Author Topic: Any pre-FIRE high income/life stylers significantly "down size" in post FIRE?  (Read 6517 times)

Dawg Fan

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New to the forum, however, have been following MMM for about the last 6 months when I can. While I may not have an interest to go to many of the extremes of many of you MMM truests, I find the overall MMM philosophy regarding lifestyle frankly very relevant to anyone who is looking to simplify their lives, reduce the clutter, minimize waste, and focus on what's truly of important particularly as they plan life after FIRE.

Ok, here is my confession and basic question... I am and always been a frugal, not cheap, "value oriented" consumer. I made my own way in life, supported a family of 6, and have always lived significantly below by means, but most of you would call me capitalist consumer pig at my income and life style. Prior to running into MMM, I always followed the mantra of "The Millionaire Next Store". I enjoy many good things in life, but relative to the "Jones" where I live, they might think at times I am cheap. I am 4 - 5 yrs from FIRE if I don't chicken out and fall prey to the OMY syndrome, have no debt other than some on my house which I choose not to pay off due to an extremely low interest rate (will down size the house and pay cash when I FIRE). I am trying to use these next 4 yrs to acquire as much knowledge from you Post FIRE-ees as I can and really do some "test runs" on some of the things I think on paper I want to make part of my post FIRE life and see if I really do want to do them. Basically, trying to start with what I WANT my post FIRE lifestyle to look like, figure out what it's going to cost me, and then try and lock in a real number. Right now, it's somewhat loosey goosey, but would be considered very high by most MMM followers. I really know my answer to my own question, but has anyone transitioned well from call it a history of "higher society" living pre FIRE to a much simpler down sized life style post FIRE and did it take, or did your old ways push you back to similar pre FIRE spending/living?

PeteD01

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Our income was obscenely high and we could afford a lot of shit and ended up owning a lot of shit.
It took us almost three years to get it down to four suitcases, a Nepalese carpet worth a frivolous 6k, and two plane tickets.
Today, I sold our last big ticket item: a Toyota Tacoma.
The sense of relief is hard to describe.


Dawg Fan

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One of my biggest concerns is ratcheting down Mrs Dawg Fan. Not that I won't have my own issues cutting lose the excess BS, but my wife has been a stay at home mom running my 4 kids (last one leaves for college in 2 months) for 25 yrs and has been living a pretty cush life, which has only gotten more excessive the last 5 -10 yrs. Don't misunderstand me, this was a choice we chose in terms of her staying home with the kids and I respect the shit out of her "job", but none the less, she has been effectively living retired for some time so when I FIRE, it's more about being a game changer for me. As a self employed guy, I eat what I kill and that has always created a phycological perception of safety for me. Even though the math says I can FIRE, I see it being a process of letting go of my income generating machine and just letting my assets create the income. While I live with a good margin today, I see shifting to a strict budget as being a possible point of contention. I know, I need to work this out with my bride in full before I launch, but I see her wanting to hold the life style at a higher level than me. Yes, "rich people problems", but none the less, regardless of your income, if one spouse wants to downsize post FIRE overhead and the other wants to stay the course, I see conflict.

Exflyboy

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Well I love building things.. I owned an airplane I built that cruised at 200mph in instrument conditions... This low cost airplane was worth about $100k.

The damn owned me as much as I owned it, and while I miss it occasionally.. It doesn't own me anymore and is giving its new owner a lot of fun.

I have a plan in my head to divest myself of two rental structures (on our property).. My Wife's horse can't live forever (I hope), then the need to own a 6 acre property plus tractor with constant yard work, spraying weeds, bucking hay etc.. Well I can see a desire to divest of that as well.

I am partially RE'd (doing some pt work for fun)..

But yeah I look forward to selling all this shit.. Maybe even renting..Freedom..:)

Dawg Fan

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I think one of the challenges for men who may have lucrative careers, particularly those in more old school traditional family settings (wife at home with kids), is it's really easy for us to get our self worth tied to our ability to produce. We get so used to going hunting every day and bringing home our kill that it gets tough to hang it up sometimes even though we know we can. As others have said, unplugging from the Matrix is not always as easy as it looks

lhamo

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Is a fair amount of your wife's spending related to the social circles she is active in?  Just guessing that might be the case.  if so, then broadening your social circles to include people who are living a more FIRE-friendly lifestyle may be a good place to start.  If you are still in the Seattle area, then this is not that hard -- there are tons of MMMers in the area, and regular meetups.  This isn't to say that you/your wife need to ditch your current friends.  But making new friends who are focused more on less expensive ways to find joy/value in life will be an important piece of helping her see the alternatives to your high spending lifestyle. 

Dawg Fan

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Live in SE. Frankly, part of my plan is to slowly wean both of us off "excess" as I prepare to FIRE in 4 yrs. My last kid (2 out/2 in) will graduate college in 4 yrs which always played into my master plan. Plan is (at least mine) to down size and pay cash for hopefully my last house when I  FIRE and have a reasonable idea of what is important to each of us as a life style base/cost. As mentioned, we do/have been living a good bit below are means, it's just that even some of that feels excessive to me and I would like to reduce some of that post FIRE. The opposing argument is if after doing the right things (I.e. Saving/investing significant $, no debt, charity) and you have excess, what's wrong with treating yourself?? Again, all rich people problems so not complaining, just looking for ways to slowly get off the proverbial consumer nipple and find the right balance, which is personal for everyone/couple.

Iron Mike Sharpe

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So, what does your wife think about all of this?  Where does she stand on the plan?

Dawg Fan

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Not sure she believes I am going to quit! I am trying to use my 4 yrs to slowly spoon feed the "new way of life" and perhaps very slowly "down shift" the life style over time so I don't shock her with a flip of the switch. One good piece of advice I was given is to try and live the yr before you FIRE as if you just did to confirm your MO and expenses check out the way you have planned. Basically a trial run while still working just in case you have an OH SHIT moment, and decide you need another X $ and work another year. Some of my expenses will naturally move down before I FIRE as my little Dawg Fans graduate from college, get jobs (hopefully), and fly the nest.

Axecleaver

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Hi Dawg, it sounds like you and I have a lot in common. Our empty nest experience starts in a week. Mrs Axe and I both grew up poor and chased the American Dream at full steam for years. Once we got all the stuff, we realized how meaningless it was. We're still unwinding that part of our lives, starting with the sale of our house. We're downsizing from a 350k property to a 2BR rental while we look for a house to rehab and add to our rental properties.

We have been living on about 120k a year for the last 10 years, which is wildly extravagant by MMM standards. FIRE goal is 75k in 2020, and we're currently on track for that. We're looking to make incremental changes and reduce our expenses until we get them closer to that 75k goal. Lots of folks here are living on 15k-30k a year and are fulfilled and happy. Maybe someday we can get there, too. Part of that is constant communication between us on what's important - we still clash on some things, she likes high end appliances for example, and I'm having trouble reducing my clown car fleet.

I'm really interested in how things go for you over the next few years, so I'm keeping an eye on this thread and looking forward to hearing more from you.

Cassie

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The first year we lived on 40k & decided it was too rigid for us. Since then we live on between 60-70k with a paid for home that we downsized to.

flyingaway

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I do not want to reduce my living standards in order to FIRE. I might downsize my house after FIRE, 6 bedrooms are too many for two people, who want to travel a lot.

Cassie

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We downsized to a 3 bd-2 bath at 1400 sq ft with only 1 story. The size is perfect for us as we can still entertain but just not as many people as before. We live in a pretty mild climate so if we want to have a ton of people over we wait for summer.

Playing with Fire UK

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Is a fair amount of your wife's spending related to the social circles she is active in?  Just guessing that might be the case.  if so, then broadening your social circles to include people who are living a more FIRE-friendly lifestyle may be a good place to start.  If you are still in the Seattle area, then this is not that hard -- there are tons of MMMers in the area, and regular meetups.  This isn't to say that you/your wife need to ditch your current friends.  But making new friends who are focused more on less expensive ways to find joy/value in life will be an important piece of helping her see the alternatives to your high spending lifestyle.

Seconded.

Maybe even move.

The best thing for my saving rate was a house move (related to SO's new job), but it meant we reviewed all of our ongoing spend with a view to minimising it. It was like instead of looking at what we normally spend and feeling deprived by taking away from it, we started with nothing and added in what was important to us.

To make this work you'll have more luck spending how to plan to in FIRE, if it doesn't feel like living then you won't enjoy it. The increased savings rate will help you get there faster.

Dawg Fan

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I do not want to reduce my living standards in order to FIRE. I might downsize my house after FIRE, 6 bedrooms are too many for two people, who want to travel a lot.
That's the issue often when you think about it. Some of us spend much of our lives pursuing the "good life" and enjoy many of the goodies that come with it. In my case, there is clearly excess to be cut, but I don't see down sizing my Lexus to a 10 speed... I know, not very MMM like. I would like to downsize my McMansion, but it won't be a 1 bedroom house in some state just because taxes are low or it's just cheaper. We have friends/family, a quality of life we enjoy that we would like to continue if the math worths. If all my shit burned up and I lost most of my net worth I would reevaluate my plans obviously, but if I can balance a certain life style when Fired, then doesn't that work as well as the guy who Fires at 35 living of $15k/yr? All said, I do think there is value in taking inventory of all the shit you accumulate and determining its real value to your happiness. From my 51 yrs on this planet, I believe the focus should be on your family and friends and creating experiences that enhance those relationships. Sometimes, if you have the resources, having certain "things" can help enhance those very experiences. Keeping some shit around ain't all bad if properly looked at, otherwise, I am looking to cut the clutter. Just one man's opinion...

Financial.Velociraptor

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...Just one man's opinion...

Sounds like you 'know yourself'.  How much more wisdom does a man need?