Author Topic: Are you happier post-FIRE?  (Read 20875 times)

EmersonsGiant

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Are you happier post-FIRE?
« on: August 18, 2019, 08:56:50 AM »
Hello all!  I would love to hear from people who are more removed from the FIRE date (3+ years maybe?) about your experience now vs when you were working and building towards FIRE and are past the glowy aftermath of FIRE achievement.  Are you substantially happier post-FIRE?

I'm reading the book Stumbling On Happiness and the premise is that we are really bad at predicting what will make our future selves happy.  I struggle with always looking ahead to the next thing to accomplish and just trying to get a sense of what I might feel when I get there. 

Financial.Velociraptor

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Re: Are you happier post-FIRE?
« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2019, 11:33:35 AM »
I will hit the 7 year mark in October.  Definately happier.  It plateaus after a couple years.  My default state now is really more "content" than "happy".  But having an absence of "unhappiness" is golden, year after year.

jim555

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Re: Are you happier post-FIRE?
« Reply #2 on: August 18, 2019, 11:45:27 AM »
Coming up on 5 years, definitely happier.

EmersonsGiant

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Re: Are you happier post-FIRE?
« Reply #3 on: August 18, 2019, 11:47:38 AM »
Yes, I’m a bit happier, but I attribute it mostly to having more time to practice mindfulness and pursue personal goals (e.g. fitness). It’s possible I could have made these changes without quitting in the first place (although it was hard to see that through the fog of work).

The bigger benefit in my opinion is that my stress level is much, much lower than when I was working. This change did actually require leaving my job (surprisingly, going part-time only yielded a minor improvement).

Edit to add: I quit 1 year ago (not the 3+ you were most interested in).

@less4success - Thanks for your response.  The idea of increased time (or increased control over time seems like a clear winner on the side of FIRE.  Glad to hear that overall stress levels are lower. I'm not surprised that part-time work only yeilded minimal improvements, stress-wise.  I've heard a lot of people say it's all the BS for less pay, and also trying to cram the same amount of work into fewer hours.

EmersonsGiant

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Re: Are you happier post-FIRE?
« Reply #4 on: August 18, 2019, 11:54:39 AM »
I will hit the 7 year mark in October.  Definately happier. It plateaus after a couple years.  My default state now is really more "content" than "happy".  But having an absence of "unhappiness" is golden, year after year.

Thanks @Financial.Velociraptor.  The bolded is what I am wondering.  Glad to hear that your baseline is contentedness.

 I am a "type A", planner who is always looking ahead to the next thing. As I dive into FIRE planning, I am starting to worry that I may just be a fundamentally dissatified person. :-( 

Not a good look.  Not who I thought I'd be when I was younger.

Caoineag

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Re: Are you happier post-FIRE?
« Reply #5 on: August 18, 2019, 05:20:04 PM »
1.5 years out. Much less stress and exhaustion, happiness levels are unchanged (I have been a very happy person for a long time so never expected to improve that). My goals were less social anxiety, less stress and no exhaustion. I have achieved those goals.

Financial.Velociraptor

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Re: Are you happier post-FIRE?
« Reply #6 on: August 18, 2019, 07:44:56 PM »
I will hit the 7 year mark in October.  Definately happier. It plateaus after a couple years.  My default state now is really more "content" than "happy".  But having an absence of "unhappiness" is golden, year after year.

Thanks @Financial.Velociraptor.  The bolded is what I am wondering.  Glad to hear that your baseline is contentedness.

 I am a "type A", planner who is always looking ahead to the next thing. As I dive into FIRE planning, I am starting to worry that I may just be a fundamentally dissatified person. :-( 

Not a good look.  Not who I thought I'd be when I was younger.

If you are a fundamentally unhappy person, and not someone who is temporarily unhappy due to circumstances...changing circumstances/FIRE won't change that.  Good news is it can change.  And YOU change that.  Being type "A" will probably help with that.  If you are the type who can set a goal to become a fundamentally different person and stick to it...you'll get there.

FrugalZony

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Re: Are you happier post-FIRE?
« Reply #7 on: August 18, 2019, 08:49:15 PM »
I hit the three year mark just a few days ago, so I guess that counts
I am definitely a lot happier compared to PreFire.

There's still a lot of things I want to improve on, but I love that I have control over my time so I can actually chose to work on these things.
What is invaluable is that I can mostly organize my life according to my own priorities.
I am not living the FIRE life I originally planned, for a number of reasons, but mostly by choice.


AdamBe

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Re: Are you happier post-FIRE?
« Reply #8 on: August 18, 2019, 11:16:10 PM »
A couple of years in. 

Very happy.  The stress is gone.  I can do what I want.

EscapeVelocity2020

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Re: Are you happier post-FIRE?
« Reply #9 on: August 18, 2019, 11:39:28 PM »
My DW 'retired' in 2007.  She was stressed out, even though she had worked from home after the first child, she wanted more time to be a full time Mom.  I say the first 3-4 years she was incredibly grateful and thought it was too good to be true.  After about 5-6 years, the intense shine had worn off, although she still loved being a SAHP.  The 2 kids were both in school and she found herself with a lot of free time, but tiring of the routine coffee/lunch dates and time to herself.  She had volunteered quite a bit at school like many other SAHP's, but was missing the harder intellectual challenge and earning a little frivolous personal spending money (even though she had whatever money she needed). 

She's been substitute teaching since 2013 and even a full time para (teacher-helper) one year and seems to like it.  She hasn't found the perfect balance, but once you're FI you get to fiddle around.  The non-committal / flexible nature of substitute teaching seems to be working well as we transition toward the kids moving on to college - she feels good about having something of her own now that the kids need us less and less.  Happiness per se is elusive, having options helps.

Mr. Green

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Re: Are you happier post-FIRE?
« Reply #10 on: August 19, 2019, 12:04:50 PM »
I quit working in 2016. Anxiety led me back to work shortly thereafter, and it immediately became apparent that going back was a huge mistake. I FIREd for good in 2017.

There is no comparison to my before and after FIRE happiness. I am immensely happier now than I was while working. Granted, I had a job I didn't like. Really I think I just wasn't built to work in an office.

It's extremely difficult to accurately convey just how awesome being in complete control of your own time is. Most people don't realize how much of their life is dictated by a schedule until the thing that drives that schedule (work) goes away. There are so many little stresses we have trying to maintain that schedule and all of them simply disappear.

I quit young enough that I'm okay with the time I did put in but now that I'm on the other side there's a big part of me that thinks most everyone would improve their lives by making the leap earlier because the change isn't as scary as we think it will be as long as we're willing to adjust our expectations. I think most would find a life filled with less stress, less consumption, and less money, but more time, more happiness, and more freedom to be so much better than they can even imagine. That's the part that is hard to convey.

Model96

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Re: Are you happier post-FIRE?
« Reply #11 on: August 19, 2019, 07:35:02 PM »
I semi-fired 6 years ago, meaning I only worked for 20 weeks in the year on assignment away, and though this was a happy medium for a while, full FIRE at the start of this year has proven to be the happiest time of my post-school life! Every day I have another thing to do and tick off the huge list but all the family confirms I have never been happier

ROF Expat

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Re: Are you happier post-FIRE?
« Reply #12 on: August 20, 2019, 02:42:40 AM »
I walked away almost exactly three years ago.  I liked my work and was happy before retiring, and there are aspects of my working life that I miss.  The tradeoff is that I get to be a SAHD, and that more than makes up for what I left behind. 

Linea_Norway

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Re: Are you happier post-FIRE?
« Reply #13 on: August 20, 2019, 03:06:19 AM »
It's extremely difficult to accurately convey just how awesome being in complete control of your own time is. Most people don't realize how much of their life is dictated by a schedule until the thing that drives that schedule (work) goes away. There are so many little stresses we have trying to maintain that schedule and all of them simply disappear.

This is exactly what I am looking forward to, the option to life my life without planning around my working schedule.
And so far with 1 day off per week I also already that life is so much better when many people are at work.

FreshlyFIREd

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Re: Are you happier post-FIRE?
« Reply #14 on: August 20, 2019, 03:07:00 AM »
Are you substantially happier post-FIRE?

I am substantially happier post-FIRE. EVERY SINGLE DAY, I cannot imagine that I would be happier being employed. When I was working, I dreamed of the weekend. During the week, I would be annoyed that it was difficult to schedule time off to do things that I wanted or things that were required. Presently, I cannot find time to do the things that I want to do. My limitations are this 24 hours in a day thing. I wish there was more time.

I would be annoyed if I had to report to work for 1 hour a day just a few days a week.

soccerluvof4

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Re: Are you happier post-FIRE?
« Reply #15 on: August 20, 2019, 04:07:24 AM »
I am going on 5 years and thats a good question I often ask myself. I would guess I would respond similar to @Financial.Velociraptor  and have plateaued  but at a point that does leave me happier than I was before being fire'd. I went from having all the time in the world , perhaps somewhat bored at time to a pretty busy life again BUT the biggest difference and the best part is I am still the decider of my own time. That does make the difference at least in my life knowing I can do what and when I want to do something.

Jon_Snow

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Re: Are you happier post-FIRE?
« Reply #16 on: August 20, 2019, 11:29:13 AM »
Hello all!  I would love to hear from people who are more removed from the FIRE date (3+ years maybe?) about your experience now vs when you were working and building towards FIRE and are past the glowy aftermath of FIRE achievement.  Are you substantially happier post-FIRE?

I've been FIRE'd 5 years now. I would say the first year was characterized by a persistent "elation" of sorts. The "jolt" of the experience of driving off that job site for the last time and seeing my past life recede in the distance in the rear view mirror of my work truck easily sustained this "FIRE high" for a year. Honest to god, I felt a buzz as though I had been drugged.

Yeah, that first year....nothing will ever quite match that, even though each year of FIRE subsequently has been a delight. For me, YEAR ONE involved a massive (some forumers who followed that journey in real time might even say REMARKABLE) transformation of my health. Existing relationships were strengthened, and in some cases, rebuilt. And new ones forged, thanks in large part to this very forum. :) I dove headlong into my existing (and previously languishing) hobbies and now had the time to explore new ones...some of which now have become a central part of my lifestyle. That first FIRE year was the first in about 20 years without a clown car commute. It was only with the complete absence of it did I realize what a soul sucking experience that was. Month long trips (yes, plural) to our family place in Mexico...something I had dreamed about for years while I was in the work grind. That proved to be everything I had hoped it to be and Baja was transformed from a place I went for a one or two week escape from work every year...to a place that now feels like HOME.

5 years later...it just feels like....this is my life now. I don't get the same "thrills" as before, but occasionally a Sunday Night will come and I'll quietly reflect that it now is completely absent of the dread that it used to bring with it. Middle of the day, mid-week I may be out kayaking the islands of the PNW, or harvesting an amazing bounty out of my garden and I will smile faintly and nod to myself in realization of how blessed I am and how my years of hard work made a decades-long dream come true. There is a deep, enduring sense of happiness now...more of a "slow burn" type of joy compared to that first year, but it still feels wonderful....and perhaps even more importantly, sustainable.

icebox92

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Re: Are you happier post-FIRE?
« Reply #17 on: August 20, 2019, 06:41:56 PM »


I've been FIRE'd 5 years now. I would say the first year was characterized by a persistent "elation" of sorts. The "jolt" of the experience of driving off that job site for the last time and seeing my past life recede in the distance in the rear view mirror of my work truck easily sustained this "FIRE high" for a year. Honest to god, I felt a buzz as though I had been drugged.

[/quote]

@Jon_Snow  from the quote above it sounds like you were in the construction industry... just out of curiosity what did you do?  Asking as this is my field and it seems like there aren't very many people who FIRE from this industry...

Dicey

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Re: Are you happier post-FIRE?
« Reply #18 on: August 20, 2019, 10:42:13 PM »
OMG, it will be seven years in December and being FIRE is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! I love it! For the first couple of years, I got a kick every time someone asked me what I do. Now, everyone knows, so that thrill has sort of fizzled, lol.

My job was in commission sales for a major flooring manufacturer. It involved a lot of driving on a daily basis and frequent air travel to trade shows and meetings. OMG, those fuckers on the East Coast would drag us West Coasters across the country on a Sunday and start Monday, and every day thereafter, with a mandatory 7:00 a.m. breakfast meeting. We were also given mental bonus points if we were seen in the gym before breakfast.Then they flew us back across the country after meetings all day Thursday and expected us to be out working in our territory on Friday. As long as I live, I will be thrilled not to have to do that ever again. It will never get old.

I do volunteer a lot, but they are all things I was doing pre-FIRE.

Best of all, I got married for the first time two months before I FIRE'd. I dig being married so much that it's hard to separate that joy from the joy of not working.

Not a typical path, but I love it!

Financial.Velociraptor

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Re: Are you happier post-FIRE?
« Reply #19 on: August 21, 2019, 11:30:29 AM »
@EmersonsGiant have you done the work of figuring out who you really are as a person outside of work yet?

I've had almost 7 years for self reflection and I'm more or less convinced so many people are unhappy with their careers is that we aren't taught from a young age to understand ourselves.  If you don't know your own core values, how in the hell are you going to build a life around them?  Clearly 99% of Americans rely on luck to match their career with their values and naturally most end up with a really bad fit.  I still look back in amazement at the fact that *I* was a goddamned accountant!  It paid the bills but sucked my soul out through my asshole. 

Take some time this weekend to write down your core values.  Explore each one thoroughly.  That will be the center of determining what activities to fill your days with post FIRE so that you live your "best life" instead of your laziest life.

This list might help: https://jamesclear.com/core-values

Jon_Snow

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Re: Are you happier post-FIRE?
« Reply #20 on: August 22, 2019, 09:12:22 AM »
@Jon_Snow  from the quote above it sounds like you were in the construction industry... just out of curiosity what did you do?  Asking as this is my field and it seems like there aren't very many people who FIRE from this industry...

I started in civil construction when I was 17, with brief interludes into academia, and continued on with it until I FIRE'd at 42. I started as the lowest level "spoon goon", working in trenches, and finished up as a Site Superintendent (who still occasionally worked the trenches). And from my experience I would say your assessment of early retirement being rare in this field is correct. Most everyone I worked with had every expectation to work into their 60's, or until their bodies failed them or they had a terrible accident of some sort. There was definitely a Puritanical mindset of "work till you can't". Self identities tied in with your job. I know for a fact that saving and investing were completely unknown concepts in the circles I frequented in the industry. I always worked in a very strong union environment, so working long enough to reap a very good DB pension was the usual path to an end to life's labours. I was determined to break free of those golden handcuffs. So happy I did. Still, paying into that pension plan from 17 to 42 was still enough that I'll get around 2k per month at age 65....less than 20 years away now.

Villanelle

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Re: Are you happier post-FIRE?
« Reply #21 on: August 22, 2019, 09:40:39 AM »
I don't know if I count. It seems I may have inadvertently retired 9 years ago.  (My husband is still working full time and then some, and will be for years, in large part because he gets personal satisfaction and has personal job-related goals).  At the time, it seemed like I was quitting for 25 years to be a trailing overseas spouse.  2.5 years overseas became 9, and my career couldn't be more dead.  I am also a bit ruined.  There was a time I felt desperate to return to work.  We don't have kids, and being a SAHW was not really my jam, especially when I didn't really know people and had little social interaction.  I worked very part time, doing something I loved and 100% would have done for free.   But eventually, I figured out HOW to live without work, and it would be so hard to go back now, especially for shit pay (see: 9 year resume gap) and when we don't need the money. 

Anyway, we are back in the States, am happily working on the great American [smut] novel, which I may or may not ever try to monetize. 

I've never been fucking happier.  I recently started a thread about money buying happiness.  I am astounded at how I feel. I didn't know this level of contentedness was possible, and I'd say I've overall lived a very good, happy life.  But this is another level.  Two days ago, a SAHM friend called me up and on a hour's notice, we went to a Smithsonian museum for a couple hours in the middle of the day, just because we could. I've ready 4 books in the last week.  I'm working on my fitness and finally found something that I love, rather than something I force myself to do because it was the most efficient way to spend 45 fitness minutes (and which I would consequently rarely do).  Weights coming off slowly, but it's happening.  We eat SOOOOO much better.  I still hate to cook (and very un-mustachianly, I often don't), but I do it more often because I don't resent the time, even if I still don't enjoy the process.  I am an actual part of my community.  I know that the owner of the coffee shop where I write is STILL waiting for the new door he ordered and that Stuart, my favorite barista, enjoys skateboarding.  (The guy here almost every day reading, with his cup of black coffee and his carved walking stick, is "Rod". 

There are other factors in my extreme happiness, but I 100% wouldn't be feeling this way if I was working.

~~

Even though this is already too long (it's hard not to gush when you are THIS happy!), I want to respond to the comments about part-time.  When I was still working, for a couple of years I went to a 30 hours a week job.  Every Friday off.  I found that it made a huge difference for me.  Friday was for errands and appointments, meaning that my weekends were freed up for hiking and reading and spending time with people I cared about.  It wasn't perfection, but for me, it did make a big difference.  I took the job because I was unhappy at the previous one and the pay was nearly the same  for 25% fewer hours.  When I got an offer for a large pay raise, I went back to 40 hours, and it was tough.  I was just reaching the point (2 years) where they allowed people to shift to 9/80 and was very much looking forward to having a day back, at least every other week. So in my case, at least, part time did improve my QOL, when I had it. 

BECABECA

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Re: Are you happier post-FIRE?
« Reply #22 on: August 22, 2019, 11:25:19 AM »

...

 I am a "type A", planner who is always looking ahead to the next thing. As I dive into FIRE planning, I am starting to worry that I may just be a fundamentally dissatified person. :-( 

Not a good look.  Not who I thought I'd be when I was younger.

I’m also a Type A personality and I was worried about the same thing. I’m a month into my 3rd year of FIRE now and I am significantly happier but I still see room for improvement. Once the major stressor of a full time job was removed, I was finally able to see all the smaller stressors that I could get rid of, and I’ve spent these first two years optimizing to remove as many as possible. FIRE has also given me the time to help my family members remove some major stressors from their lives, and this has resulted in a lot of personal satisfaction.

Now that I’ve nearly removed all the negatives from my life, I’m finally starting to actively focus on adding positives. For me, this is a lot harder, but I have seen good progress so far so I am hopeful.

Does this constant search for improvement make me a fundamentally dissatisfied person? I don’t feel like it does, as I don’t feel unhappy and in fact each incremental change makes me feel a bit happier. Do you think your version of FIRE might look like mine? If so, I think you’ll be happier than you’re currently speculating.

John Galt incarnate!

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Re: Are you happier post-FIRE?
« Reply #23 on: October 28, 2019, 07:15:05 PM »
Hello all!  I would love to hear from people who are more removed from the FIRE date (3+ years maybe?) about your experience now vs when you were working and building towards FIRE and are past the glowy aftermath of FIRE achievement.  Are you substantially happier post-FIRE?

I'm reading the book Stumbling On Happiness and the premise is that we are really bad at predicting what will make our future selves happy.  I struggle with always looking ahead to the next thing to accomplish and just trying to get a sense of what I might feel when I get there.

I am very happy in FIREtirement; it's everything I envisioned it would be.

kei te pai

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Re: Are you happier post-FIRE?
« Reply #24 on: October 28, 2019, 09:22:28 PM »
Well, FIRE has worked for me. Im much happier in the garden than at work. And content. And at peace.

EscapeVelocity2020

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Re: Are you happier post-FIRE?
« Reply #25 on: October 28, 2019, 09:46:51 PM »
For what it's worth, I just had a 30+ minute 'conversation' about it (why do retired people have to talk so much?! :)

My DW confirmed that she is much happier, but it all depends on your personality.  She has friends that 'retired' about the same time as she did that love to sit around.  They can entertain themselves with TV, shopping antique and dollar stores, selling on Ebay, Etsy, Silpada(?)...  My DW actually envies them a bit because she can't be content with that, she got restless and works as a sub / para at the local schools.  But some people were apparently born to be FIRE'd.

So, main takeaway (sorry, I wasn't paying 100% attention because I need to get to bed), satisfaction in FIRE depends on your personality. 

Linea_Norway

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Re: Are you happier post-FIRE?
« Reply #26 on: October 29, 2019, 01:19:33 AM »
For what it's worth, I just had a 30+ minute 'conversation' about it (why do retired people have to talk so much?! :)

My DW confirmed that she is much happier, but it all depends on your personality.  She has friends that 'retired' about the same time as she did that love to sit around.  They can entertain themselves with TV, shopping antique and dollar stores, selling on Ebay, Etsy, Silpada(?)...  My DW actually envies them a bit because she can't be content with that, she got restless and works as a sub / para at the local schools.  But some people were apparently born to be FIRE'd.

So, main takeaway (sorry, I wasn't paying 100% attention because I need to get to bed), satisfaction in FIRE depends on your personality.

And do you think people who like to read and hike might have the right personality?

I would think that introverts might enjoy FIRE, just to get a rest from the mandatory 8 hour interaction with people who you don't have much in common with.

I am an introvert who enjoys both reading and hiking, so I hope I will like my new life from January...

EscapeVelocity2020

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Re: Are you happier post-FIRE?
« Reply #27 on: October 29, 2019, 06:31:13 AM »
For what it's worth, I just had a 30+ minute 'conversation' about it (why do retired people have to talk so much?! :)

My DW confirmed that she is much happier, but it all depends on your personality.  She has friends that 'retired' about the same time as she did that love to sit around.  They can entertain themselves with TV, shopping antique and dollar stores, selling on Ebay, Etsy, Silpada(?)...  My DW actually envies them a bit because she can't be content with that, she got restless and works as a sub / para at the local schools.  But some people were apparently born to be FIRE'd.

So, main takeaway (sorry, I wasn't paying 100% attention because I need to get to bed), satisfaction in FIRE depends on your personality.

And do you think people who like to read and hike might have the right personality?

I would think that introverts might enjoy FIRE, just to get a rest from the mandatory 8 hour interaction with people who you don't have much in common with.

I am an introvert who enjoys both reading and hiking, so I hope I will like my new life from January...

Absolutely, what you describe is a perfect fit!  People that can blissfully entertain themselves and enjoy alone time / downtime are a perfect fit for long term success in ER.  For what it's worth, DW thinks that I will do well in retirement.  She struggles a bit with the psychology of 'where she fits in' now that the kids are older and soon off to college, which is why she picks up jobs at school.  But she most certainly does not miss working in a cubicle!

Cali4en

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Re: Are you happier post-FIRE?
« Reply #28 on: November 02, 2019, 05:34:24 PM »
We're approaching the five year mark and there is absolutely no question that we are immensely happier post-FIRE.  Every aspect of our lives is so much better now than it was when we were employed.  In addition to the priceless luxury of being available 24/7 in the raising of our kids, we are both physically, mentally, and emotionally better off than we ever were pre-FIRE.

Looking at pictures of us from 10 years ago versus now, you would think they were in the opposite chronological order.  Not only do we have all of the time in the world to reasonably better ourselves, but the near total lack of daily stress has had tremendous benefits across the board.

FIRE was the best thing we've ever bought for ourselves.

EscapeVelocity2020

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Re: Are you happier post-FIRE?
« Reply #29 on: November 02, 2019, 10:00:12 PM »
We're approaching the five year mark and there is absolutely no question that we are immensely happier post-FIRE.  Every aspect of our lives is so much better now than it was when we were employed.  In addition to the priceless luxury of being available 24/7 in the raising of our kids, we are both physically, mentally, and emotionally better off than we ever were pre-FIRE.

Looking at pictures of us from 10 years ago versus now, you would think they were in the opposite chronological order.  Not only do we have all of the time in the world to reasonably better ourselves, but the near total lack of daily stress has had tremendous benefits across the board.

FIRE was the best thing we've ever bought for ourselves.

Sounds like some more story is in order if you are willing, I'd love to know where you were and what your life was like 10 years ago as opposed to where you are now.  I think the big picture helps explain!  I agree with your statements, our life is 100% better than when my wife and I both worked and our second child was born.  In our example, my wife quit her job but I'm still working because I enjoy the feeling that this wonderful life requires some effort and skill, it just feels right although it is not necessarily required that I work for a paycheck.

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Re: Are you happier post-FIRE?
« Reply #30 on: November 03, 2019, 12:10:58 PM »
Coming up on 6 years.. the stress is WAAAAY down.. That priceless.

One interesting thing is that my stress coping skills have also reduced.

I.e little things that would have barely raised an eyebrow when I was working really piss me off!.. I occasionally catch myself reacting to little things like it was a major issue.

For example, the ACA website was slowed to a crawl on the first day of enrollment on Friday.. My anxiety level was way up.. "We only have 6 weeks and what if I can't get it done?".. Wait a minute.. You don't have a job, if you have to, get up at 3am and do it when everybody else is sleeping.. Its just not that big of a deal!

I don't want to make this sound like a huge issue.. it isn't, its just a minor adjustment..:)

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Re: Are you happier post-FIRE?
« Reply #31 on: November 03, 2019, 12:54:07 PM »
Quote
Sounds like some more story is in order if you are willing, I'd love to know where you were and what your life was like 10 years ago as opposed to where you are now.  I think the big picture helps explain!

Nothing unusual or special, I'm afraid.  Two working parents with four young kids is stressful in a million different ways, some big, some small, all of which most parents on here would recognize.  The scheduling alone was a nightmare some days.  We were also short on time for things like exercise, sleep, and routine things like yard work and grocery shopping.  So not only were we stressed, but we were also spending a lot of money on things like maintenance services and eating out, which still cost a lot even when you are someone who is naturally geared towards optimizing frugality.

Retiring dramatically increased the time we have available to do everything.  The almost total lack of stress in our daily lives has also made the normal challenges of life easy to deal with.  Everyone is healthy, so there's pretty much nothing to ever really worry about on a routine basis.

We not only don't eat out hardly at all anymore, but we make so many things ourselves that our net spending on food has gone down dramatically even as the quality of the food itself has risen by quite a lot.  I get far more enjoyment out of baking and making my own condiments than I ever got out of delivering additional value to shareholders.  Same with doing my own house repairs or taking care of our yards or any of the other mundane aspects of existence that get deprioritized when you are always beholden to someone else's clock.

We have plenty of time to take long daily walks together now as well as a solid powerlifting regime, so we are both far leaner and stronger than either of us had ever been since our college days.  I'm actually lifting substantially more now in my early 40s than I did back in my early 20s, which is unexpected and fun.  It's surprising and sad how easy it is to get used to living in a neglected body when you have to shoulder the burdens and stresses of a modern corporate worklife.  I now look like the younger, much healthier brother of the man I used to be.

We have so much more time to simply exist together that our relationship is much stronger.  Same goes with our relationships with each of our kids.

Retiring not only made everything easier, but it also made everything more fun.  It's like a reversion to childhood in some ways.  It's totally possible now to spend the day taking a 15 mile walk without a care in the world other than enjoying the trip.

Even if you love your job, the things you do outside of it are all various flavors of vacation where you can temporarily escape from or forget about the responsibilities and demands of the job.  It's an interesting feeling to realize at a gut level that you can never really take a vacation again because there is no longer anything to run from or forget about.

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Re: Are you happier post-FIRE?
« Reply #32 on: November 03, 2019, 02:07:49 PM »
Quote
Sounds like some more story is in order if you are willing, I'd love to know where you were and what your life was like 10 years ago as opposed to where you are now.  I think the big picture helps explain!

Nothing unusual or special, I'm afraid.  Two working parents with four young kids is stressful in a million different ways, some big, some small, all of which most parents on here would recognize.  The scheduling alone was a nightmare some days.  We were also short on time for things like exercise, sleep, and routine things like yard work and grocery shopping.  So not only were we stressed, but we were also spending a lot of money on things like maintenance services and eating out, which still cost a lot even when you are someone who is naturally geared towards optimizing frugality.

Retiring dramatically increased the time we have available to do everything.  The almost total lack of stress in our daily lives has also made the normal challenges of life easy to deal with.  Everyone is healthy, so there's pretty much nothing to ever really worry about on a routine basis.

We not only don't eat out hardly at all anymore, but we make so many things ourselves that our net spending on food has gone down dramatically even as the quality of the food itself has risen by quite a lot.  I get far more enjoyment out of baking and making my own condiments than I ever got out of delivering additional value to shareholders.  Same with doing my own house repairs or taking care of our yards or any of the other mundane aspects of existence that get deprioritized when you are always beholden to someone else's clock.

We have plenty of time to take long daily walks together now as well as a solid powerlifting regime, so we are both far leaner and stronger than either of us had ever been since our college days.  I'm actually lifting substantially more now in my early 40s than I did back in my early 20s, which is unexpected and fun.  It's surprising and sad how easy it is to get used to living in a neglected body when you have to shoulder the burdens and stresses of a modern corporate worklife.  I now look like the younger, much healthier brother of the man I used to be.

We have so much more time to simply exist together that our relationship is much stronger.  Same goes with our relationships with each of our kids.

Retiring not only made everything easier, but it also made everything more fun.  It's like a reversion to childhood in some ways.  It's totally possible now to spend the day taking a 15 mile walk without a care in the world other than enjoying the trip.

Even if you love your job, the things you do outside of it are all various flavors of vacation where you can temporarily escape from or forget about the responsibilities and demands of the job.  It's an interesting feeling to realize at a gut level that you can never really take a vacation again because there is no longer anything to run from or forget about.
I’m struggling from the depths of newborn hell, number 3 in our brood, so your words are a beacon of hope. Hope that things will get easier and I will be able to hang out with my husband again and that we will once again enjoy life. Thank you for sharing.

nancyfrank232

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Are you happier post-FIRE?
« Reply #33 on: November 03, 2019, 06:17:57 PM »
From the posts, it sounds like if a person had a job that is stressful/they don’t like and a busy time raising (multiple) kids, that they will appreciate FIRE more than those who didn’t

My job has never been stressful. It’s fun and well paid. We only have 1 child, which gives my SO and I a lot of time with friends and family. We always take vacation and there’s a lot of money left over because our costs are significantly lower than those who are raising more kids. We’ve never stopped working out. We’re never rushed and are always fully present with our child. We have time together as well as “boys night out” and “girls night out”. Our pace of life is relaxing and comfortable

As a (negative?) consequence, there is little to no difference between “retired” and “not retired” and why the RE part of FIRE has never felt like the “freedom” that others describe

Intuitively this makes sense: the closer your “not retired” life is to your “retired” life, the less change you will feel
« Last Edit: November 03, 2019, 07:18:18 PM by nancyfrank232 »

EscapedApe

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Re: Are you happier post-FIRE?
« Reply #34 on: November 05, 2019, 02:38:19 PM »
From the posts, it sounds like if a person had a job that is stressful/they don’t like and a busy time raising (multiple) kids, that they will appreciate FIRE more than those who didn’t

My job has never been stressful. It’s fun and well paid. We only have 1 child, which gives my SO and I a lot of time with friends and family. We always take vacation and there’s a lot of money left over because our costs are significantly lower than those who are raising more kids. We’ve never stopped working out. We’re never rushed and are always fully present with our child. We have time together as well as “boys night out” and “girls night out”. Our pace of life is relaxing and comfortable

As a (negative?) consequence, there is little to no difference between “retired” and “not retired” and why the RE part of FIRE has never felt like the “freedom” that others describe

Intuitively this makes sense: the closer your “not retired” life is to your “retired” life, the less change you will feel

I think that's why so many FIRErs encourage aspiring early retirees to set their lives up so that they reduce stress and begin feeling the benefits sooner rather than later. That way, you can begin enjoying the benefits of a lower-stress life sooner, and the transition feels more seamless.

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Re: Are you happier post-FIRE?
« Reply #35 on: November 05, 2019, 02:50:10 PM »
17 months out and I'm way happier.   I have way less bullshit I have to put up with and way more control over my time.   Sometimes I'm extra-productive with it, sometimes I do nothing productive at all.   Usually I get to choose.


Skyhigh

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Re: Are you happier post-FIRE?
« Reply #36 on: November 11, 2019, 01:25:02 PM »

I was forced into FIRE at a young age due to a poor performing career. At first, I found my self associating with people who were many decades older than I because everyone else was at work. I went to the early bird special and drank coffee with retires older people at 5AM. It was difficult to make new friends my age since my life was in a very different place than my peer group. Since then I have developed a group of colleagues who are also post FIRE and believe I have noticed a trend.

If someone is past 50 and enjoyed a full career before FIRE they tend to do better for a time adapting to post FIRE life. Those who are younger when they achieve FIRE seem to suffer. FIRE can be very lonely when one is younger. friends and family are all working. It is easier to feel isolated and valueless.  As a result, I have seen peers take on bad habits, suffer health decline, or develop foolishly expensive hobbies.

Everyone needs a purpose. Everyone needs a place. Everyone needs to be challenged. Everyone needs a sense of accomplishment. We all need to serve someone. I don't think that retirement is necessarily a good thing for most or all. To me, the drive for FIRE is more about job dissatisfaction.


Trudie

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Re: Are you happier post-FIRE?
« Reply #37 on: November 11, 2019, 11:48:28 PM »
Hell to the yes!

I have struggled with anxiety most of my life and find myself very calm.  I breathe.  I no longer have that stress associated with being on constant deadlines and a long commute.

I think that happiness can be illusory.  I would say that I am deeply content, grateful, and mindful of how spectacular freedom is.  I feel like I am becoming the person I am really supposed to be, and that has little to nothing to do with outward signs of success.  A new friend and I spent time together the other day working on a project for our HOA.  He commented the next day how much he enjoyed my company.  To me, that’s gold.

BicycleB

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Re: Are you happier post-FIRE?
« Reply #38 on: November 12, 2019, 06:57:54 PM »
From the posts, it sounds like if a person had a job that is stressful/they don’t like and a busy time raising (multiple) kids, that they will appreciate FIRE more than those who didn’t

My job has never been stressful. It’s fun and well paid. We only have 1 child, which gives my SO and I a lot of time with friends and family. We always take vacation and there’s a lot of money left over because our costs are significantly lower than those who are raising more kids. We’ve never stopped working out. We’re never rushed and are always fully present with our child. We have time together as well as “boys night out” and “girls night out”. Our pace of life is relaxing and comfortable

As a (negative?) consequence, there is little to no difference between “retired” and “not retired” and why the RE part of FIRE has never felt like the “freedom” that others describe

Intuitively this makes sense: the closer your “not retired” life is to your “retired” life, the less change you will feel

Strongly agreeing with @nancyfrank232 about the bolded parts. What a brilliant description!

For me, work was usually a somewhat stressful, almost always awkward experience. I am happier not to be doing it.

My underlying tendency is to have a mental list of "should do" things, but to procrastinate about it even if it's a list of things I'd be happier having done. This has not changed. Since things that force me into activity are rare, I live a quiet life. I might be happier overall if I did more things on my list, and would be prouder of myself, but the things I do are still nice and positive. It's possible I am not sharpening my skills / keeping up to date as much as when I was working.

TL;DR - My overall life is more peaceful than working, and feels better. It's just not maximized. Yet. :) 


EscapeVelocity2020

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Re: Are you happier post-FIRE?
« Reply #39 on: November 13, 2019, 07:04:08 AM »
I have a hard time relating to all the folks that talk about their retired life being so much less stressful.  I do not find working to be stressful at all - they keep putting cash in my bank account and retirement accounts, so I really don't have to think much about where to pull funds for living expenses from or worry about what the market it doing.  They provide good healthcare, so I'm pretty ignorant to what navigating the ACA market and actually using an ACA plan is like.  My life flows like everyone else I know, I get to complain about work, talk about the holidays coming up, and generally cruise through life.  I also have more paid time off than I can use, but it's nice to be getting paid while I'm sitting at home or on a vacation.

The one stressful think associated with work is when I have to travel.  But I have a whole travel agency behind me that can move my flights around and puts me in business class for international trips, puts me in a nice hotel room close to where I need to be, reimburses for taxi / Uber and meals, laundry, etc.  I would think that retired travel is going to be similarly stressful anyway - making and executing the plan - with the added bonus that I'm on my own and trying to budget...

I could be way off, but I think working a job you enjoy after FI and ER after FI won't be all that different, I'll just have to be better about entertaining myself and more careful with budgeting.  Also, having kids in school limits our freedom to just 'grab a travel deal' or 'hit the road' to see a national park or in search of better weather or to visit someone...

I think I'll enjoy being more DIY when I have more free time, but for now I can justify paying others to do the jobs I don't relish such as getting an oil change while I sit inside, sip coffee and read / surf the internet. 

TL;DR I think FI has been the big transition, especially mentally accepting that I am FI and free to ER whenever (it took almost a half a decade and almost continual bull market to convince me I had more than 'enough' though, it's a tough transition).  It has made work much more enjoyable and given me a better perspective on many aspects of my life.  Why do we stress about so many small, ephemeral things?  And why do we feel so good when we save a buck when it might just be a false sense that we anchored to one number and got tricked in to still paying too much for something we didn't really get value from...  I am much more charitable, for instance, which has loosened the grip money had over directing so many of my decisions.  I really liked this week's EconTalk about how advertising gets us to focus on what they want you to ascribe value to.

Quote
Author and Advertising Executive Rory Sutherland of Ogilvy talks about his book Alchemy with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Sutherland makes the case for the magic (yes, magic!) of advertising and branding in helping markets work well. This is a wide-ranging conversation on consumer choice, public policy, travel, real estate, and corporate decision-making using insights from behavioral economics and decades of experience in the world of advertising.

spartana

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Re: Are you happier post-FIRE?
« Reply #40 on: November 14, 2019, 01:15:15 AM »
I've been retired approx a million years now (well, at least as long as MMM has been retired) and have absolutely loved every minute of if. I was very type A, and still am, but FIREing at a fairly young age has allowed me to channel my drive in so many other, more interesting and enjoyable, directions. I still get giddy about it most days, and still have so many things I want to do and accomplish that I was unable to while working and commuting and trying it fit the rest of my life into the very few free hours I had.

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Re: Are you happier post-FIRE?
« Reply #41 on: November 14, 2019, 03:56:48 AM »
I have a hard time relating to all the folks that talk about their retired life being so much less stressful. 

In my case, my job is stressful because I feel I don't master everything. Lots of issues that influence my job are not in my control to solve. We are depending on few people that are extremely pressed in time. Also, my own tasks have issues that are really difficult and where solutions aren't so available. We are also working with so many different systems, with operating systems I am unfamiliar with and command tools I only master partly because I wrote down some examples. Add to that sitting in an open office environment with a lot of noise and a lot of things to get annoyed about, and you have me stressed because of that.
Earlier in my job, I was made responsible for 2 projects, which both turned out to require a full time job to handle them well. I said so to my manager, but I didn't get less to do. I did as best as I could, working reasonably normal working hours, but it turned out I only got done the minimum for both projects. Not as good as job as I would have liked to do. In this period I was more stressed then now.

EscapeVelocity2020

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Re: Are you happier post-FIRE?
« Reply #42 on: November 14, 2019, 07:20:36 AM »
Interesting to see people's different perspectives.  My experience was that, yes, while my wife and I both worked and had to send a child  to daycare and have an infant at home - that was super stressful.  My wife wanted to be a SAHP, although our son did seem to enjoy daycare, but it was soon going to be two in daycare which would cost about what my wife's income was, so we decided she should stay home (it also freed us up to take an expat assignment).  My wife enjoyed being home, but it was only marginally less stressful.  But now we have the opposite - the kids are mostly grown up and my wife is finding being at home somewhat stressful - that she should be doing more.  She has chores that she does not enjoy, but no excuse not to do them - although we have done a few things that help like getting a Roomba and having a cleaning service once a month. 

Similarly, my Dad retired over 20 years ago and he talks about how busy he is all the time - busier than when he worked because he is always 'available' so has become over-committed.  That's one thing I like about having a full time job, no-one expects anything more out of me so my free time is all at my own discretion - I exercise almost every day, watch Netflix/Prime while surfing the internet catching up on personal email, YouTube, magazines, etc., and do things around the house that I like to do.  I do hire out quite a lot of things like oil changes, tree service / working at height (not a strong suit for me), etc.  I also have a reasonable amount of free time / freedom at work where I do my more intellectually intensive hobbies like investment management, researching colleges for my son, etc.  I'd just be doing that at home anyway, but it is 'understandable' to do these things at work because others are interested or have relevant experience (like kids recently accepted or graduating from college).

I think life always has some amount of stress, but I look forward to finding out if ER is more or less stressful than my current arrangement!  But it is nice, once you hit FI, that the worst thing that can happen at work is that they give you a severance package (vs. if I decide to quit and get nuthin').

GardenerB

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Re: Are you happier post-FIRE?
« Reply #43 on: November 14, 2019, 12:02:32 PM »
Certainly happier post-fire in many aspects.  I am not 3 years+ in yet as EmersonsGiant asked, but almost 2 years in with some observations (and comments on others' replies).

One point EmersonsGiant made was based on the book 'Stumbling On Happiness' - that it describes how we are bad at predicting what makes our future selves happy.  As others have repeated in other posts, very few are prepared to replace the 'purpose' and sense of mattering provided by a (hopefully fun satisfying) job.  Concentrating on FIRE goals and saving for FIRE is a relatively easy set-and-forget process.  Planning on what provides happiness, which really means purpose and a sense of mattering, is difficult.  The great part I've noticed is that once a bit older, finding this sense of purpose can be any project during FIRE, and, can be done any time with no limits/deadlines and especially no meetings/emails/corporate BS.

As MMM posted once - I find happiness comes from physical hard work (exercise 5 times per week), mental hard work (problem solving, building something you've never built before, writing, etc.), meditative time (reading, podcasts on stuff you liked before your career took all your time - debates on politics, philosophy etc).  Then after 'earning' relax time doing the above - indulge time (vacation, parties etc.)  That sense of earning time off to do nothing is easy when at work - you do a 10 hour day and feel like you really mattered/accomplished something - then time to relax, have a drink maybe if it's TGIF.  You will have that same sense of needing to 'earn' a reward in FIRE - only now you must be able to be content with the work part being 2 hours of gardening, or 3 hours of learning a water sport, learning to rock climb, or solving some computer project problem.  Being content with this slower pace, more time, less noticeable work leads to happiness IMO.  You may also be surprised how clear you can think about topics maybe you didn't address or care about during work due to lack of time.  I found this for myself after getting focus back - compared to answering 300 emails a day and being prodded on Skype all day.

And for other comments - I agree with one comment that indicated it may be easier to ER around the age of 50-ish.  I am in this boat having been in high tech for 25 years (made my first big tech pay leap when pagers were all the rage, working on pager transmitters, left before '5G' gets forced on the public as the next cool thing you must have).  I think if I hit ER/FI before 40 the sense that I could have worked on more would be a bit bothersome - which may have led to more independent/fun start up work, who knows.  In the end I stayed till all projects were outsourced and nothing left for work except email admin for more quantity/less quality.  Luckily I saved my own severance/fund a year ahead of quitting and got all finances in order.  This after about 2 years of absorbing FI blogs - LIVINGAFI resonated the most (see his 'Litany of Office Hate' post).  Personally I believe that no matter how bad the company, if you WANT to quit then the company does not owe you a severance (so I disagree with 'engineering your own layoff', unless you intend to keep your job and/or like it).

The 50-ish age also agrees/coincides with the 'U-curve of happiness' upturn point as well.  So 50 seems to be enough to feel like you had a good long career, plus you are at the age when maybe you have dealt with mortgage, big expenses, deaths in the family, etc., and other stresses.  I think it's a good move to save for FIRE assuming your career could suddenly end one day close to 45-50 years old (outsourcing, layoffs, major market changes etc.), then have fun working while you like it and money is rolling in (as EscapeVelocity describes).  That's what I would tell people who earn high STEM pay and are still not 40.  Plus at 45-50, with less or no financial strains, you can still start a second career on your own terms without doing it for the money (no need to 'sell out').  I have seen many people analyze themselves around the mid-40s point and suddenly lose their drive for their current careers, so for many the fun part of work can disappear quite suddently so best be prepared.

The 3 'Ps' - people, pattern and purpose (what work provides) - keep those up in RE and plan for it early otherwise it's a shock when it's gone.

GardenerB

spartana

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Re: Are you happier post-FIRE?
« Reply #44 on: November 14, 2019, 01:08:04 PM »
I have a hard time relating to all the folks that talk about their retired life being so much less stressful.  I do not find working to be stressful at all - they keep putting cash in my bank account and retirement accounts, so I really don't have to think much about where to pull funds for living expenses from or worry about what the market it doing.  They provide good healthcare, so I'm pretty ignorant to what navigating the ACA market and actually using an ACA plan is like.  My life flows like everyone else I know, I get to complain about work, talk about the holidays coming up, and generally cruise through life.  I also have more paid time off than I can use, but it's nice to be getting paid while I'm sitting at home or on a vacation.

The one stressful think associated with work is when I have to travel.  But I have a whole travel agency behind me that can move my flights around and puts me in business class for international trips, puts me in a nice hotel room close to where I need to be, reimburses for taxi / Uber and meals, laundry, etc.  I would think that retired travel is going to be similarly stressful anyway - making and executing the plan - with the added bonus that I'm on my own and trying to budget...

I could be way off, but I think working a job you enjoy after FI and ER after FI won't be all that different, I'll just have to be better about entertaining myself and more careful with budgeting.  Also, having kids in school limits our freedom to just 'grab a travel deal' or 'hit the road' to see a national park or in search of better weather or to visit someone...

I think I'll enjoy being more DIY when I have more free time, but for now I can justify paying others to do the jobs I don't relish such as getting an oil change while I sit inside, sip coffee and read / surf the internet. 

TL;DR I think FI has been the big transition, especially mentally accepting that I am FI and free to ER whenever (it took almost a half a decade and almost continual bull market to convince me I had more than 'enough' though, it's a tough transition).  It has made work much more enjoyable and given me a better perspective on many aspects of my life.  Why do we stress about so many small, ephemeral things?  And why do we feel so good when we save a buck when it might just be a false sense that we anchored to one number and got tricked in to still paying too much for something we didn't really get value from...  I am much more charitable, for instance, which has loosened the grip money had over directing so many of my decisions.  I really liked this week's EconTalk about how advertising gets us to focus on what they want you to ascribe value to.

Quote
Author and Advertising Executive Rory Sutherland of Ogilvy talks about his book Alchemy with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Sutherland makes the case for the magic (yes, magic!) of advertising and branding in helping markets work well. This is a wide-ranging conversation on consumer choice, public policy, travel, real estate, and corporate decision-making using insights from behavioral economics and decades of experience in the world of advertising.
You also have to admit you have a pretty gold-plated life. Not only a spouse to help with kids and home, but an employer who appears to provide you with a lot of perks. A lot of people here are both figuratively and literally digging ditches 12 plus hours a day. Commuting in traffic for hours to go to jobs that have them chained to a desk or a bulldozer for many hours a day. They have working SOs and are having to.rush home to pick up the kids, get them fed, cleaned, homework done, doctors and dentist appointments, sports or school activities, they have to shop, cook and clean, fix their cars, pay the bills, work on the house, mow the lawn, AND do that everyday all year round with maybe a two week vacation. So yeah it can be stressful for most people. FIREing frees up the time to take care of all that while allowing you to have free time to do what YOU like too - which is something many working people let fall to the wayside

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Re: Are you happier post-FIRE?
« Reply #45 on: November 26, 2019, 07:25:19 AM »
Hello all!  I would love to hear from people who are more removed from the FIRE date (3+ years maybe?) about your experience now vs when you were working and building towards FIRE and are past the glowy aftermath of FIRE achievement.  Are you substantially happier post-FIRE?

I've been FIRE'd 5 years now. I would say the first year was characterized by a persistent "elation" of sorts. The "jolt" of the experience of driving off that job site for the last time and seeing my past life recede in the distance in the rear view mirror of my work truck easily sustained this "FIRE high" for a year. Honest to god, I felt a buzz as though I had been drugged.

Yeah, that first year....nothing will ever quite match that, even though each year of FIRE subsequently has been a delight. For me, YEAR ONE involved a massive (some forumers who followed that journey in real time might even say REMARKABLE) transformation of my health. Existing relationships were strengthened, and in some cases, rebuilt. And new ones forged, thanks in large part to this very forum. :) I dove headlong into my existing (and previously languishing) hobbies and now had the time to explore new ones...some of which now have become a central part of my lifestyle. That first FIRE year was the first in about 20 years without a clown car commute. It was only with the complete absence of it did I realize what a soul sucking experience that was. Month long trips (yes, plural) to our family place in Mexico...something I had dreamed about for years while I was in the work grind. That proved to be everything I had hoped it to be and Baja was transformed from a place I went for a one or two week escape from work every year...to a place that now feels like HOME.

5 years later...it just feels like....this is my life now. I don't get the same "thrills" as before, but occasionally a Sunday Night will come and I'll quietly reflect that it now is completely absent of the dread that it used to bring with it. Middle of the day, mid-week I may be out kayaking the islands of the PNW, or harvesting an amazing bounty out of my garden and I will smile faintly and nod to myself in realization of how blessed I am and how my years of hard work made a decades-long dream come true. There is a deep, enduring sense of happiness now...more of a "slow burn" type of joy compared to that first year, but it still feels wonderful....and perhaps even more importantly, sustainable.

Damn, I can't believe it's been 5 years already! I remember when you retired -- seems like yesterday.

BicycleB

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Re: Are you happier post-FIRE?
« Reply #46 on: November 26, 2019, 07:20:27 PM »
I have a hard time relating to all the folks that talk about their retired life being so much less stressful.  I do not find working to be stressful at all - they keep putting cash in my bank account and retirement accounts, so I really don't have to think much about where to pull funds for living expenses from or worry about what the market it doing.  They provide good healthcare, so I'm pretty ignorant to what navigating the ACA market and actually using an ACA plan is like.  My life flows like everyone else I know, I get to complain about work, talk about the holidays coming up, and generally cruise through life.  I also have more paid time off than I can use, but it's nice to be getting paid while I'm sitting at home or on a vacation.

The one stressful think associated with work is when I have to travel.  But I have a whole travel agency behind me that can move my flights around and puts me in business class for international trips, puts me in a nice hotel room close to where I need to be, reimburses for taxi / Uber and meals, laundry, etc.  I would think that retired travel is going to be similarly stressful anyway - making and executing the plan - with the added bonus that I'm on my own and trying to budget...

I could be way off, but I think working a job you enjoy after FI and ER after FI won't be all that different, I'll just have to be better about entertaining myself and more careful with budgeting.  Also, having kids in school limits our freedom to just 'grab a travel deal' or 'hit the road' to see a national park or in search of better weather or to visit someone...

I think I'll enjoy being more DIY when I have more free time, but for now I can justify paying others to do the jobs I don't relish such as getting an oil change while I sit inside, sip coffee and read / surf the internet. 

TL;DR I think FI has been the big transition, especially mentally accepting that I am FI and free to ER whenever (it took almost a half a decade and almost continual bull market to convince me I had more than 'enough' though, it's a tough transition).  It has made work much more enjoyable and given me a better perspective on many aspects of my life.  Why do we stress about so many small, ephemeral things?  And why do we feel so good when we save a buck when it might just be a false sense that we anchored to one number and got tricked in to still paying too much for something we didn't really get value from...  I am much more charitable, for instance, which has loosened the grip money had over directing so many of my decisions.  I really liked this week's EconTalk about how advertising gets us to focus on what they want you to ascribe value to.

Quote
Author and Advertising Executive Rory Sutherland of Ogilvy talks about his book Alchemy with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Sutherland makes the case for the magic (yes, magic!) of advertising and branding in helping markets work well. This is a wide-ranging conversation on consumer choice, public policy, travel, real estate, and corporate decision-making using insights from behavioral economics and decades of experience in the world of advertising.

With work like that, don't retire!! I wouldn't.

EscapeVelocity2020

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Re: Are you happier post-FIRE?
« Reply #47 on: November 26, 2019, 08:56:17 PM »
With work like that, don't retire!! I wouldn't.

Now I'm starting to worry that my SWAMI status is making me too soft for ER!

As a side note, I'm watching 'Figure It Out' on Prime (hiking the Hayduke 800 miler) so maybe that is clouding my thinking :)
« Last Edit: November 26, 2019, 08:58:57 PM by EscapeVelocity2020 »

Threshkin

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Re: Are you happier post-FIRE?
« Reply #48 on: December 03, 2019, 10:48:05 AM »
Over 3 years now.  A resounding YES!

Rollin

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Re: Are you happier post-FIRE?
« Reply #49 on: December 09, 2019, 04:22:52 PM »
1.5 years out. Much less stress and exhaustion, happiness levels are unchanged (I have been a very happy person for a long time so never expected to improve that). My goals were less social anxiety, less stress and no exhaustion. I have achieved those goals.

3+ years out - and not one day have I regretted my decision. Not one! I just love the way that I can do so much more with my time and not cram it in on a weekend. Today - leisurely coffee in the AM, meditation, healthy smoothie for breakfast, walk the dog, spend a few hours making an awesome soup for the next few meals (Plant Paradox stuff), hike a few hours in a beautiful natural area (including a beautiful short nap), stop by health food store for ingredients for the mrs to cook dinner, read out back for an hour, and now type into the computer - on a Monday! Tuesday will be either a 50 mile bike ride (and same awesome coffee an food time) or take my dad out on my skiff for a few hours. Wednesday, rinse, repeat, plan for next few day adventure by bike, hike, or boat. I love it!