Author Topic: Unexpectedly FI?  (Read 2576 times)

Blackeagle

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Unexpectedly FI?
« on: January 09, 2021, 08:07:55 AM »
I debated doing a case study or starting a journal, but I ended up deciding to ask this an ďAsk a MustachianĒ  question instead: any experience dealing with finding yourself unexpectedly FI?

A bit of background: Late last year I received a substantial inheritance that took me from being quite a long way from FIRE to being LeanFI in one fell swoop.  This included both some property that generates a nice passive income stream and enough cash to roughly triple my stache. 

I had been expecting to inherit the property, but the cash inheritance came as a surprise to me.  After I sat down and ran the numbers I realized that between the passive income stream and my newly enlarged stache I was basically LeanFI (and to be honest, it's not that lean, I'm just a bit of a spendypants).  That said,  I'm still quite a ways from my planned FIRE number.  In addition to my aforementioned spendypants tendencies, I'd like to travel quite a bit once I'm FIREd, so the planned post-RE budget is actually higher than what I'm spending now.  My full FIRE number is probably about 5-6 years of full-time work away. 

My plan had always been to work full time in my field (which I generally enjoy doing) until I hit my number and then either downshift or pull the plug completely.  This windfall does open up some other options I hadn't previously considered like BaristaFIRE or CoastFIRE (perhaps coupled with a career change) or a sabbatical.  However, I donít know if Iím really mentally prepared to RE or make a big change right now.

The best response to an unexpected windfall like this would probably be not to make any big changes right away and spend some time absorbing this and thinking things through.  In my case, the big complication is that right around the time I learned the inheritance would be larger than expected, I got laid off.  Iím going to have to make a decision of some sort sooner or later, but I donít know if Iím psychologically ready for anything other than another full-time job in my field at this point.

If anyone has any experience or insights that might be helpful in a situation like this I'd very much appreciate it.

youngwildandfree

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Re: Unexpectedly FI?
« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2021, 10:05:41 AM »
We (DH and I) had a windfall a few years ago. Not as significant as yours, but it did open new doors for us. We quit our jobs and moved to a new state with LCOL and more opportunities in our desired fields. Some things that helped us at the time:

1) We gave ourselves a set timeline (based on expenses) to find new jobs. This allowed us to relax and evaluate opportunities guilt free.
2) We put the remaining windfall money in a separate account and didn't worry about investing or spending it until we were reestablished.
3) I took a job that was really interesting for less money, but I gave myself a 1 year timeline for the low pay. If there wasn't a significant raise by the end, I would move on. This basically allowed us to have a small BaristaFIRE practice round.

It worked out for us, but this approach did result in opportunity cost. YMMV.

terran

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Re: Unexpectedly FI?
« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2021, 10:16:21 AM »
My wife got an inheritance this year that took us from "we could probably scrape by if we had to" FI to "we could pretty much spend what we do now if the ACA sticks around and nothing bad happens" FI. So maybe not quite as big a jump as yours, but still significant. We have some expected future family obligations and we also want to do some extensive traveling without locking ourselves in to "having" to spend much of the year in places like SE Asia if we don't want to, so we're also still 5-7 years out. The inheritance moved the years to desired FI up, but since that's what we're trying to optimize for it didn't really change anything in the day to day now other than acting as a kind of security blanket if something bad happens.

If you think you'd be happy working longer and taking it easier along the way that's certainly a fine path. I think what you have to decide is whether you want to take the easiest path you can given your situation to retire at a certain age or whether you want to do the best you can given your situation to retire as soon as possible. We're mostly choosing the latter, although we could certainly choose to be more hardcore. I guess we feel we've optimized how hard we want to work/save at this point, so any windfalls just accelerate the timeline.

Blackeagle

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Re: Unexpectedly FI?
« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2021, 12:29:41 PM »
Thank you both.  Your insights are definitely helpful.

cool7hand

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Re: Unexpectedly FI?
« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2021, 05:45:12 AM »
What are your underlying goals? Are they tied to your field? Or something else? How do you structure your life between now and FI to most enjoy yourself?

I often refer people to the Tony Robbins TED talk on the six human needs. They are often a useful heuristic to help one decide what needs mean the most to them and what behaviors meet those needs.

I hope that helps!

FLBiker

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Re: Unexpectedly FI?
« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2021, 07:28:43 AM »
I don't have much in the way of insight, but I've been feeling similarly.

We're just about at our FI number, due to the stock market going nuts and selling our house.  For the last few years, I've been feeling like we were probably about 5 years away, and now we're technically there, but I expect the stock market to come back to reality so I'm hesitant to make any big decisions.  Plus, we just moved from the US to Canada.  Thus, my feeling is that I'm going to keep working full-time for another year or two to make sure that we really are where we think we are, and to get a better understanding of our COL up here (so far, though, it seems good).  DW is working part-time for the Spring, and may not work after that.

Another thing we've discussed, though, is what would happen if I lost my job.  I suspect I'd still do something that would earn at least a little money, but maybe aiming more at coasting than anything else.  And I think I'd take a sabbatical first, to try to figure out what I really want to do.  Given all the uncertainty (inflated stocks, international move, COVID, etc.) I don't feel ready to actively leave this job, though.  In 12-18 months I may feel differently.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2021, 01:19:13 PM by FLBiker »

IslandFiGirl

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Re: Unexpectedly FI?
« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2021, 12:53:46 PM »
Pretty much this exact same thing happened to me.  I can tell you what I did...I waited to do anything different than I already was doing or planned to do.  I lasted just over a year maintaining the status quo.  Granted, I was already having a very hard time at work due to very long hours, no life outside of work, no time with my kids, unreasonable expectations at work...blah blah blah...During that last year at my job, I upped all of my contributions to my various retirement accounts and I opened a brokerage account so I could have the best investments possible.  After about a year of suffering at work, I looked at my spreadsheet and said you know what, I've had enough money THIS WHOLE TIME to live off of, what in the ever loving HELL am I doing sitting here miserable and I QUIT!  It was fine, everything was fine.  I thought it would be so scary to have no job, but it really wasn't.  I had time, I did a lot of things, some trips, some staying home with my kids, crafts, home projects, it was nice and I liked it.  I also had feelings...like my parents worked all their lives and now they are gone and I am benefiting from their death.  It took some time to work out that just because I ended up with their money, doesn't mean that I was the cause of their death...they were very sick, it was not my fault.  Even though I know that intellectually, sometimes I feel like a complete A-hole for enjoying my life now.  It is strange to have "enough" because I was used to living like a single mom who had to count every penny (even though I was a super saver) but now I realize I don't really care about money...I still watch where my dollars go, but now, I don't have to worry when the dishwasher needs replaced or I need a new roof.  The money brings me peace of mind and it turns out peace of mind is one of the things I truly value.

As it turns out, I decided to start working again recently (from home) doing a completely different job.  I don't really need to, but with the pandemic still present, I thought well, at least during the winter, I can work since I HATE to be out in the cold and travel really is not happening now.  Will I keep the job?  I don't know, maybe I'll stay for a while, the benefits are GREAT, or maybe I'll get tired of it and do something else...knowing I have enough money means I can decide that whenever I feel like it and I like it that way! 

Good luck to you and figuring out your journey...honestly, I don't think you can go wrong whatever you decide.


FLBiker

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Re: Unexpectedly FI?
« Reply #7 on: January 13, 2021, 01:23:14 PM »
knowing I have enough money means I can decide that whenever I feel like it and I like it that way!

Absolutely this!  We went ahead with our move to Canada (during a pandemic which both complicated the move and put my job pretty severely at risk) because we had enough money to be OK even if we both weren't working for an extended time, even with the additional costs of moving.  That peace of mind is really nice.

Blackeagle

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Re: Unexpectedly FI?
« Reply #8 on: March 29, 2021, 07:46:54 AM »
Thought Iíd post an update.  I ended up continuing with my search for a full-time position in my industry.  Being this close to FI did help give the the confidence to turn down a couple of offers from several out-of-state employers who werenít willing to let me start off fully remote.  Eventually, I got an offer on a job in Kansas City.  Pretty much the first thing out of their mouth when they made the offer was that everyone was fully remote, it would stay that way until at least summer, and there was no need for me to move until then.  I jumped right on that and started a couple of weeks ago.  Pay is a bit less than what I was earning before, but not enough to materially affect my time to FI.

However, I have been reconsidering what Iíd want to do post-FIRE.  Iím leaning towards considerably more travel.  Depending on how much I wanted to budget for this it might push FI out a couple more years.  This may just be a side effect of being stuck at home for most of the past year though.  Weíll see if it endures post-pandemic.