget kept expanding.  Until finally I realized that none of that was bringing me any *more* satisfaction; in fact, I had gone over the edge of hedonic adaptation and was feeling lazy and entitled and didn't understand how I could have gotten more than I had ever hoped as a kid and was still unhappy and still found more things to want.  And the job seemed more of a chase; much of that early ambition faded away.  And that's when, after years of reading, the message began to resonate: I didn't need more outsourced help, I needed less, because I needed to remind myself that I am a competent, capable human who can figure things out.  I didn't need more stuff, I needed to pay attention to the stuff that brought me satisfaction and joy and the stuff that just cluttered my house -- and I needed to evaluate how many more hours/years I was willing to work for any of it.  And that's sort of where I am now, still figuring that balance out.

It all reminds me of when I met DH:  as we started dating, I realized that he reminded me of a number of NGBs* I had known in HS/college -- smart, genuinely nice, respectful, and clearly smitten with me, but none of the "broodingly handsome"/unattainable stuff I usually crushed on.  So we kept dating, and I kept waiting to get bored, and I never did -- I had finally grown up enough to actually *want* someone who was good for me.  IOW, even though it felt like I looked for-freaking-ever to meet the right guy, in reality, I had met several guys like him before -- I just wasn't ready to see what they had to offer back then. 

*Nice guy, but. . . .

Tl;dr:  I agree with John.  While I might wish to rewrite history to begin saving 75% of my salary at 25, the person I was at 25 was not ready to hear the MMM message and would have either ignored it completely or used its power for evil instead of good.  The message resonates now because of the experiences I had and mistakes I made over the next 25 years.

We all have a different voice when we were 25 ;) So it's definitely OK and that's why we appreciate MMM even more.

For me, I really respect my dad for driving this idea since young. Back then I heard but never listened. Many of the MMM wisdom was actually told by him when I was smaller. Upon reading MMM I had a revelation, "isn't this what dad has been saying!"

Back to the topic, the best experience would be to be already frugal (or at least not a spender) in the 20s and come across MMM at a point where a person is either

1. Accumulating wealth exponentially. For example in the coming 1-2 years salary will double and triple with corporate ladder. So you feel that you are leapfrogging and getting closer to FIRE.

2. 70% there. It's easier when you are past the half way mark.



RedmondStash

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Re: Iím glad I didnít find out about FIRE until my 40ís
« Reply #36 on: August 11, 2017, 09:34:44 AM »
I think I needed that lesson to feel like I had power over money instead of money having power over me -- to see it as a tool that I could use as I wanted.

This is really insightful, and well put. This is the big switch that I have made: to view money as a tool that I have power over, one that used judiciously can free me from some of life's difficulties and empower me in others.

I know so many people over whom money has tremendous power, and they are largely miserable. I offer to chat with them about it now and then, but generally they decline. They aren't ready yet.

Mrs SimplestHappiness

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Re: Iím glad I didnít find out about FIRE until my 40ís
« Reply #37 on: August 11, 2017, 10:03:54 AM »
similar here, I probably wouldn't have changed much as far as spending but now it just makes organizing finances and our financial future much simpler. Being educated helps in making better financial decisions regardless of spending (before I knew of MMM I'd just throw everything extra at the mortgage and not have IRAs or even max 401k) Looks like you are in a great place.
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wannabe-stache

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Re: Iím glad I didnít find out about FIRE until my 40ís
« Reply #38 on: August 11, 2017, 10:22:55 AM »
This is me to a T, although i am 37.  DW and i have earned 6 figure incomes for 8-10 years...we saved in 401Ks and other vehicles and are *sort of* frugal - i have brought my lunch to work since college - but we spent a lot of money on experiences, wine, dining.  i came across MMM earlier this year, put my accounts together, and realized i could technically RE in a couple years, even with the birth of our first son 3 weeks ago.

if i had any regrets, the biggest one would be that i held so much in cash the last 4-5 years. i left a lot of money on the table, but i've since rectified that mistake.

2Birds1Stone

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Re: Iím glad I didnít find out about FIRE until my 40ís
« Reply #39 on: August 11, 2017, 10:49:29 AM »
I'll chime in from the other end of the spectrum.

I found FIRE ~2012 at age 25 and still managed to greatly enjoy my 20's while making smart big picture decisions.

I think I actually kept more freedom due to investment knowledge. I didn't fall into the "buy a house, get married, pop babies out ASAP" culture. I also took career risks thanks to a healthy savings rate. I met an SO who is on the same page at a relatively early age and between the two of us we can not only enjoy our accumulation phase, but get to fire before 40.

I think getting to the point of understanding at ANY age is awesome, and comes with it's own challenges and benefits.
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neonlight

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Re: Iím glad I didnít find out about FIRE until my 40ís
« Reply #40 on: August 11, 2017, 11:05:18 PM »
I'll chime in from the other end of the spectrum.

I found FIRE ~2012 at age 25 and still managed to greatly enjoy my 20's while making smart big picture decisions.

I think I actually kept more freedom due to investment knowledge. I didn't fall into the "buy a house, get married, pop babies out ASAP" culture. I also took career risks thanks to a healthy savings rate. I met an SO who is on the same page at a relatively early age and between the two of us we can not only enjoy our accumulation phase, but get to fire before 40.

I think getting to the point of understanding at ANY age is awesome, and comes with it's own challenges and benefits.

Great attitude, I marvel (and slightly jealous lol) or 20s who have a MMM perspective. Not necessarily trying to get it done ASAP but at least to know that horizon can be nearer but still in a decade and yet take a positive attitude to scale "Mt K2" slowly  :)

Case

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Re: Iím glad I didnít find out about FIRE until my 40ís
« Reply #41 on: August 13, 2017, 01:35:02 PM »
There seems to be a common theme about regretting not finding out about FIRE sooner.  I have the opposite feeling, I have zero regrets since getting serious about it last year at age 42.  The reason is twofold, first is the wait.  Iím 43 now and can see the light at the end of the tunnel, but if I got into this in my 20ís, the light would be nowhere in sight.  Once I bought into the idea, I was consumed with wanting it as soon as possible.  Sure, I could have already gotten there had I started earlier, but instead I got to wake up one day and find out it was right in front of me.

When I first started reading about FIRE and the 4% rule, I had never added up all my accounts (10 total and no balance over 330K plus paid off house).  I was a little surprised when the total came out to 1.27M.  I never got to celebrate the 1M NW milestone because I never knew it happened (1M invested assets is close, so I will get to celebrate that).  I could be so much farther ahead, but I donít care. 

That brings me to the other reason Iím glad I didnít find out earlier.  I enjoyed my younger years and the money I spent during that time.  FIRE has caused me to become a little too stingy with my money.  This basically boils down to YOLO. I actually believe there is some truth to that, so again, no regrets. 

FIRE date should be late 2020, but I have young kids and am tied to the school year, so the RE part isnít that appealing right now.  Itís all about FI and the freedom and peace of mind that comes with it.  Iím hoping to have 1.25M invested to consider myself FI with wiggle room.
 
One more thingÖregrets suck.  Try not to have them.

John

First of all, agree that you shouldnt have regrets, only pave forward.  I also dont mind some amount of fooling yourself in order to justify the past.  But what you cant do is fool other people. 

Spending extra money enjoying life while young could have been replaced with livign life almost to the same extent with more frugal efficient living, plus you could retire earlier and then really start enjoying life while young.

Better answers to why it is better to not discover fire until 40 are the additional life lessons you might gain, or the improved earnign potential, or improved drive for your career, etc...
Instead it sounds to me like you are trying to rationalize the past and maybe keep your ego in tact.

FIRE isnt for everyone, and it itsnt the best path to happiness for all.... but i dont think spending lots of money to 'live life to the max while young' is a very strong argument.  Those things dont require that much money.

MrsPete

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Re: Iím glad I didnít find out about FIRE until my 40ís
« Reply #42 on: August 14, 2017, 11:32:12 AM »
That brings me to the other reason Iím glad I didnít find out earlier.  I enjoyed my younger years and the money I spent during that time.  FIRE has caused me to become a little too stingy with my money.  This basically boils down to YOLO. I actually believe there is some truth to that, so again, no regrets. 
1. Sounds like revisionist history.
2. Sounds like you're saying you can't enjoy yourself unless you spend money. 

John123

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Re: Iím glad I didnít find out about FIRE until my 40ís
« Reply #43 on: August 14, 2017, 12:20:07 PM »

First of all, agree that you shouldnt have regrets, only pave forward.  I also dont mind some amount of fooling yourself in order to justify the past.  But what you cant do is fool other people. 

Spending extra money enjoying life while young could have been replaced with livign life almost to the same extent with more frugal efficient living, plus you could retire earlier and then really start enjoying life while young.

Better answers to why it is better to not discover fire until 40 are the additional life lessons you might gain, or the improved earnign potential, or improved drive for your career, etc...
Instead it sounds to me like you are trying to rationalize the past and maybe keep your ego in tact.

FIRE isnt for everyone, and it itsnt the best path to happiness for all.... but i dont think spending lots of money to 'live life to the max while young' is a very strong argument.  Those things dont require that much money.

Just to reiterate, I lucked into being close to FI in spite of the fact of not being aware of the FIRE concept until 42.  This is a positive thing; I don't need to rationalize it or protect my ego.  As I mentioned in the OP, RE is not important to me right now.  I have school aged kids and I'm trapped by the school calendar for many more years.  I feel like RE would be wasted at this point. My wife is a SAHM and I'm home by the time my kids get off the bus, so I'm not missing anything. 

Again, this is just about me personally.  I'm not advocating that learning about FIRE in your 40's is superior (it certainly is not for most people).  It just happened to work out that way for me (mostly due to luck).

John

PhilB

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Re: Iím glad I didnít find out about FIRE until my 40ís
« Reply #44 on: August 15, 2017, 06:13:53 AM »
Instead of running a ultra marathon, you are already over mid way when you realize you're in the race. So a longer journey but you probably enjoyed the scenery while unconsciously going the race midway.
Discovering MMM in my late 40's was a little different for me - I was naturally frugal and focussed on retiring before 60 so I already knew I was pounding my way through an ultra marathon.  MMM showed me a shortcut that meant I was actually 85% of the way there, not 60%.   For me it came at a perfect time, but it would have been very late indeed if I'd been one of that great majority who don't even realise they are in a race.

Gumption

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Re: Iím glad I didnít find out about FIRE until my 40ís
« Reply #45 on: August 15, 2017, 08:06:43 AM »
I can't say that spending money or having things in general has made me happy. Financial security? Now we are getting warmer. I started socking away what i could at my first job out of college making $8/hr in 1998. My dad's words of wisdom to "put as much as you can in your retirement account and forget about it," still rattle around in my brain today.

I did that, and just ignored looking at my statements through the dot com crash (not much invested early on) and the housing crash (a little more in there at that point).

With marriage, mortgages, kids and job turmoil I did go off course during the last 17 years more than i would have liked; but, I still did what I could each year to put something to retirement.

During this time, I really had no plan other than to just keep saving. In the back of my mind, I kept thinking, "is this all there is?" "am I going to just continue with this crap until 65?"

I discovered MMM last year just around the time my dad passed away. I spent all of last year reorganizing everything. Getting all of our accounts over to vanguard. Discovering many accounts we completely forgot about. Figuring out our expenses and what our FI number is. Developing an honest plan forward.

If I can have another few good years here, we are hoping to reach FI during 2020.

I guess my point is, like so many things in life, you can discover it early, but you wont recognize the significance of it until you are ready to. Last year, I was finally able to bite the bullet, face the music and take a hard and honest look at where we were financially. Could it have been better? sure. Was is that bad? No.

As far as it pertains to the OP: Did I enjoy my 20s and 30s spending a little more than a MMM should? No. I was just trying to survive the onslaught of costs one incurs by simply going through adulthood.

fluffmuffin

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Re: Iím glad I didnít find out about FIRE until my 40ís
« Reply #46 on: August 15, 2017, 10:44:43 AM »
Really interesting perspective, and thank you for posting, John. It makes me think of a work seminar I went to last year, that was about values-based living. The facilitator had us choose our top three values from a pre-set list, and then talk about why we thought they were important. One of mine was financial security, natch. Then he had us flip it and talk about the ways we felt like our defining values actually constrained us.

It was an eye-opening exercise. I miss buying a dress because I saw it, thought it was pretty, and it brought me joy. I miss impulsively booking a flight to Spain to spend three weeks flitting around from festival to festival, drinking a lot of wine and having the best trip of my life so far. I loved letting myself off the YNAB leash this summer while I was in Europe, and indulging myself in beautiful, well-made goods; gelato after dinner if I wanted it; and fuck it, yes, let's have that third espresso.

It felt so freeing to just--not think about how spending $150 on a pair of shoes was going to impact my future. Maybe that makes me a consumerist sucka who doesn't get it. Maybe I enjoyed it more because it was such an unusual experience for me.

Re3iRtH

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Re: Iím glad I didnít find out about FIRE until my 40ís
« Reply #47 on: August 16, 2017, 12:59:11 AM »
Really interesting perspective, and thank you for posting, John. It makes me think of a work seminar I went to last year, that was about values-based living. The facilitator had us choose our top three values from a pre-set list, and then talk about why we thought they were important. One of mine was financial security, natch. Then he had us flip it and talk about the ways we felt like our defining values actually constrained us.

It was an eye-opening exercise. I miss buying a dress because I saw it, thought it was pretty, and it brought me joy. I miss impulsively booking a flight to Spain to spend three weeks flitting around from festival to festival, drinking a lot of wine and having the best trip of my life so far. I loved letting myself off the YNAB leash this summer while I was in Europe, and indulging myself in beautiful, well-made goods; gelato after dinner if I wanted it; and fuck it, yes, let's have that third espresso.

It felt so freeing to just--not think about how spending $150 on a pair of shoes was going to impact my future. Maybe that makes me a consumerist sucka who doesn't get it. Maybe I enjoyed it more because it was such an unusual experience for me.

I echo your sentiments exactly. Do I regret 3-4 international trips per year, going to the Japanese restaurant 2 or 3 times a week, treating my friends, diving my 2-seater (and sneaking 2 people in the passenger seat), etc. I don't see how you can ... I went from spending 80-90% of my paycheck to saving 60% (of a paycheck that is double that of my 20s). Although, I am blessed to learn how to cultivate happiness out of non-material things now, I sure which I kept going the way I did. Money is very easily lost and even easier made IMO.

Linda_Norway

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Re: Iím glad I didnít find out about FIRE until my 40ís
« Reply #48 on: August 16, 2017, 05:40:26 AM »
I regret it a bit, having not discovering MMM 1 or 2 years earlier. We have been behaving quite frugally since 1998, when we moved to a HCOL country. So we have managed to save a lot through the years without being quite aware of it. But if I had noticed MMM earlier, we wouldn't have bought this expensive house we now live in. And as it is a house that is not easy to sell, we cannot just sell it again right now. I would probably have kept living in our previous house and maybe invested an overseeable sum in it to make it perfect, instead of buying a house that cost twice the price of the "old house made perfect". Then my money could have stayed in their index funds. In don't now how many years of FIRE that house purchase has cost me, but I think at least 2, maybe 4. :-(
We have also made some other choices in life, especially buying some expensive stuff, that we would have required second hand for a lot less. We were starting to get a little snobby the last years.  Luckily now we have turned to correct way again.

max9505672

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Re: Iím glad I didnít find out about FIRE until my 40ís
« Reply #49 on: August 16, 2017, 06:53:11 AM »
Being in my late 20ís, and having discovered FIRE/MMM recently, I agree that itís not all positive.

Iím glad I found it because it opens different possibilities (ER, different career choices, different family life choices that can be achieved relatively soon) because suddenly money isnít anymore what Iíve always been told it is i.e. youíd need to work until 65 y.o. and live the American Dream.

On the other hand though, I think it puts an additional pressure on myself on a daily basis due to my ''all or nothingíí personality to achieve this as soon as possible. I think the difficulty is figuring out how to balance everything out (FIRE and daily YOLOíing). And thereís no right way to do it. It depends on each and every oneís situation. O.P. talked about it could have prevented him from having children and I can relate to that. But in my opinion, this comes to finding your own balance by taking time assess your personal needs and goals which is a lot easier said than done. And I also feel like people here tend to by quite drastic which can influence other members towards to more extreme path and listening less to their personal situation.

That being said, at the end of the day, you canít be against knowledge. If Iíd known about this (and been able to understand it) letís say at 18 y.o. when I chose my career path, Iíd probably made different choices, because I made choices related to money and social advantages, and thatís big, at least for me. The last 10 years or so of my life could have been different. If I was 40 y.o., this is even bigger.

For the regret thing, I naturally donít regret my choices and live well with them, so I'm good with it. I think this depends on everybodyís personality though and comes down to balancing everything out with having all the cards in your deck.