Author Topic: Delaying FIRE for more happiness now??  (Read 2260 times)

missmoneymachine

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Delaying FIRE for more happiness now??
« on: August 20, 2019, 12:34:45 PM »
My SO and I both have bad schedules that don't align, so we don't get much time off together.  We have been going through several income scenarios and are contemplating having one of us either quit completely or go very part-time, while the other works full time at their current job. This will delay our projected FI date by five years (13 years away instead of 8).  By having one of us stay home, we will have much more time for each other and our hobbies. 

Has anyone else gone down this route? Any unforeseen drawbacks?

Malcat

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Re: Delaying FIRE for more happiness now??
« Reply #1 on: August 20, 2019, 01:48:26 PM »
I downshifted to part time and took a 50%+ pay cut only 3 years into my career so that we could be happy, and I have no regrets and would never go back. In fact, I'm seriously considering cutting back even more, and I made double what he does, so the impact of me cutting back is enormous.

Your FIRE plan isn't anything real, it's just a guideline, so you aren't actually delaying anything.
Plans aren't about what's going to happen in the future, they are guidelines for making decisions today. If your today isn't working for you, then your plan is worthless and needs to be changed.
Never get too attached to a plan, because that's how you become inflexible.

You have no idea what life will look like in 8-13 years, so don't worry about it, just use the future as a modulating factor in building your best life today.

Brother Esau

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Re: Delaying FIRE for more happiness now??
« Reply #2 on: August 20, 2019, 02:00:15 PM »
Totally.

I switched to a chill municipal job and DW switched to a part time gig. Will delay RE a couple of years but we are much happier now. It helps that we generally enjoy our jobs also.

Don't regret making the changes at all.

FLBiker

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Re: Delaying FIRE for more happiness now??
« Reply #3 on: August 20, 2019, 02:09:35 PM »
We're moving from the US to Canada, and that will probably delay FIRE for by a few years.  Hitting some arbitrary numerical benchmark as fast as possible isn't the point -- the whole point of frugality / FIRE is quality of life.

Blue Skies

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Re: Delaying FIRE for more happiness now??
« Reply #4 on: August 20, 2019, 02:31:40 PM »
After my first child was born I went back to work part time rather than full time.  I still only work part time.  I could easily go back to full time and more than double my salary, but the lifestyle benefits of my current schedule are HUGE.  DH also works a job that offers a very flexible schedule and ample vacation time in exchange for lower overall salary.  Sure, we will end up working longer to reach our goals for retirement, but our life now is great.  I wouldn't trade what I have now for a crappy schedule just to shave a few years off our retirement age.

missmoneymachine

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Re: Delaying FIRE for more happiness now??
« Reply #5 on: August 20, 2019, 10:03:23 PM »
You all make very good points, thank you.

jamesbond007

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Re: Delaying FIRE for more happiness now??
« Reply #6 on: August 21, 2019, 04:41:23 PM »
My principle in life is to identify what makes you happy. Happy as in getting a peaceful sleep, laughing whole heartedly, etc. I'd do everything in my power to get those and the rest are details.

use2betrix

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Re: Delaying FIRE for more happiness now??
« Reply #7 on: August 21, 2019, 05:02:12 PM »
How I find those scenarios work best is for the person who cuts back on work, or quits completely, to handle the household tasks, errands, etc. That way, when the full time worker “isn’t” working, the time spent together is 100% doing things you enjoy.

I am 31 and my wife is 25. We’ve been together about 7 years, and my wife has worked maybe 1 of those years. I work a lot, and in turn, my wife is a machine. She handles everything while I work. Groceries, cooking, laundry, cleaning, appts, errands, etc. With that in mind, all our time together when I’m not working we get to go to the gym, movies, dinner, beach, etc. We spend our time together doing things we enjoy, I absolutely love it and appreciate what my wife does. We don’t spend sundays doing laundry, or groceries, etc., because all that stuff is already done. In terms of a “stay at home wife” I surely hit the jackpot.

mm1970

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Re: Delaying FIRE for more happiness now??
« Reply #8 on: August 21, 2019, 06:28:50 PM »
How I find those scenarios work best is for the person who cuts back on work, or quits completely, to handle the household tasks, errands, etc. That way, when the full time worker “isn’t” working, the time spent together is 100% doing things you enjoy.

I am 31 and my wife is 25. We’ve been together about 7 years, and my wife has worked maybe 1 of those years. I work a lot, and in turn, my wife is a machine. She handles everything while I work. Groceries, cooking, laundry, cleaning, appts, errands, etc. With that in mind, all our time together when I’m not working we get to go to the gym, movies, dinner, beach, etc. We spend our time together doing things we enjoy, I absolutely love it and appreciate what my wife does. We don’t spend sundays doing laundry, or groceries, etc., because all that stuff is already done. In terms of a “stay at home wife” I surely hit the jackpot.
Or as I think Malkynn put it in another thread "adulting is a full time job".

dodojojo

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Re: Delaying FIRE for more happiness now??
« Reply #9 on: August 21, 2019, 06:41:47 PM »
I'm undergoing a re-think about MMM and FIRE.  I think both concepts and lifestyles are positives but also how they have negatively affected my attitude towards living in the now and pursuing happiness/fulfillment balance for work/career.  And negatively affected = my own faulty handling so I'm not laying blame elsewhere.  Hence this period of rethinking.

I want to continue saving for FIRE but other than that, my attitude and perspective would vastly improve if other than this action, I do not focus on retirement and getting out of the rat race.  Rather, direct that focus and energy to doing/working for current happiness.  And that's knowing this approach could seriously decrease my earning power.

I even think I need to stay away from this and other FIRE sites.  It's hard though, I check in constantly!

Brother Esau

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Re: Delaying FIRE for more happiness now??
« Reply #10 on: August 21, 2019, 06:54:58 PM »
I'm late to the RE game at 50+ but happy that I'll still retire earlier than what is considered normal age. Love reading folks in their 30's post about retirement logistics...good on you!

Finances_With_Purpose

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Re: Delaying FIRE for more happiness now??
« Reply #11 on: August 21, 2019, 08:04:27 PM »
I downshifted to part time and took a 50%+ pay cut only 3 years into my career so that we could be happy, and I have no regrets and would never go back. In fact, I'm seriously considering cutting back even more, and I made double what he does, so the impact of me cutting back is enormous.

Your FIRE plan isn't anything real, it's just a guideline, so you aren't actually delaying anything.
Plans aren't about what's going to happen in the future, they are guidelines for making decisions today. If your today isn't working for you, then your plan is worthless and needs to be changed.
Never get too attached to a plan, because that's how you become inflexible.

You have no idea what life will look like in 8-13 years, so don't worry about it, just use the future as a modulating factor in building your best life today.

This.  Very much this. 

Like @Malkynn , I too took a pay cut at one point in my career for more balance and a better position.  It worked out very well, and ultimately, I ended up more satisfied, making more, living in a better place, and enjoying life more.  It makes the extra years a no-brainer. 

@Malkynn is spot on above.  You may well find that your life is far more fulfilling moving in that direction.  (And, to be clear: you have a great plan already, and would still have a great plan even in this alternative route.)  You may also find that it actually ends up being more lucrative or makes your lifestyle so much better that you don't mind the change at all.  (And now that I see her post, I'll second @use2betrix as well.)  I know more than a few folks who have made transitions like that--one spouse goes part-time or no-time--and love it. 

Malcat

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Re: Delaying FIRE for more happiness now??
« Reply #12 on: August 22, 2019, 04:10:13 AM »
I'm undergoing a re-think about MMM and FIRE.  I think both concepts and lifestyles are positives but also how they have negatively affected my attitude towards living in the now and pursuing happiness/fulfillment balance for work/career.  And negatively affected = my own faulty handling so I'm not laying blame elsewhere.  Hence this period of rethinking.

I want to continue saving for FIRE but other than that, my attitude and perspective would vastly improve if other than this action, I do not focus on retirement and getting out of the rat race.  Rather, direct that focus and energy to doing/working for current happiness.  And that's knowing this approach could seriously decrease my earning power.

I even think I need to stay away from this and other FIRE sites.  It's hard though, I check in constantly!

I actually found reading others posts here to be helpful on that front when I was transitioning away from gunning for FIRE. I found a lot of people were posting about being miserable in their jobs, putting off their health, and pining for the future. It really motivated me to not want that for myself.

Looking forward to FIRE is one thing, but desperately longing for young vital years of life to be over to get there?? That's pathological.

I very much look forward to FI, but I look forward to it as a natural consequence of living the best life that I can now.

Pete's pretty clear from the start, this whole thing isn't about sacrifice, it's about living well and getting amazing results from that.

If you aren't living well, you aren't doing it right.

mistymoney

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Re: Delaying FIRE for more happiness now??
« Reply #13 on: August 22, 2019, 06:43:07 AM »
the only caveat I would add for couples considering this or doing this now, is how would the finances be approached in a split?

Particularly if the couple is not married/no legal protections?

MrDelane

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Re: Delaying FIRE for more happiness now??
« Reply #14 on: August 22, 2019, 07:04:47 AM »
Plans aren't about what's going to happen in the future, they are guidelines for making decisions today. If your today isn't working for you, then your plan is worthless and needs to be changed.

This is a brilliant perspective and one I need to keep in mind.
Well said.

Zamboni

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Re: Delaying FIRE for more happiness now??
« Reply #15 on: August 22, 2019, 07:14:51 AM »
Somehow you need to get your schedules aligned. If that means one person downshifts a bit, then that might be the best solution.

I took at >50% pay cut more than 17 years ago for a much lower stress position with less hours and much less travel. Without doing that, I'd likely be fat FIRE now (rather than my skinny FI that I am.) The upside is that there isn't as much motivation for me to RE any more, because my job is enjoyable and relatively easy money. Also, my schedule aligns better with my SO, which is very important as you are realizing. So I guess maybe I am legitimately FIRE, and just working for fun and fulfillment?

Sugaree

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Re: Delaying FIRE for more happiness now??
« Reply #16 on: August 22, 2019, 07:45:36 AM »
I have to admit that I'm struggling with this currently.  I had the budget set up so that we'd be able to max out all of the tax-advantaged accounts....FINALLY.  And then I found out that the contribution limit is all but guaranteed to go up in 2020, so that just feels like my bills are going up.  And my husband is likely to end up on some medication that's going to cost us somewhere in the range of $3k a year and I just don't see a way that we'll be able to cashflow all of that without dipping into the HSA.  And there's a better than zero chance that I'm not going to see any kind of COLA adjustment this year.  And if my kid's school/after school/PTA has one more fucking fundraiser less than a month after school starts I'm going to lose it.

All of this to say that I feel like I'm living paycheck-to-paycheck.  Logically, I know that's not what's happening, but psychologically it feels that way.  The thought keeps creeping in that maybe if I don't contribute so much to retirement we could afford to take that super expensive trip without saving for three years or not worry about keeping the grocery budget at one-step-above-ramen-noodles.

I'm pretty sure it's a funk and I'll snap out of it, so I'm not going to do anything rash (except maybe take the H&R Block tax class and work there during the spring).   

Malcat

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Re: Delaying FIRE for more happiness now??
« Reply #17 on: August 22, 2019, 07:48:46 AM »
Plans aren't about what's going to happen in the future, they are guidelines for making decisions today. If your today isn't working for you, then your plan is worthless and needs to be changed.

This is a brilliant perspective and one I need to keep in mind.
Well said.

It hit me one day last year when I realized that every single plan I had made early in my career had been thrown out for a much better plan, and then those plans got thrown out for much better plans, and then guess what? Those plans got thrown out as well!

Had my initial plans been realized, I wouldn't be nearly as happy as I am now.

Plans change for all sorts of reasons. Some positive, some negative, some that seem negative and then turn out to be positive and vice versa, depending on how you react to them.

Getting too attached to a plan you make today means having the arrogance to think that you know better than your future self. Well, you don't. If you are lucky, future you will know much, much better how to manage future life than you do, so don't try to step on their toes.

Stay in your lane and recognize that it's only your place to make decisions for today.

When I go out for a walk, I have a destination in mind and it helps me decide which direction to *start* walking in, but a mile down that path I may discover new realities that change my destination, like a sign that says "it's pet-the-puppies day at the cafe!" Had past me known that it was puppy day, that would have been my destination, but past me didn't have that wisdom, and my day ended up better by changing my goal.

I know I'm just being silly, but in all seriousness, Jan 1st 2019 I remember saying to DH: "I have no idea what the future holds and for the first time, I see that as a wonderful thing." Since then, it's been so much easier to live in the present because I'm simply not emotionally attached to an imagined future.

You will only stay on a planned path if absolutely no better option presents itself...and how sad would it be if your life never presented any better options?

EscapeVelocity2020

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Re: Delaying FIRE for more happiness now??
« Reply #18 on: August 22, 2019, 08:07:32 AM »
To the OP’s question, my DW ‘retired’ 12 years ago and there have been no unforeseen consequences.  Maybe some underestimated upsides (like me enjoying my work more and more freedom to travel and be there for the kids).  The loss of income is easy to anticipate and, if anything, gets too much attention, but the gains in time are abstract and easily underestimated.

Now that we are FI, I wonder what all the angst was about when we were struggling with this exact situation.  Probably just boils down to staying in a comfort zone, but I’m glad we rejected the status quo!

ReadySetMillionaire

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Re: Delaying FIRE for more happiness now??
« Reply #19 on: August 22, 2019, 10:02:29 AM »
I made a thread on here a while back stating, in part, that you don't need to have complete FI to be feel financially and mentally independent. I got some backlash but oh well.

Personally, I took a leap and quit the law firm life to start my own practice. It is certainly busy at times but I would not trade the independence for anything. Some weeks I go golfing every single day of the week and bill maybe $100 because I just don't give a shit. Some weeks I bill $7,000.

It all honestly just depends how I'm feeling, because I borderline do not care how much money I make in any given year. Our expenses are about $60k a year (if you include my office) and that is extremely easy for us to reach (we will probably get close to $160,000 this year).  But once we are beyond living expenses, I don't really care if we save $40,000 or $50,000 in any particular year. Who cares? It's all numbers on a spreadsheet.

My life is so much more enjoyable now.

So, to answer your question, yes it's definitely worth slowing down if you want to enjoy the here and now more.

Roots&Wings

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Re: Delaying FIRE for more happiness now??
« Reply #20 on: August 22, 2019, 11:44:06 AM »
I made a thread on here a while back stating, in part, that you don't need to have complete FI to be feel financially and mentally independent. I got some backlash but oh well.

That's too bad you got flak, as the whole idea of delaying enjoyment in your life for some magical outcome in FIRE is very flawed. The quotes below from ERE address this a bit too:

"More useful, rather, seems to be getting involved—actually participating—in the systems that are important (e.g. gardening, developing a community, creating something of value that others might find value in as well), rather than repeating some mantra of "financial independence" as being an end goal, an "answer".
---------
"Create value" seems like a much more potent and resilient perspective than "independence", perhaps especially from an emotional standpoint. These are merely abstractions of course, but at least for me it seems to nudge me towards industry, collaboration and contentment. "Independence" has led me more towards excessive risk-aversion, rent seeking and passivity. But these things are obviously very personal.
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"The other thing that "independence" (cf value adding) often leads to is filling time with consumptive behavior that's just an expansion (Parkinson's law) of what one was already doing (travel, eating out, concerts, movies). For most people, this is ultimately not meaningful enough."

My life is so much more enjoyable now.

So, to answer your question, yes it's definitely worth slowing down if you want to enjoy the here and now more.
+1
« Last Edit: August 22, 2019, 11:45:47 AM by Roots&Wings »

missmoneymachine

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Re: Delaying FIRE for more happiness now??
« Reply #21 on: August 25, 2019, 04:10:31 PM »
Before I wrote this post, I was 75% sure we were going to go through with this plan, but after reading everyone's responses it's definitely 100%.  I really appreciate everyone's input.  I know this will make us much happier.

We have a loose plan for one of us to quit in one year, when we have debt paid off and pad the EF a bit more.  But man, it's gonna be hard to resist not to quit sooner!

slappy

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Re: Delaying FIRE for more happiness now??
« Reply #22 on: August 26, 2019, 06:41:35 AM »
I have to admit that I'm struggling with this currently.  I had the budget set up so that we'd be able to max out all of the tax-advantaged accounts....FINALLY.  And then I found out that the contribution limit is all but guaranteed to go up in 2020, so that just feels like my bills are going up.  And my husband is likely to end up on some medication that's going to cost us somewhere in the range of $3k a year and I just don't see a way that we'll be able to cashflow all of that without dipping into the HSA.  And there's a better than zero chance that I'm not going to see any kind of COLA adjustment this year.  And if my kid's school/after school/PTA has one more fucking fundraiser less than a month after school starts I'm going to lose it.

All of this to say that I feel like I'm living paycheck-to-paycheck.  Logically, I know that's not what's happening, but psychologically it feels that way.  The thought keeps creeping in that maybe if I don't contribute so much to retirement we could afford to take that super expensive trip without saving for three years or not worry about keeping the grocery budget at one-step-above-ramen-noodles.

I'm pretty sure it's a funk and I'll snap out of it, so I'm not going to do anything rash (except maybe take the H&R Block tax class and work there during the spring).   

Are you living my life? Except its not my husband, its his cat that needs meds to the tune of $100 a month.