Author Topic: How has the concept of FIRE affected your life choices?  (Read 4188 times)

daymare

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How has the concept of FIRE affected your life choices?
« on: March 27, 2015, 08:26:19 PM »
About two years ago, I started a finance PhD - I've recently decided to leave with a master's after the summer and find other work.  There are all sorts of factors in my decision, but it's undeniable that FI was a part of it.  My calculations for the value of obtaining a position as a tenured professor by 37 or so, and the freedom and autonomy that would offer, became a lot less after realizing that by 40 my husband and I could be FI and have complete career flexibility and potential autonomy.

The specifics of my situation aren't important - the gist is that the complete change in how I think about my career (now I know that in 15 years when I am 40 I can be FI, whereas before I imagined working for a long time and needing to find a career that was deeply satisfying and could be so for 30+ years), has I think changed the direction my life is taking.

I'm curious - do you feel like FI as a concept has changed the direction your life has taken?  Have you made different decision about what jobs to take, or what field to enter?  Did it change your views on when/whether to have children?  Do you think your life is different because you discovered FIRE?

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Re: How has the concept of FIRE affected your life choices?
« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2015, 09:54:43 PM »
I would say that the biggest life changer for me came from simply recognizing earlier retirement as a viable life goal and strategy.  Applying the tactics of frugality and targeted investing in pursuit of that strategy radically shortened my projected job time horizon.  As a result of applying those tactics, I suddenly had the choice to do something other than hold a job many years earlier than I had expected.  Acting on that choice made my subsequent life path tremendously different.

lunahsol

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Re: How has the concept of FIRE affected your life choices?
« Reply #2 on: March 27, 2015, 10:27:54 PM »
Sine I m just now getting serious at the ripe old age of my (ahem) early-40's, I am not sure I will be a candidate for FIRE. But I would like to eventually be able to retire without financial worry.  I have truly righted my ship recently and do not see that changing.  Since I have no one to currently depend on or care for except for myself, my decisions and actions are my own. 

Anyways . . . yes, the concept of retirement (or if I am so blessed, FIRE), has greatly affected my everyday choices.  I actually think about what is going into my cart at the grocery store.  I strategically plan driving trips for maximum fuel efficiency.  In the past month or so, I have increased my retirement plan contribution by 7% - which means forcing myself to live on less.  At the same time, I have cut up credit cards and am throwing every penny possible at paying off the one remaining.  I turn down invitations out with friends and instead do more volunteer work.  I am constantly aware that I am behind in my overall progress and have to work harder to make up for lost time. 

I am not sure I can pinpoint what initiated this change . . . what lit this fire (pardon the pun) under me.  I have a reasonably comfortable life . . . yet, I suddenly worry about it all disappearing.  The stache feels like it is my only defense.  My life is different now, I guess, because I have accepted that I have only myself to depend on.  No one is coming to "save" me.  So I better take care of myself. 

Emilyngh

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Re: How has the concept of FIRE affected your life choices?
« Reply #3 on: March 27, 2015, 10:48:06 PM »
Good question, and for me, it has enabled me to live more freely with less fear.

I am naturally an anxious person, looking too much to please.   I had spent many years working and working to prove myself and constantly in fear that I was going to make a mistake and somehow ruin everything that I had built.   And even since starting a tenure-track job, I worried that even after the security of getting tenure that I would then wind up stuck.   Even though I like my job, I worried that I would wake up one day, hating it, but having to spend decades more working at it and hating it.

Now, I have the freedom of the math of it all.   I know how much we need to live (very, very little) and I know that even if I did somehow lose my job, we could financially get by for a long time with just a part time job or two.  And, I have confidence that we could soon piece together something else that would work just fine (even if not exactly what I had imagined).  Losing a job would lead us down a different path, but I can more clearly see how many more paths there could be that we could make work.  So, the fear of losing my job is not a threat.   Also, about 10 years from now, I can be completely free if I want, getting rid of the fear of being stuck forever in a job I don't like.

Living a life not based on fear changes everything.   I feel free to be more honest, to not hide my true self, to say no, to say yes, to ask for things I think are reasonable, to choose to let go of other things if I decide I'm not being reasonable, etc. 

 So, while I can't think of a direct way any large life choices have been impacted, I do believe that it silently impacts all of my day-to-day choices, which add up to build my life.
« Last Edit: March 27, 2015, 10:50:42 PM by Emilyngh »

Exhale

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Re: How has the concept of FIRE affected your life choices?
« Reply #4 on: March 28, 2015, 09:25:53 AM »
My life has changed in many ways due to FIRE.
1) Lost 30 pounds since last Nov (no longer felt trapped in my job, no need to self medicate with food)
2) Have been more happy and successful at work (the freedom of knowing it's short term)
3) Have begun to figure out what life/happiness beyond the job means for me, especially as a single person
---
Note: I've always been frugal (grew up in a frugal/poor family, read & implemented Your Money Or Your Life, etc.), but by the time I was (school) debt-free, out of a marriage with a waaay-over-spending spouse, and was earning income, YMOYL was outdated and I didn't really know how to how I could make FIRE work. Then I came across MMM last August. What a game changer! The concrete information and suggestions showed me I could be FIRE by 2021.

madamwitty

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Re: How has the concept of FIRE affected your life choices?
« Reply #5 on: March 28, 2015, 12:53:12 PM »
I only discovered MMM/FIRE recently, but the concept has allowed me to feel more comfortable with who I am. I am a naturally frugal/minimalist person, but had recently allowed lifestyle creep to enter my life because, what else was I going to do with my boatloads of money? I actually feel happier spending less, now that I know it's "ok" and have a better purpose for that extra money.

I also feel strongly that I should not have to spend all my hours on my job, even though I find it generally enjoyable. I had already cut down to part time before MMM (unusual in my field). DH has always been supportive of me quitting to be a SAHM (tried it; didn't like it full time). But I am a goal driven person - I didn't feel like it would be ok to retire early and "do nothing" while the kids are in school. MMM has shown me that retiring early doesn't have to mean "doing nothing." So now that I know FIRE is on the table, I can enjoy my job for a few more years without worrying about what's the right thing for my career. How freeing!

mozar

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Re: How has the concept of FIRE affected your life choices?
« Reply #6 on: March 28, 2015, 07:20:06 PM »
I agree with all the previous comments. The concept of FIRE has completely changed my life. I had learned how to be frugal from getting into a ton of student loan debt, and paying it off by putting $2000 a month toward it for 5 years. Once I paid off most of it I felt like I could breath again. Though I still have a bit left.
After that I googled "what do I do with my money" and came across MMM. I think the experience was similar to what people say about finding God or Jesus.
I had grown up thinking that life was drudgery because of work. I had never thought of the possibility of freedom. Once I started thinking that I didn't have to work until 65 I did the math and realized I could retire in 15 years. This opened my mind up, and I was also able to have the emotional energy to think about other things in my life.
1. I broke up with my ex, and
2. I started to realize how severe my body issues were. I had suffered from severe insomnia since I was 4 and I thought why bother getting treatment when life was miserable anyway? I finally got treatment and I have gone from sleeping 1-2 hours a night, to 5-6, to about 7 a night over the past year.
3. From these forums I realized I was underpaid and I left for a better job making $10k more. I'm still underpaid but I'm on my way now.This new job moved my FIRE date up by 5 years. I even hate working a little bit less.
4. I have always been incredibly lonely. I have starting going to the MMM get togethers in my area, which is wonderful.
5. Lastly I started researching what healthy relationships look like. This has completely improved my dating life. I was just throwing myself at whoever, now I understand my needs and wants. I actually just called something off a few hours ago. This person and I had so much in common it blew my mind. But they weren't kind, and that's one of my top requirements.

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Re: How has the concept of FIRE affected your life choices?
« Reply #7 on: March 29, 2015, 04:37:10 PM »
... Living a life not based on [financial] fear changes everything.   I feel free to be more honest, to not hide my true self, to say no, to say yes, to ask for things I think are reasonable, to choose to let go of other things if I decide I'm not being reasonable, etc...

Financial fear is a real joy killer and stress creator.  And the cause of many marital arguments.  So, reading the reply I've quoted above has made me realize that embracing FIRE has additionally changed my life by improving my relationship with my wife and keeping me on much more of an even mental keel.

madamwitty

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Re: How has the concept of FIRE affected your life choices?
« Reply #8 on: March 29, 2015, 05:59:21 PM »
Oh, here's a tangible result of my FIRE plan: since I don't have to worry about advancing my career, I no longer feel obligated to dress particularly professionally or wear makeup. Neat, yes, but "professional", no. I wear (nice) jeans a lot more often nowadays.

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Re: How has the concept of FIRE affected your life choices?
« Reply #9 on: March 29, 2015, 08:56:48 PM »
Oh, here's a tangible result of my FIRE plan: since I don't have to worry about advancing my career, I no longer feel obligated to dress particularly professionally or wear makeup. Neat, yes, but "professional", no. I wear (nice) jeans a lot more often nowadays.

Same goes for joining and being active in bozo professional associations.  God, how I despised the monthly meetings (4 of them!) to which my attendance was practically obligatory due to my position as local branch manager.  I never really gave a good god damn.

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Re: How has the concept of FIRE affected your life choices?
« Reply #10 on: March 30, 2015, 07:49:53 AM »
1) By living off of 50% of my income I am never stressed about losing my job, if I get laid off unemployment would more than cover my living expenses till I found a good replacement position.
2) I am able to take larger risks without having to worry about a steady paycheck. This resulted in a complete career change 4 months ago.
3) Work is almost like a game when I know I'm out in 10-12 years.
4) I sleep very well at night knowing that everything is going to be alright from a supporting myself standpoint.
5) I can REALLY enjoy my time outside of work with zero work related stress. This improves interpersonal relationships and quality of life tremendously.