Author Topic: For the FIREd- knowing what you know now, what would you have done differently?  (Read 7243 times)

jim555

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For me:
1.  Been more in invested in equities / been less conservative.
2.  Got a job with the government for juicy benefits like pension and retiree health.




G-dog

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I am 56yo, I retired last year at 55 yo (found MMM in early 2014)
- Invested more aggressively (more money and more risk)
- Started a Roth when they first became available
- Started an IRA when they were first available / before we exceeded the income limit
- been frugal more consistently
- used rewards cards / travel hacking
- had better discussions with spouse about finances
- negotiated salary and pay raises or bonuses
- developed side gig / put job when younger
- retired EARLIER!

Monkey Uncle

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For me:
1.  Been more in invested in equities / been less conservative.
2.  Got a job with the government for juicy benefits like pension and retiree health.

If you're talking Uncle Sam, you only get to keep the health insurance if you leave after you hit minimum retirement eligibility (57 yo and at least 10 years of service for most people).

lthenderson

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I wish I had discovered self-investing, i.e. bogleheads earlier on in life. Fortunately, I have always been considered frugal by my peers so I didn't make a lot of mistakes on spending versus saving.

StetsTerhune

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My wife spent more time down this path than I did, but her biggest regret is "wasting time trying to find a career I loved."

As far as she concerned now, all jobs are equally unfulfilling, so you might as well just go with something that makes money and get out as soon as possible.

Dicey

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Not a damn thing. I have enjoyed my life, even the crappy parts. But, boy FIRE is great and so worth working toward, no matter how long it takes.

pbkmaine

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Not a damn thing. I have enjoyed my life, even the crappy parts. But, boy FIRE is great and so worth working toward, no matter how long it takes.

Me too.

deborah

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For me:
2.  Got a job with the government for juicy benefits like pension and retiree health.
I think that you're on the wrong track here. Given your ages, the juicy benefits (unless you are actually a politician) just weren't there, or never existed.

Not a damn thing. I have enjoyed my life, even the crappy parts. But, boy FIRE is great and so worth working toward, no matter how long it takes.

Yes, there are things I would rather had not happened, but if they hadn't, who knows where I would have ended up - certainly not in the fantastic position I am in today!

jim555

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For me:
2.  Got a job with the government for juicy benefits like pension and retiree health.
I think that you're on the wrong track here. Given your ages, the juicy benefits (unless you are actually a politician) just weren't there, or never existed.
State and county jobs have great pensions and other benefits in NY.

arebelspy

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1) Retired sooner.  We worked way too long.

2) Realized how easy it is to make side-gig money.  I heard it, but never believed it until it happened.

3) If we were doing it again, but decided not to work it all up front (but still retired much sooner, as mentioned in #1), we probably would have done semi-FIRE from almost the get-go.

After working a year (or maybe a bit more... 2?  3?), we'd have switched to a semi-ER strategy of "working nine months, taking one to three years off, working nine months, take 1-3 years off" strategy while the stache compounds.  Possibly combined with #2, side-gigs, to make that working a year every five years or so.  I posted some numbers around that strategy here:
http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/welcome-to-the-forum/longterm-travel-has-affected-my-will-to-work/msg978551/#msg978551

It didn't include any side-gig income, which might push those breaks from 1-2 years to 3-5.  Depending on how we felt.

4) Index funds/not market timing.

Basically, regarding 1 & 3: We had much more freedom than we thought.  There was no reason to "wait" for ER.  We ER'd a year earlier than planned, and haven't regretted it yet, and likely could have gone much, much sooner.  Don't OMY people!  It's not worth it!  ;)
I am a former teacher who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and am now settled with three kids.
If you want to know more about me, this Business Insider profile tells the story pretty well.
I (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out the Now page to see what I'm up to currently.

G-dog

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1) Retired sooner.  We worked way too long.[/b

IMAGINE HOW I FEEL!  😜

FYI: a friend still at work turned 65 yo October 2015. STILL cannot get him to retire! He probably has 3X the stash I have (I am guessing, but said this to him and he agreed, though he doesn't know what I have), 2 pensions (one from current employer is small due to short tenure), two retirement med options (former and current employer) and Medicare, social security ....
All I can conclude is that he doesn't want to stop working. He talks a lot about a second retirement home for snowbird type living options. I and anothe friend that retired about 6 months before me (at 63 yo) just cannot understand why he is still hanging on.

Metric Mouse

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Retired sooner. Compound interest is a real thing.

Worked harder/made more a bit earlier.  I always imagined my career would be this long drawn out 20-30 year adventure. It was not, and I did not apply myself as much as I could have during the time I spent working.

Greystache

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I would like to have a do-over on a couple bad investments that I have made, but the single worst decision i made was to hire a financial planner.  That guy was a huge drag on my investment returns.  If I could do it over again I would have educated myself much earlier and handled all of my own investments.

Mr. Green

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I wouldn't have kept so much money on the sidelines, and would have invested more aggressively in my 401ks.

I mistakenly believed in my 20's that there was no way to access 401k money until age 60. I knew we would retire well before then so I never maxed them out until a couple years ago because I didn't want all our money going into vehicles where we couldn't access it.

I also kept a TON of money in cash for no great reason. We had six figures in cash during the big bull run that was 2012, 2013, and 2014.

I know those two combined cost us at least 2 extra years of work, and if I wanted to actually go back and do the math (I don't want to know) I'm willing to bet we could have retired in our 20's. Thank goodness for Mr. Moneymustache!

Lagom

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My wife spent more time down this path than I did, but her biggest regret is "wasting time trying to find a career I loved."

As far as she concerned now, all jobs are equally unfulfilling, so you might as well just go with something that makes money and get out as soon as possible.

Retired sooner. Compound interest is a real thing.

Worked harder/made more a bit earlier.  I always imagined my career would be this long drawn out 20-30 year adventure. It was not, and I did not apply myself as much as I could have during the time I spent working.

I am not FIRE, but totally concur with both of the above. Some people find a career they love, and bless them for it. Others, like me, dislike pretty much every job to some degree, and it's definitely not worth wasting years (and/or additional student debt in my case when I went back to school), hoping that you will find the magic answer to your ennui.

I didn't realize FIRE was a thing when I was in college so I avoided high paying majors because they didn't interest me. If I could do it again, I would have just gone for one of them, and also worked much harder than I did early in my career. Could have FIRE'd at 30 easily and avoided an additional ~15 years of work, not to mention the added stress/dissatisfaction. That is not to say that I'm unhappy now (far from it!), but the blueprint to FIRE 6-7 years out of college is actually pretty straightforward in retrospect.

MasterStache

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Not retired yet but wanted to say I really enjoy these threads. Quite inspiring and gives me a boost of confidence. 

Rubic

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I would achieved financial independence earlier if I had fired my financial adviser
sooner.

DailyGrindFree

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I wish I found out about MMM 10 years ago, not 5-6 months ago. :-)

Cassie

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Nothing really. I obtained all my degrees a little later in life after being a SAHM. Then I got to work in a job I loved for 20 years.  I left when I was ready too. Now I have a great 2nd career teaching an online college course   p.t. which I really love. I had a few jobs when young that I hated so am empathetic to that.  So overall I was able to do what I wanted.

HenryDavid

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Woulda bought that $90k house in my Canadian city 25 years back.
Now the lot is divided and each half is worth One Million Dollars.
Didn't have any dough at the time, however . . . but was overly afraid of debt.

RoseRelish

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As others have said, I would have invested more aggressively during my working years. That's my biggest advice to people that ask. Unless you're 1-2 years from retirement, just go 100% equities.

Gunny

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Can't really say I would do much of anything different as my ability to ER when I did caught me almost by surprise.  I thought I had to work at least six more years.  Having said that, one can never save too much or begin saving too early.

RedwoodDreams

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Maxed 401k from Day 1 at work, and paying more attention to the tax implications (SAVINGS) of doing so, as well as learning about taxes in general. Knowing exactly where all my money is going, whether to various taxes or expenses.

When I graduated and got my first real job, I felt so rich for the first time in my life! I didn't want to save a penny, but enjoy every cent. The idea of retirement (the typical kind, age 65+) seems so remote when you're in your 20s. What I didn't realize was that I could save myself a lot of taxes AND enjoy much of the remains, and that just this simple auto pilot approach would make me wealthy over time.

Luckily, I had a housemate who was a bit older who pointed out the beauty of the employer match on the 401k (free money), so at least I did that. But if someone had talked to me about this and shown me a graph about compound interest, I might have paid more attention.

I'm so impressed with those of you just starting out who are so much more aware and with it!