Author Topic: Would you have regrets if FI never happens?  (Read 5033 times)

Axioligy

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Would you have regrets if FI never happens?
« on: August 26, 2017, 01:52:34 PM »
I'm curios to know people's thoughts on how they would feel if factors outside of their control prevented them from reaching FI (e.g health issues, economic performance, natural disaster, pandemic etc).  Would you regret you decision to save so aggressively?
I'm greatful for finding this blog/community because without it I would have probably had to work late into my life, but my savings rate (only 25%) is to the point now where I'm starting to feel like I'm sacrificing the present for an uncertain future.  I don't think I'm going to back off but I do think I've reached my limit.  I don't want the fancy car, house, cloths etc, but I do put a high value experience (travel, cross fit, martial arts, dinner with friends) and tend to lust after expensive photography equipment (which I now budget and is only 2% of my yearly income). 
I guess what I'm saying is I would regret "saving until it hurts" if I never reached the finish line.  I know we all have different thresholds and different circumstances, but I'm wondering if other people feel similarly or if they've given it any thought.

lbmustache

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Re: Would you have regrets if FI never happens?
« Reply #1 on: August 26, 2017, 02:02:38 PM »
I am in general agreement with you. My savings rate is similar and I probably won't move past 30% (right now I'm maybe at 20%ish). I feel I've struck a good balance between saving and enjoying my current life. I wouldn't be happy if I spent the prime years of my life holed up at home with a 50%+ savings rate.

With that said, I will probably never reach early retirement due to this. I am OK with that.

Cassie

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Re: Would you have regrets if FI never happens?
« Reply #2 on: August 26, 2017, 02:41:22 PM »
Life is about  balance.  Some  people  don't  live  until  old age.  Don't  put  off everything  for  tomorrow.  It seems like  you have a  healthy  balance.

marty998

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Re: Would you have regrets if FI never happens?
« Reply #3 on: August 26, 2017, 02:55:00 PM »

I'm curios to know people's thoughts on how they would feel if factors outside of their control prevented them from reaching FI (e.g health issues, economic performance, natural disaster, pandemic etc).  Would you regret you decision to save so aggressively?


No I wouldn't regret it.

Having a bank of savings and investments immediately gives you a myriad more options in life than having less savings and investments, regardless of the nature of the catastrophe.

Unless your dead, I'd rather have capital at my disposal.

happy

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Re: Would you have regrets if FI never happens?
« Reply #4 on: August 26, 2017, 05:25:40 PM »
I wouldn't regret it either.

The central idea is to be happy whilst living on less. ARS would say: I have everything I want, I just don't want much. 

If you can be happy living on very little, you have really future proofed yourself with regards to surviving all manner of financial and other disasters. And as Marty says, if you've built up capital and savings you're even better off.

kayvent

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Re: Would you have regrets if FI never happens?
« Reply #5 on: August 26, 2017, 06:00:23 PM »
I don't think I'd regret it. Not having to worry about if I have enough money in the bank to pay bills has paid dividends in stress reduction. I don't need to worry about what account I'll use or what day I'll pay or how much. I just pay them.

Being able to afford to help people has been rewarding too (ex. my mother is a widow, ex2. I had a friend who got out of jail and needed help getting going after turning his life around).

I mentioned this on another thread here the other day: the benefits to "this" type of living aren't wholly in the future. They are very much crops that are reaped daily.

There is one situation I know I'd feel bitter over. This is just me being a horrible person though. If in forty years robots have taken all production and everything is free, I'd feel cheated that everyone else got the same result as me despite myself making better moves compared to the average. I guess I'd just be another grumbling worker in the vineyard then.
« Last Edit: August 26, 2017, 06:03:15 PM by kayvent »

AccidentialMustache

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Re: Would you have regrets if FI never happens?
« Reply #6 on: August 26, 2017, 06:53:23 PM »
Even dead I'd rather have a nice healthy stash, because there's DW and DS who will benefit from it. If not them, there's grandparents on both sides it can help care for. If we're all dead, then the US and Russia/China got into WW3 and it doesn't much matter anymore.

Dicey

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Re: Would you have regrets if FI never happens?
« Reply #7 on: August 26, 2017, 11:16:18 PM »
Oh boy, I've written a ton about this in the past, so here's a shortened version. I had cancer in my very early twenties. I always wanted to be at least FI after that. I was never a high wage earner, and I've lived in a HCOLA my whole life. I was also single until 54. The cancer I had was rare, but had a propensity to recur.

I knew I needed to balance the Now Me's needs with the hopefully Future Me's needs. No way in hell was I going to get to the end, whenever it was, with regrets for not doing [fill in the blank].

I figured out how to do all the things, one by one. I saved, I spent, I traveled, I bought a home, and another one. I volunteered in my community, I went to the theater. I ate out. I have a weakness for nice hotels. I also like pretty clothes. Have I mentioned travel? Lots of it. Most of the 50 states (47, I think?) and several continents. I never managed to save even 25% of my salary for any length of time, yet I managed to get to FIRE, albeit not especially early (54).

Figure out what you want, then figure out how to do it inexpensively. Part of the fun is looking like you spend it all, but still saving a healthy amount. If I die tomorrow, the only thing I'll regret is that I didn't have more years with my beloved DH. Our fifth anniversary is approaching soon, and I hope we get to celebrate many, many more anniversaries together.

And the RE part? Amazing. Worth every bit of the effort.

Step37

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Re: Would you have regrets if FI never happens?
« Reply #8 on: August 27, 2017, 12:32:13 AM »
I don't think so. DH and I have a very healthy savings rate, and don't feel we are missing out on anything we want to do. As others have said, healthy savings allow many more options. FU money is powerful.

pbkmaine

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Would you have regrets if FI never happens?
« Reply #9 on: August 27, 2017, 02:18:29 AM »
I enjoy the creativity that came with frugality, so I found the journey as well as the destination fun.
« Last Edit: August 27, 2017, 02:36:47 AM by pbkmaine »

Khan

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Re: Would you have regrets if FI never happens?
« Reply #10 on: August 27, 2017, 04:07:21 AM »
I'd only have regrets if I croaked in the next 2-3 years, not if I never reach "FI-RE".  If I get cancer, I have one hell of an exit party/year/half decade. If I get hit by a car, well, I'm not one that's betting on an afterlife to regret it in.

oldtoyota

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Re: Would you have regrets if FI never happens?
« Reply #11 on: August 27, 2017, 05:26:44 AM »
I might at first. Eventually, I would look good on the good side and find a way to be satisfied.

Like PBK, I find the creativity associated with frugality to be fun, so I find the journey enjoyable. I have experienced some expensive health issues, and the associated costs may delay my FIRE plans. And we decided to take an international trip last year and may take another next year. And we're choosing to make some other unexpected yet fulfilling choices that will affect our savings rate. So our plans may be delayed. In the short term, I'm nervous about how it'll work out. However, I believe our choices are better for the long term.


Cranky

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Re: Would you have regrets if FI never happens?
« Reply #12 on: August 27, 2017, 05:29:03 AM »
I think that in case of pandemic, for instance, I'd have plenty of regrets but my investment account balance would not be among them.

Imma

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Re: Would you have regrets if FI never happens?
« Reply #13 on: August 27, 2017, 08:28:00 AM »
For me, frugal living is something I enjoy, so it doesn't feel like a sacrifice at all.

Secondly, I have struggled with serious illness on and off for the past 10 years (I'm 27 now) and my lifelong habit of frugality has made that easier. When I was really ill and couldn't work, I had money to pay my bills. When I was on a very low income, I had money to pay for additional health care that my insurance didn't cover. It might have hurt the time to FI (I'm on a low income and don't expect to be FI until I'm in my 50s)  but it really improved the life I'm living now. If I didn't have money for living expenses during a long hospital stay 3 years ago, I'd still be paying off the debts. If I hadn't had the money in the bank for rehab and physical therapy after my hospital stay, I wouldn't have been in the shape I am in now and I certainly would not have worked / earned as much as I'm doing now.

Money itself doesn't bring you happiness in itself, but it can make nearly all bad situations a little less bad.

MonkeyJenga

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Re: Would you have regrets if FI never happens?
« Reply #14 on: August 27, 2017, 10:29:08 AM »
I guess what I'm saying is I would regret "saving until it hurts" if I never reached the finish line.  I know we all have different thresholds and different circumstances, but I'm wondering if other people feel similarly or if they've given it any thought.

MMM is not about saving til it hurts. It's about saving til it hurts, then backing off a bit and letting yourself adjust to the new normal. Then saving a bit more when it no longer hurts.

I'm curios to know people's thoughts on how they would feel if factors outside of their control prevented them from reaching FI (e.g health issues, economic performance, natural disaster, pandemic etc).  Would you regret you decision to save so aggressively?

No, I would not regret saving. I already regret the years where I spent more money than I needed to, partly because the lifestyle was unhealthy.

Through changing my life to spend less money, I've increased my happiness in many ways. There are so many cool free things to do and awesome people to meet while doing them! I wasn't taking advantage of them before.

Axioligy

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Re: Would you have regrets if FI never happens?
« Reply #15 on: August 27, 2017, 04:39:22 PM »
Thanks for all the great replies!

Zikoris

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Re: Would you have regrets if FI never happens?
« Reply #16 on: August 27, 2017, 07:34:05 PM »
We live about as close to our ideal lifestyle as is possible while still working, so no. Our goal has always been to do tons of cool shit now, then retire and do twice as much cool shit.

TheAnonOne

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Re: Would you have regrets if FI never happens?
« Reply #17 on: August 27, 2017, 08:19:14 PM »
If your income is high enough, saving 80% is a breeze and you STILL get to do everything you want.

Once you have the basics, house/car/ect, the "fun" stuff is really cheap anyway. "Travel" is mostly free if you 'hack' it, equipment can be had 2nd hand, and most events are negligible in actual cost.

It sounds to me "more or less" if 'camera equipment' and 'eating out with friends' is causing you to save only 25% that your issue is more on the income side. Living on 30-40k a year, like most do here, has all you want and probably MORE, I think people here generally make on the higher side (Supported by various polls as well)

--------------------
To answer your question "No" I wouldn't regret it, but, I didn't give up much to get to my SR either.

Axioligy

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Re: Would you have regrets if FI never happens?
« Reply #18 on: August 28, 2017, 04:48:35 AM »
TheAnonOne, you are absolutely correct, my income is the limiting factor and unless I go back to school or start a business I don't see that changing.
I do purchase all of my photography equipment used and a generation behind now and while not free (maybe I need to do more research) my travel isn't that expensive.  CrossFit and jiu-jitsu are probably my biggest expenses.

MonkeyJenga

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Re: Would you have regrets if FI never happens?
« Reply #19 on: August 28, 2017, 06:57:36 AM »
TheAnonOne, you are absolutely correct, my income is the limiting factor and unless I go back to school or start a business I don't see that changing.

There are multiple people on these boards who make high five/low six figure salaries without a college degree. You can make more.

Case

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Re: Would you have regrets if FI never happens?
« Reply #20 on: August 28, 2017, 08:03:46 AM »
I'm curios to know people's thoughts on how they would feel if factors outside of their control prevented them from reaching FI (e.g health issues, economic performance, natural disaster, pandemic etc).  Would you regret you decision to save so aggressively?
I'm greatful for finding this blog/community because without it I would have probably had to work late into my life, but my savings rate (only 25%) is to the point now where I'm starting to feel like I'm sacrificing the present for an uncertain future.  I don't think I'm going to back off but I do think I've reached my limit.  I don't want the fancy car, house, cloths etc, but I do put a high value experience (travel, cross fit, martial arts, dinner with friends) and tend to lust after expensive photography equipment (which I now budget and is only 2% of my yearly income). 
I guess what I'm saying is I would regret "saving until it hurts" if I never reached the finish line.  I know we all have different thresholds and different circumstances, but I'm wondering if other people feel similarly or if they've given it any thought.


A lot of commenters here talking about not wanting to not live their life to the fullest, and therefore the path towards FIRE and frugality are orthogonal with 'YOLO'.  To each their own, respect and what not.

I'd like to step in and remind everyone that this is the MMM forum:  one of the biggest lessons from MMM (and I though everyone here), is that having a high quality life is not as expensive as you think.  When you get fixated on "I must do this, I must do that, I need this, I need that", and all of those things are expensive, you begin to lose track of the principles of living an efficient happy life.  It is ENTIRELY possible to have an extremely satisfying life without having done every single little thing on the bucket list.  Additionally, there are often frugal ways to do things that show up commonly on bucket lists.  Alternatively, you might be able to replace bucket-list item A with item B which is less expensive.

There always is some element of balance, and certainly spending money can enable you to pursue your bucket list (etc...) more quickly and with less obstacles.  People here often do hold back on 'YOLO' in order to accelerate towards FIRE.  The mustachian path is one of optimized statistics.  There is always a chance of random death, disaster, etc...  If something like that happens, it might be very natural to regret living life differently.  Most people here are aware of the risks, but take them because it is likely that the path towards FIRE they choose is likely to succeed.

2Birds1Stone

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Re: Would you have regrets if FI never happens?
« Reply #21 on: August 28, 2017, 09:14:31 AM »
I've found that saving till the point of slight discomfort is where you start to gain insight and clarity as to what is important to you.

I would get to that point, back off some, and re-evaluate after a period of time.

You will then also focus on getting the most for your $ in terms of utility. I not only spend less, but I was able to learn how to get more for my $$ (travel hacking, finding deals, bartering, etc).

JanetJackson

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Re: Would you have regrets if FI never happens?
« Reply #22 on: August 28, 2017, 10:34:52 AM »
Replying to follow.
I am a low income earner saving close to 40% and inching toward 50% (will probably have to stop at 60%) and I have very mixed emotions about my savings rate.  It's "good" because I want to be FI and I want to do meaningful work, but I haven't gone to the dentist in 10 years, ignore health issues, eat food I don't particularly like, and skip on even extremely discounted travel opportunities in order to save this way.  There are about a dozen more examples, and I'm being a shoo shoo poo poo baby about it, but if I fulfilled all of these up to basic levels, I couldn't save much at all unless I skewed something else out of whack.  I'm not bare-bones essentials... I have what I need, but it does feel a bit out of balance some days- I have no one to leave my money to persay (the SPCA is my benefactor, which is nice, though) so sometimes I just feel like I'm throwing it in the bank to taunt myself.  Ha.
I'd say my satisfaction with life is a 5/10, maybe 6?

I'm very curious how everyone else balances this and eager to read as more comments roll in.  Thanks for bringing this up.

Finances_With_Purpose

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Re: Would you have regrets if FI never happens?
« Reply #23 on: August 28, 2017, 11:39:00 PM »
Oh boy, I've written a ton about this in the past, so here's a shortened version. I had cancer in my very early twenties. I always wanted to be at least FI after that. I was never a high wage earner, and I've lived in a HCOLA my whole life. I was also single until 54. The cancer I had was rare, but had a propensity to recur.

I knew I needed to balance the Now Me's needs with the hopefully Future Me's needs. No way in hell was I going to get to the end, whenever it was, with regrets for not doing [fill in the blank].

I figured out how to do all the things, one by one. I saved, I spent, I traveled, I bought a home, and another one. I volunteered in my community, I went to the theater. I ate out. I have a weakness for nice hotels. I also like pretty clothes. Have I mentioned travel? Lots of it. Most of the 50 states (47, I think?) and several continents. I never managed to save even 25% of my salary for any length of time, yet I managed to get to FIRE, albeit not especially early (54).

Figure out what you want, then figure out how to do it inexpensively. Part of the fun is looking like you spend it all, but still saving a healthy amount. If I die tomorrow, the only thing I'll regret is that I didn't have more years with my beloved DH. Our fifth anniversary is approaching soon, and I hope we get to celebrate many, many more anniversaries together.

And the RE part? Amazing. Worth every bit of the effort.

Truly awesome.  Best post I've read today, by far.  Kudos to you! 

Finances_With_Purpose

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Re: Would you have regrets if FI never happens?
« Reply #24 on: August 28, 2017, 11:40:22 PM »
Replying to follow.
I am a low income earner saving close to 40% and inching toward 50% (will probably have to stop at 60%) and I have very mixed emotions about my savings rate.  It's "good" because I want to be FI and I want to do meaningful work, but I haven't gone to the dentist in 10 years, ignore health issues, eat food I don't particularly like, and skip on even extremely discounted travel opportunities in order to save this way.  There are about a dozen more examples, and I'm being a shoo shoo poo poo baby about it, but if I fulfilled all of these up to basic levels, I couldn't save much at all unless I skewed something else out of whack.  I'm not bare-bones essentials... I have what I need, but it does feel a bit out of balance some days- I have no one to leave my money to persay (the SPCA is my benefactor, which is nice, though) so sometimes I just feel like I'm throwing it in the bank to taunt myself.  Ha.
I'd say my satisfaction with life is a 5/10, maybe 6?

I'm very curious how everyone else balances this and eager to read as more comments roll in.  Thanks for bringing this up.

Sounds like maybe you're unhappy with your balance and could use more to live in the present - especially travel.  I'd recommend considering it.  (Especially since travel at old age is different than travel now.) 

pbkmaine

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Re: Would you have regrets if FI never happens?
« Reply #25 on: August 28, 2017, 11:57:47 PM »
Replying to follow.
I am a low income earner saving close to 40% and inching toward 50% (will probably have to stop at 60%) and I have very mixed emotions about my savings rate.  It's "good" because I want to be FI and I want to do meaningful work, but I haven't gone to the dentist in 10 years, ignore health issues, eat food I don't particularly like, and skip on even extremely discounted travel opportunities in order to save this way.  There are about a dozen more examples, and I'm being a shoo shoo poo poo baby about it, but if I fulfilled all of these up to basic levels, I couldn't save much at all unless I skewed something else out of whack.  I'm not bare-bones essentials... I have what I need, but it does feel a bit out of balance some days- I have no one to leave my money to persay (the SPCA is my benefactor, which is nice, though) so sometimes I just feel like I'm throwing it in the bank to taunt myself.  Ha.
I'd say my satisfaction with life is a 5/10, maybe 6?

I'm very curious how everyone else balances this and eager to read as more comments roll in.  Thanks for bringing this up.

Please go to the dentist Cleanings and fillings are very cheap compared to crowns, implants and dentures.

Imma

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Re: Would you have regrets if FI never happens?
« Reply #26 on: August 29, 2017, 02:25:01 AM »
Replying to follow.
I am a low income earner saving close to 40% and inching toward 50% (will probably have to stop at 60%) and I have very mixed emotions about my savings rate.  It's "good" because I want to be FI and I want to do meaningful work, but I haven't gone to the dentist in 10 years, ignore health issues, eat food I don't particularly like, and skip on even extremely discounted travel opportunities in order to save this way.  There are about a dozen more examples, and I'm being a shoo shoo poo poo baby about it, but if I fulfilled all of these up to basic levels, I couldn't save much at all unless I skewed something else out of whack.  I'm not bare-bones essentials... I have what I need, but it does feel a bit out of balance some days- I have no one to leave my money to persay (the SPCA is my benefactor, which is nice, though) so sometimes I just feel like I'm throwing it in the bank to taunt myself.  Ha.
I'd say my satisfaction with life is a 5/10, maybe 6?

I'm very curious how everyone else balances this and eager to read as more comments roll in.  Thanks for bringing this up.

I'm on a low income too. My savings rate is about 40% and sometimes I actually have to take money out of savings. And I have a partner who pays half off the bills, otherwise I wouldn't be able to save this much. My quality of life is much higher though, 7 or 8/10.

Do go to the dentist and do travel. Do eat the foods you like. Which improvements would really make your quality of life better? Then you should calculate the cost. If a 10% lower savings rate would give you a good life, right now, that's worth something too. You might never RE. Maybe you're going to have to work until conventional retirement age or maybe only a little bit shorter. But along the way, your life might be much better and that's worth something too.