Author Topic: Oops we are living like we’ve hit FIRE but we haven’t even started…  (Read 1279 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 6

Here’s how it happened:
I started reading MMM’s blog posts in 2017 as a complete financial know nothing and found myself  ruminating most on the big picture concepts (less is more, the best things in life are free, enjoy it while you can, acknowledge your privilege, the meaning of plenty etc etc). When my very healthy and very beloved mother died suddenly at 67 those big ideas became the Only ideas. Life just became way too precious to waste. Since her death I’ve found myself essentially living as though I’ve hit FIRE but I haven’t actually done any of the steps to get there! Sure I’ve cut my spending by 80% but I’ve also cut my income by the same degree. I met and married a dreamboat with similar ideals (lucky us) and we now have two magnificent littles, own a couple properties we bought outright with unexpected inheritance that we rent out for (relatively) passive income, modest low index investments with modest monthly auto deposits and may have some inheritance someday but no guarantees to count on. Is money tight? Sometimes. Am I happier than I ever was making 100k a year? Yes! Are we insane to be doing this as a family with young kids? Maybe! Is it ok to just decide to be (relatively) poor in order to live (relatively) freely and hope it all works out in the end? We’d love to know what you all think.


  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5751
    • My Wild Ride to FI
We all have very different risk tolerances, and mine is wayyyyyy far on the financially conservative side. With that caveat, what are you doing for health care? Do you have an emergency fund? What's your retirement plan? You haven't shared enough about your assets & expenses for me to offer up much more advice.

I'd say generally, choosing to live with less in order to be happier is a fine/admirable idea. But, a safety net is also important, particularly with young kids.


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 6
Yes, good details to outline:
Healthcare- my husband works the minimum hours to qualify for his union health insurance for us (and pension). That means he works about half the year and is a full time dad the other half of the year.
Emergency Fund- we have 10k in our Betterment savings account but consider our Betterment low index fund holdings a secondary emergency fund, and the equity in our properties a third in a true emergency.
Retirement: plan is to mostly live off our rental income, plus my husband’s modest pension, my very modest 401k, plus social security, and our low index funds which, based on our current rate of deposits should be worth 400k as a low projection. If we had to we could sell the two rental properties we own, though we’re hoping not to have to.
As for risk aversion, we did decide to get life insurance for us both when we had kids and decided to limit our income so severely. That helped ease our nerves for our kids wellbeing if the worst did happen to one or both of us.


  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 7455
If you aren’t stressed about it, you’re good!

That said, you do have a couple of future things to think about:

1) whether/how/how much to fund your children’s higher education, if they decide to pursue it

2) where your income will come from when you are actually retired (so that you are not a burden to your children when they are older)

As long as you have planned for those two things, you’re fine!


  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 18264
I'm not really seeing a problem.

As long as you are comfortable with your financial position, then it sounds like you're living your best life.

You haven't given us any numbers, so I really can't comment on the level of financial risk you are taking, and it doesn't sound like you are looking for a critique, so I'm just going to assume you have your numbers figured out and are happy with them.

If not, then do a case study and we'll give you customized input.

But assuming your numbers are reasonable, I totally get it. Shortly after I read MMM, I left my extremely desirable, elite, high paying job and demoted myself to a part time, lower stress, lower responsibility role. Then when my health started failing in my 30s, I walked away from my career completely, leaving my much lower earning DH as sole breadwinner.

That said, if you throw numbers, we're in extremely good financial shape and no one would ever worry about us. So I won't worry about you unless/until you indicate that I should.

Otherwise, good fucking job figuring out how to be happy and healthy.


  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3603
  • Location: Mid-Atlantic
Is it ok to just decide to be (relatively) poor in order to live (relatively) freely and hope it all works out in the end? We’d love to know what you all think.

Of course!

There are many paths.  Many people here have high-paid jobs and target a high savings rate to run towards FIRE as quickly as humanly possible.  Other people are happy with an ERE lifestyle, and/or with a slower, barista-FIRE lifestyle.  Others are SWAMI and already FI with no immediate desire to RE.  And most of us are somewhere in-between all of this. 

The point is to find the balance that works for you -- that provides you the degree of income to meet your needs and enough of your wants, that allows for a sufficient safety net to give you comfort that you're covered if the SHTF, and that allows you the maximum amount of time for your true life priorities.  If you've found that, then congratulations -- you've already won the game.


  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1237
I’m sorry for your loss.

An inheritance can be a game changer.


  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 153
It sounds to me like you're living barista FIRE since one of you is working the minimum for health insurance. It sounds like you have everything you need and are happy. I wouldn't stress if you feel you're in the right place.