Author Topic: Confused about the FIRE goal and the reality  (Read 3391 times)

Rein1987

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Confused about the FIRE goal and the reality
« on: September 15, 2015, 04:56:55 PM »
Before I came to this forum, I had never thought about retirement. Maybe because both my parents are still working, and they have a defined retirement benefit plan: they have to work until 60 to get the pension or they will got 0. It is still a few years away from their retirement age.

Then, after I found the forum, I started to draw my retirement picture. My retirement image is like this: go back to my home town and retire there, because I really love the food and the lifestyle there. Then I started to think about the RE expense. 300k USD can buy a luxury apartment in the best location. 2000 USD monthly expense is way more than enough, because my parents never earn more than 1000 USD per month and they successfully raised me up, and they can afford to travel internationally once a year. Therefore, if I understand right, the FI goal is 300k + 2k * 25 = 800k.

With the high income in the US, I found that I already achieved that FI goal of 800k, which means I can pull the trigger now and go back to my hometown. However, the reality is that
1) DH has no intention to retire now because he enjoys working and he does not want to stop working. He just got to promote to a manager and he has a bright picture about his career.
2) My parents kept educating me that I should contribute more to the society. They agree with the idea of FIRE, but they insist even if I go back to our home town, I should at least become a professor in a local university to teach and to do more research, because I have received the best education in the world (in their mind) and I have the responsibility to contribute back. Also, they feel that I should not retire before them, or they will feel very very bad.
3) We think the US has better education and environment to raise children.
4) If I do not FIRE at my hometown, although both DH and I enjoy our current work, life is not easy. We lived in the bay area. The 800k FIRE goal is too far from a dream house here. I can also imagine that our expense (food, nanny, daycare, education) will significantly go up with the expecting baby. I can even imagine that with our current income, we may live paycheck by paycheck if we are going to have two or more babies here.

My current thought is that I am not ready for FIRE. And I feel confused about the contrast between the already financially achieved FIRE picture and the bay area living reality. Then, my question is, if I do not FIRE, what's the point of being frugal or whatever financial achievement is? How should I adjust my financial view of the future?

1. How to handle the contrast here?
2. Should I inflate my lifestyle? For example, out source more house work,  dine out more, purchase the latest iphone6s and reduce the saving rate or even live paycheck to paycheck? I feel that I'm entitled to do this, as long as I reserve the ability to pull the trigger to FIRE.
3. Should I try a higher FIRE goal? For example, change the FIRE goal from my hometown to the bay area, which I would guess 4, 5 million net worth?
4. Will anything change when the kids come into the picture?

Rezdent

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Re: Confused about the FIRE goal and the reality
« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2015, 05:59:07 PM »
Hi Rein1987
Here's my thoughts:
1. How to handle the contrast here?
     I think you should talk more with your husband.  You have ideas, it sounds like his ideas are different yet you presumably will be together.

2. Should I inflate my lifestyle? For example, out source more house work,  dine out more, purchase the latest iphone6s and reduce the saving rate or even live paycheck to paycheck? I feel that I'm entitled to do this, as long as I reserve the ability to pull the trigger to FIRE.
     Personally, I would not do this, but maybe because I am comfortable with my life and the reasons that I am frugal.

3. Should I try a higher FIRE goal? For example, change the FIRE goal from my hometown to the bay area, which I would guess 4, 5 million net worth?
     Yes, I think so - maybe not all the way to five though.  See #4.

4. Will anything change when the kids come into the picture?
     Yes, things will change, both for you and your husband.  Perhaps he will want to step back and spend more time with children, maybe you realize you want out of the house more...impossible to predict what exactly will change but it will happen.

lbmustache

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Re: Confused about the FIRE goal and the reality
« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2015, 07:45:05 PM »
I think you have a misrepresentation or alternate understanding of what FIRE is.

To me:

FI means you do not have to rely on others for money. If shit hits the fan you would be okay for while, but not forever. This is very different from the current American of mentality which is to overspend and worry every month about barely making ends meet.

RE means you do not have to work a job you do not like, or work at all if that is your preference. More time to pursue passions or part-time work, or full-time work you find fulfilling. You have enough money to pay the bills for the rest of your life.

It sounds like you are thinking once you hit FIRE, you just sit around doing nothing. I would hope that is not the case.

Rein1987

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Re: Confused about the FIRE goal and the reality
« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2015, 07:55:48 PM »
I think you have a misrepresentation or alternate understanding of what FIRE is.

To me:

FI means you do not have to rely on others for money. If shit hits the fan you would be okay for while, but not forever. This is very different from the current American of mentality which is to overspend and worry every month about barely making ends meet.

RE means you do not have to work a job you do not like, or work at all if that is your preference. More time to pursue passions or part-time work, or full-time work you find fulfilling. You have enough money to pay the bills for the rest of your life.

It sounds like you are thinking once you hit FIRE, you just sit around doing nothing. I would hope that is not the case.

I feel I'm more like being able to FIRE in another area (and it's my desired retirement place), but not FIRE at current place. Then there's a big gap between the FIRE life in the retirement place and my current working place.....

Rein1987

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Re: Confused about the FIRE goal and the reality
« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2015, 08:01:42 PM »
Hi Rein1987
Here's my thoughts:
1. How to handle the contrast here?
     I think you should talk more with your husband.  You have ideas, it sounds like his ideas are different yet you presumably will be together.

2. Should I inflate my lifestyle? For example, out source more house work,  dine out more, purchase the latest iphone6s and reduce the saving rate or even live paycheck to paycheck? I feel that I'm entitled to do this, as long as I reserve the ability to pull the trigger to FIRE.
     Personally, I would not do this, but maybe because I am comfortable with my life and the reasons that I am frugal.

3. Should I try a higher FIRE goal? For example, change the FIRE goal from my hometown to the bay area, which I would guess 4, 5 million net worth?
     Yes, I think so - maybe not all the way to five though.  See #4.

4. Will anything change when the kids come into the picture?
     Yes, things will change, both for you and your husband.  Perhaps he will want to step back and spend more time with children, maybe you realize you want out of the house more...impossible to predict what exactly will change but it will happen.

Thanks for your reply. My husband agrees with me on the retirement place, but not the time. He like to move to my hometown when we grow older. At current time, he feel more satisfied with career success. For his career success, he does not mean to earn a lot of money, but have influence on more people. So maybe I should try a higher FIRE goal so that I can freely live in the bay area while my husband pursue his career dream.

But maybe, inflating lifestyle sounds more attractive to me. We do not want to retire in the bay area anyway, so maybe no need to stash too much money anyway?

aFrugalFather

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Re: Confused about the FIRE goal and the reality
« Reply #5 on: September 15, 2015, 09:45:57 PM »
I don't follow the 300k + 2k * 25 = 800k.  where does the 25 come from?  300K plus 2K expenses for 25 months, not sure what that means?


Rein1987

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Re: Confused about the FIRE goal and the reality
« Reply #6 on: September 15, 2015, 11:32:57 PM »
I don't follow the 300k + 2k * 25 = 800k.  where does the 25 come from?  300K plus 2K expenses for 25 months, not sure what that means?

Oops, sorry for the mistake. The correct formula should be 300k + 2k * 12 * 25 = 900k.

I was trying to say that my luxury FI goal was a little bit under 1m, which I have already achieved.

seattlecyclone

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Re: Confused about the FIRE goal and the reality
« Reply #7 on: September 16, 2015, 01:04:11 AM »
FI is all about having the option to do what is important to you, and the option to decline to spend your time on things that don't make you happier.

You both want to move back to your hometown someday. You have saved up enough money to live a pretty luxurious life there without needing to work another day. Great!

Given that you intend to retire in your hometown, I would say that you have no particular need to work toward accumulating enough to retire in San Francisco. You don't want to retire there, after all! Your long-term financial goals are already complete. Whenever you decide that you want to move back home, you can do that and everything will be fine financially.

What to do in between now and then? That's up to you. You don't necessarily need to save any more money as long as you and your husband both still want to move back to your hometown someday, and the cost of living there doesn't rise faster than your investments.

What to do with the extra part of your salary that you currently put toward retirement savings? As you say, lifestyle inflation is certainly an option. Just be sure not to get so fancy that your current savings are no longer sufficient to maintain a similar lifestyle in your hometown. Another option is to cut back on work a little bit and spend more time with your kids while they grow up. Remember, you only need to earn as much as you spend until you move home; everything after that is covered.

Rein1987

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Re: Confused about the FIRE goal and the reality
« Reply #8 on: September 16, 2015, 07:11:37 PM »
FI is all about having the option to do what is important to you, and the option to decline to spend your time on things that don't make you happier.

You both want to move back to your hometown someday. You have saved up enough money to live a pretty luxurious life there without needing to work another day. Great!

Given that you intend to retire in your hometown, I would say that you have no particular need to work toward accumulating enough to retire in San Francisco. You don't want to retire there, after all! Your long-term financial goals are already complete. Whenever you decide that you want to move back home, you can do that and everything will be fine financially.

What to do in between now and then? That's up to you. You don't necessarily need to save any more money as long as you and your husband both still want to move back to your hometown someday, and the cost of living there doesn't rise faster than your investments.

What to do with the extra part of your salary that you currently put toward retirement savings? As you say, lifestyle inflation is certainly an option. Just be sure not to get so fancy that your current savings are no longer sufficient to maintain a similar lifestyle in your hometown. Another option is to cut back on work a little bit and spend more time with your kids while they grow up. Remember, you only need to earn as much as you spend until you move home; everything after that is covered.

Thanks for your reply. I think this makes perfect sense for me!