Author Topic: Leverage FI to enjoy life more  (Read 2058 times)

vagavince

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Leverage FI to enjoy life more
« on: September 29, 2020, 09:13:40 AM »
I'm FI but I have decided to not retire early.

My plan is to stay with current company and have them relocate me to work/live in a few different city (after covid). I had serious one more year syndrome before. After a lot of soul searching and I think what I want to do is to leverage money/FI as an asset to enjoy life more.

I want to make life more fun. Trying new things that I can think of, learning new hobby, travel etc. I want to expand my mindset to not be afraid. Whether it's trying new things in work or life, I want to make things fun. I already told my manager I want work to be a "fun hobby" and if there is a conflict with life I would prioritize life. I'm already FI, I should have nothing to worry about. I just need to make that a natural part of my mindset.

It is possible that the subconscious toll of work might still be affecting me and I wouldn't be able to fully enjoy life without quitting. But I think my current spirit is to just try it when I have an idea without falling into overanalyzing trap. I give myself a timeline of 3 years. When I hit 42 (answer to life). I will call it quit if I don't enjoy it.

Curious if anyone is also trying to leverage FI to change their mindset to make life more fun rather than retiring. How is that working out and if there is anything you can share.
« Last Edit: September 29, 2020, 09:16:58 AM by vagavince »

sui generis

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Re: Leverage FI to enjoy life more
« Reply #1 on: September 29, 2020, 10:15:41 AM »
It sounds like a great idea and I hope it works well for you! 

Not hoping to be a negative nancy, but that was not an option for me at all.  I did not (and still do not) find having enough money to literally say FU to be sufficient to throw off the chains of social pressure and our ambition-culture.  In many jobs and careers, part of being good at your job or doing a good job is working yourself nearly to death, not just the quality of the work you do.  So as much as I would like to have been able to leverage my FI status as a lawyer to say, "I will only bill 1000 hours this year"....it wasn't going to happen.  This is actually a possible negotiation one could have with certain firms, and of course if you were a sole practitioner (or partner) you could make certain choices, within certain parameters, on your own.  BUT, the part that I knew myself well enough to know I could not do, is to feel like I was doing a good job part-time when the whole underlying, subconscious definition of doing a good job is basically working ALL of the time.  There are exceptions for certain semi-retired lawyers who put in 40 or more years and are starting a slow decade of working fewer hours in hopes of not dying literally at their desks, but otherwise, part of being a lawyer is being available all the time.  And I am not sure of the value of working only 20 hours per week (or even 40!) if those hours still might have to be on Sunday when I was supposed to be at my friend's wedding or at 3am or what-have-you. 

So, I think the problem is the illusion of control with FI rather than real control.  With some jobs/careers you could have real control and FI could meaningfully change your life and the way you work.  But not so with others.  At my firm, let's face it, all of us could be or should be FI given how much money we made.  But, it's the culture that doesn't allow that kind of control of your time and life.  And I couldn't change the culture, so I left it. 

I think your plan is good, to try it out for 3 years.  Certainly a low-risk, easy to implement plan that will be interesting to learn from!

TomTX

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Re: Leverage FI to enjoy life more
« Reply #2 on: September 29, 2020, 07:59:41 PM »
And I am not sure of the value of working only 20 hours per week (or even 40!) if those hours still might have to be on Sunday when I was supposed to be at my friend's wedding or at 3am or what-have-you. 

In fairness, I'd probably decline an invitation to a 3AM wedding anyway....

bmjohnson35

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Re: Leverage FI to enjoy life more
« Reply #3 on: September 29, 2020, 08:56:17 PM »

What's right for you may not be right for others and that's ok.  I considered the same thing, but I was burned out and wanted a change.  So far, I am happy that I exited the workplace.  The great thing about FI, is that YOU are in charge. No need to rush into FIRE.  Do what feels right for you.

Good Luck.

Freedomin5

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Re: Leverage FI to enjoy life more
« Reply #4 on: September 30, 2020, 04:46:56 AM »
Yup, itís called coasting.

I didnít even bother waiting until I was FI. I waited until we had a big pot of money that, if left alone for the next forty years, would be enough for us to retire. That meant that I didnít have to take the highest paying job. I just needed a job that could cover our current living expenses.

That gave me the confidence to switch jobs to one that still used my skills, but the expectation was that I only work 40 hours per week and took my full 3 months of vacation every year. I also was no longer expected to work evenings or weekends as that was not the corporate culture. I took a not insignificant pay cut, but the benefits are pretty great and the quality of life and work-life balance are fantastic.

Well, except COVID threw a monkey wrench into that, but now that things seem to be stabilizing and most of our staff have returned, I think things will get back to normal-ish.

But I agree with you. Being FI makes me unafraid to try new things at work and to speak up, because Iím not afraid of getting fired. And what Iíve found is that those qualities of jumping in and not being afraid to look bad or to fail have made me quite popular with the powers that be. Iíve had more opportunities to interact with C-suite folk, including the CEO (Iím just a lowly minion with no upward mobility in my current position). Itís very freeing.

FIRE 20/20

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Re: Leverage FI to enjoy life more
« Reply #5 on: September 30, 2020, 02:41:59 PM »
I did not do exactly what you're describing, but I think my partner and I did something has a few similarities.  I was at a level in my company where I was expected to be in a chief engineer level role with all of the expectations for long hours, volunteering to help on other projects without pay, and being available at all hours.  After reaching 25x of planned expenses, I downshifted to leading a very small R&D team (~8 IIRC) and declined any extra tasks that didn't interest me.  I also used my hundreds of banked PTO hours to take a lot of vacations as well as taking Fridays as either half-days or just skipping work altogether.  I was not able to do anything extreme with that extra time, but I was able to visit family and go on some vacations I would have skipped out on if I were still in the pre-FI mindset.  I worked my planned OMY during that time (actually 10 months) and it was fantastic.  It was by far the most enjoyable year of my career and overall probably the best year of my life to that point.  The role I took had very little stress, and when any came up I didn't have to worry about it because I knew I could leave at any point. 
My partner downshifted about a year before I did.  She formally went to 32 hours a week, and was able to demand a non-leadership role.  She took every Friday off as a mini trial for FIRE.  Some Fridays she tried to get all of the weekend chores finished ahead of time and other times she binge-watched something on TV.  I think trying to find that balance helped her adjust to FIRE.  One nice thing was that she was able to use that position of power to make the decision on her own terms to go back to 40 hours a week for a few months as the team was getting a really important new software release ready.  She cared about her co-workers and the product, and felt good about the extra help she was able to provide. 

More important than anything tangible was the knowledge that they needed us a lot more than we needed them.  We were conservative in our FIRE planning, so when we had 25x of our annual spending saved up there was plenty of fat to cut, plus we ignored both of our pensions and both of our Social Security benefits for added safety.  That OMY was excess on top of excess, so there really was zero stress at that point.  With hindsight I wish I would have downshifted at closer to 15-20x because at that level the 'stache generates enough growth to cross the finish line soon enough.  On the other hand, we both liked our co-workers, liked our managers, and thought we were making a real contribution so the OMY was somewhat meaningful on top of the extra safety margin it provided. 

Malcat

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Re: Leverage FI to enjoy life more
« Reply #6 on: October 01, 2020, 10:44:18 AM »
Work means such different things to different people, so you will get a lot of different perspectives on this.

I retired in March and in under 6 months was working again in a completely different job, full time, because I was given a chance to do the kind of work that I really, really get excited about, like a crazy intense hobby that I could walk away from at any time if I wanted.

Try it and if you don't like it, then do something else.

John Galt incarnate!

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Re: Leverage FI to enjoy life more
« Reply #7 on: October 01, 2020, 05:56:27 PM »

What's right for you may not be right for others and that's ok.  I considered the same thing, but I was burned out and wanted a change.  So far, I am happy that I exited the workplace.  The great thing about FI, is that YOU are in charge. No need to rush into FIRE.  Do what feels right for you.

Good Luck.

Choice is the concomitant of liberty (and FI as well).