Author Topic: Earlier Retirement vs. More Interesting Lifestyle  (Read 4602 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Earlier Retirement vs. More Interesting Lifestyle
« on: July 29, 2013, 04:23:07 PM »
I was pointed to this blog 2-3 months ago by a good friend and pretty quickly took to it.  Really just seeing the math behind it really did it for me.  I started planning out my finances for the next couple years to see how much I could save and all that other good stuff, and then I got to the point where I started thinking about what I would do once I retired.  After thinking through a lot of these things and realizing that they more than meet my expenses, I can't help but wonder why I should be working my current job at all if my interests lie elsewhere.  So I am curious to hear how some of you weigh the freedom inherent in financial independence against doing things that are more interesting with your time right now.

To give some context to the question, my situation is that I am currently working at an engineering type job making 62k.  I started working in September of 2012 and I promised both my parents (who recently payed for a large portion of a degree) and my current boss that I would work for 3 years.  This was an admittedly silly promise to make, but having made it I intend to keep it.  As of right now I expect to save around 75-85% of my salary for the next couple years.  At that point I think it would be great fun to go become a handbalancer in a circus (graduating college and telling your parents you want to join the circus is a great time, even if you have no intentions of joining I highly recommend it). Other options are become a climbing guide or take a year off and go on a bike tour and see where that takes me.  Or I could continue my job for 2-3 more years and be financially independent.  I have no idea what a handbalancer or a climbing guide make for money, but even at minimum wage, with my current expenses, I could still save some money and I don't intend to touch the money I will have stashed away in the next two years of working, so i figure this works out to getting me to FI either way.

Your thoughts?


  • Bristles
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Re: Earlier Retirement vs. More Interesting Lifestyle
« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2013, 04:48:50 PM »
I would venture to say that a majority of people who aim to retire sub-50 plan to do some kind of part-time work after FI, whether that's in the same field, a different possibly low-paying field, or just managing rental properties. You can take the low paying job now and still cover your expenses, but if you don't like it you have to find another job and you may not like that one either. You may have a hard time going from circus act back to engineer. I recently posted about how I could go down to working 3 days a week with my employer and still be saving money, but the freedom that will come from having more saved up in the future is more valuable than the time off right now. However if there's something you're passionate about and it's financially feasible, go for it.

As an aside, it's a little hard to take you seriously when you say that you could be FI in 3-6 years of making $62k. I suppose the higher end of that range is possible if you're living Jacob's lifestyle, but I suspect there are some unrealistic assumptions there.


  • Magnum Stache
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Re: Earlier Retirement vs. More Interesting Lifestyle
« Reply #2 on: July 29, 2013, 05:05:41 PM »
Another problem is that some of those more interesting jobs are only interesting when looked at from outside.  The reality is more like drudgery.

Now what I would be asking is why you think your engineering type job is boring, and looking for ways to make it less so.


  • Stubble
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Re: Earlier Retirement vs. More Interesting Lifestyle
« Reply #3 on: July 29, 2013, 05:41:43 PM »
Do you really dislike your job that much or do you just dislike having to be there at a certain time and having to work a set number of hours.  I've also toyed with the idea of leaving my job and pursuing things like being a climbing guide, but I think I would quickly grow to dislike that as well when I had to show up at set times, deal with painful clients, not be able take time off whenever, and not even be making much money.  I've decided to focus instead on a few other options:

1.)  Continue with the whole 9-5 engineering thing until completely FI.
2.)  Continue until completely FI with several month long breaks in between jobs.
3.)  Try and find a way to do freelance software development work.


  • Handlebar Stache
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Re: Earlier Retirement vs. More Interesting Lifestyle
« Reply #4 on: July 30, 2013, 09:53:05 AM »
Ha, you millennials! ;-)  <---- that's a friendly and joking wink, don't everyone jump on my sh*t

I'm a big advocate of moderation in all things. In this case, I'd advocate sticking with your well-paying engineering job (or seeking a different well-paying career if that suits you better, while remaining employed at your current position), and taking on your interests in your off time and weekends. See how they go, how much you enjoy doing them, and if you think you could or would want to make a lucrative career out of them once you're immersed in them. Both sound cool by the way!

But for now, stick it out at your "day job" while pursuing your interests on the side.


  • Handlebar Stache
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Re: Earlier Retirement vs. More Interesting Lifestyle
« Reply #5 on: July 30, 2013, 01:42:53 PM »
If your expenses stay that low, then you're looking at 7 years if you stay at your current job, or 14+ years if you change to a job with low pay. Can you find a middle way, like contracting part-time plus picking up interesting things to do? Is it the travel and community aspects of the circus that draw you, or is it the performance? You could try something like street performance.


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: Earlier Retirement vs. More Interesting Lifestyle
« Reply #6 on: August 03, 2013, 08:34:09 AM »
You only live once and more importantly, you are only young once. Your position in life and the way you think about things in 3 years will be very different from today. I encourage you to commit to take more risks in your youth because you can always work towards F.I. later if you maintain the low-spending habits. If you can get a 60K engineering job out of college, its a pretty safe bet you can get a similar job after taking a couple years off.  But you have this agreement with your parents and boss you are trying to honor.

However, it does not seem like you have a specific adventure in mind yet, just the fantasy that it would be nice to do one of these off-the-wall things. Say you wanted to be a circus performer. There are ways to mitigate the risk: I would spend your free time learning, researching, investing in classes, talking to circus performers and trying it out on the weekends / vacations. Say after a few months, you realize it is not your cup of tea, then focus on another adventure, like mountain climbing. Try indoor gyms, climbing on weekends, etc. If you really enjoy it, then declare a quit date (maybe exactly on the day you will complete 3 years of your job) and go for it.
If you try a bunch of hobbies and realize they all suck, then you would not have regrets about continuing your day job.
I think this is much lower risk than the alternative which is quitting your job first and then figuring out what to do.