Author Topic: Motivation for reaching FI in late 40's?  (Read 3001 times)

Rusty_55

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Motivation for reaching FI in late 40's?
« on: July 26, 2020, 10:43:53 AM »
To summarize very quickly:

I started following MMM in 2016, aged 33. Since then have made certain FI inspired changes to our family’s life. Depending on future decisions, FI at around 49 is would be doable – but only doable by choosing not to do certain things (no surprise there then).

The perspective of achieving FI is attractive for me as a busy working father. But there is a certain irony that it would only be achievable for me once I reach an age when our children probably would have left home.

This led me to contemplate the ongoing balancing act that many parents have between careers and parenting. Especially as our children spent a week at their grandparents recently, while I was working – effectively a week with no balancing act, just the job and the evening free to do whatever was needed or I wanted to do. As much as I love our children, removing the balancing act between working and parenting for a few days put things in perspective.

While maintaining “base MMM values”, I don’t seem to be able to motivate myself very much to make the sacrifices necessary to ensure at late 40’s FI. Cutting back on selected things while the children are growing up, to ensure that I can clock out of both a full-time job and parenting before 50 doesn’t entirely make sense for me.

I don’t mean to incite a heated discussion on this subject, this is just a reflection on the realistic goals and potential sacrifices I have considered.

MrThatsDifferent

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Re: Motivation for reaching FI in late 40's?
« Reply #1 on: July 26, 2020, 12:52:42 PM »
Dude, it’s your life. There’s no gun to your head forcing you to FIRE by 49. You haven’t lost if it’s later than that. FIRE when it’s right for you. Everyone is on their own journey with this. You get to make your own rules, as long as you’re true to yourself, your values and respectful and inclusive of those in your immediate family. That’s it. Be empowered now and forge ahead!

moof

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Re: Motivation for reaching FI in late 40's?
« Reply #2 on: July 26, 2020, 01:00:22 PM »
Live frugal, retire when both your mindset and bank account allow.  Save aggressively and don’t focus on a date.  Budget your goals and priorities into your “number”.

My number pencils out at about age 47 when my kid will be 12.  My mind is ready yesterday.  Your situation will certainly be different.
« Last Edit: July 26, 2020, 01:03:27 PM by moof »

cool7hand

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Re: Motivation for reaching FI in late 40's?
« Reply #3 on: July 26, 2020, 01:09:18 PM »
Perhaps you should ask yourself why you wrote this post.

Aunt Petunia

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Re: Motivation for reaching FI in late 40's?
« Reply #4 on: July 26, 2020, 01:54:02 PM »
Can you drop to part time now then go back to full time once the kids are older?

Zikoris

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Re: Motivation for reaching FI in late 40's?
« Reply #5 on: July 26, 2020, 02:10:41 PM »
There's a whooooole lot of false dichotomy going on there. Essentially, you're looking at it as either spend a lot to have a good life and not retire early, or scrimp and sacrifice to retire at 49. That's not how it works, so the first thing you should work on is fixing your thinking, particularly the concept that spending more = better life/more happiness, and spending less = worse life/less happiness. Which is basically the entire concept of MMM.

Honestly, I don't know what your financials look like, but if you even make a moderate income,and follow Mustachian principles, it should be incredibly easy to reach retirement by 49 with basically zero sacrifice. 30, 35, that's one thing, but 49 should be like... incredibly easy and not require stuff like motivation or struggle at all.

4tify

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Re: Motivation for reaching FI in late 40's?
« Reply #6 on: July 26, 2020, 02:29:23 PM »
I found MMM in my early 40s and am now 53 and on the cusp of being able to pull the trigger. But after a lifetime of working I’m finding it difficult to convince myself to pull the rip cord. So that’s something you may want to consider. Whether you retire at 49 or, say 55, won’t make a huge difference IMO. But enjoying the ride to whatever that age is important, so maybe adding a couple years to your plan will help. For most of us this is a marathon, and it’s important to enjoy the ride.

TheFrenchCat

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Re: Motivation for reaching FI in late 40's?
« Reply #7 on: July 26, 2020, 06:32:31 PM »
We're shooting to be FI by the time we're mid to late 40's when our daughter will either be finishing high school or college.  We definitely sacrificed income potential in order to give us and our daughter lives we want to live now.  We live close to family which is great, but that's not a great area economically.  But we've managed to find a decent balance between pay, hours worked and flexibility.  We want to be FI pretty badly, but aren't as set on RE.  So I'll calculate how much certain choices cost in terms of working years as see if that's worth it to us.  I think this helps us get more happiness and satisfaction from our spending, even if we don't always pick the most frugal option.

ender

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Re: Motivation for reaching FI in late 40's?
« Reply #8 on: July 26, 2020, 06:56:53 PM »
Well, there are a few routes that folks here take.

  • Make enough that you can basically have a good lifestyle and still save a lot
  • Change your needs to basically be nothing (hedonistic adaption) and save a lot, even with low income

If your income is very high, you can get away with (1) while living a fairly luxurious life. Cutting some pure luxuries results in a high savings rate and boom, early retirement easymode.

But many posters here fall into the 2nd category too. Honestly, the second category is a lot more what MMM himself was aiming for with most of his blogs.

Rusty_55

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Re: Motivation for reaching FI in late 40's?
« Reply #9 on: July 27, 2020, 07:28:16 AM »
We're shooting to be FI by the time we're mid to late 40's when our daughter will either be finishing high school or college.  We definitely sacrificed income potential in order to give us and our daughter lives we want to live now.  We live close to family which is great, but that's not a great area economically.  But we've managed to find a decent balance between pay, hours worked and flexibility.  We want to be FI pretty badly, but aren't as set on RE.  So I'll calculate how much certain choices cost in terms of working years as see if that's worth it to us.  I think this helps us get more happiness and satisfaction from our spending, even if we don't always pick the most frugal option.

Good perspective, I agree.

ericrugiero

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Re: Motivation for reaching FI in late 40's?
« Reply #10 on: July 27, 2020, 07:48:32 AM »
To summarize very quickly:

I started following MMM in 2016, aged 33. Since then have made certain FI inspired changes to our family’s life. Depending on future decisions, FI at around 49 is would be doable – but only doable by choosing not to do certain things (no surprise there then).

The perspective of achieving FI is attractive for me as a busy working father. But there is a certain irony that it would only be achievable for me once I reach an age when our children probably would have left home.

This led me to contemplate the ongoing balancing act that many parents have between careers and parenting. Especially as our children spent a week at their grandparents recently, while I was working – effectively a week with no balancing act, just the job and the evening free to do whatever was needed or I wanted to do. As much as I love our children, removing the balancing act between working and parenting for a few days put things in perspective.

While maintaining “base MMM values”, I don’t seem to be able to motivate myself very much to make the sacrifices necessary to ensure at late 40’s FI. Cutting back on selected things while the children are growing up, to ensure that I can clock out of both a full-time job and parenting before 50 doesn’t entirely make sense for me.

I don’t mean to incite a heated discussion on this subject, this is just a reflection on the realistic goals and potential sacrifices I have considered.

I have some of the same concerns.  MY FI date looks like it will be roughly when my kids are late high school or college.  My biggest motivation for FIRE would be to spend time with family so that doesn't work out ideally.  I could do some extra side gigs to speed up FIRE but that would limit time with family now which doesn't make a ton of sense. 

So far, I'm trying to find the right balance of work/life for now while still saving for the future.  As Zikoris pointed out, we don't have to make a ton of money to reach FIRE.  Optimizing spending has a bigger impact.  I'm trying to work on that area but my wife and I aren't totally on the same page there which makes it a challenge.  At this point, I'm making great progress by most people's standards but slow by MMM standards.  Being a good husband and father means I'm taking longer to reach FI than I would on my own.  It's all about balance and each of us get to choose our own priorities.   

Rosy

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Re: Motivation for reaching FI in late 40's?
« Reply #11 on: July 27, 2020, 07:59:38 AM »
Exactly ^^^

Flexibility is key because all our circumstances differ and when we realize that our goal is out of sync with how we really want to live our lives -
change the plan!
That means adjusting your plans as you go to suit both your future goals and being content in a balanced life now.
Consider this your AHA moment and adjust your plans accordingly.

None of us know what the future will bring.
You might think that you are adding say five years to your plan and find a few years down the road that due to circumstances you will actually hit your original target date after all.
C'est la vie - roll with it.

Oh and on the kid thing - don't assume anything,
you might find that they need your support and input more during later high school years and after college than you expected.

PDXTabs

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Re: Motivation for reaching FI in late 40's?
« Reply #12 on: July 27, 2020, 09:20:24 AM »
There's a whooooole lot of false dichotomy going on there. Essentially, you're looking at it as either spend a lot to have a good life and not retire early, or scrimp and sacrifice to retire at 49. That's not how it works, so the first thing you should work on is fixing your thinking, particularly the concept that spending more = better life/more happiness, and spending less = worse life/less happiness.

I read the post as working more vs spending more time with kids, which is not a false dichotomy. There are only 24 hours in the day.

never give up

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Re: Motivation for reaching FI in late 40's?
« Reply #13 on: July 27, 2020, 09:36:44 AM »
I think some of the key motivations for FI are true regardless of age or family status:

  • Security
  • To provide flexibility and options
  • Health & wellbeing
  • To beat automation or outsourcing (depending on your role)
  • Someone may not be healthy enough to work beyond a certain age, so achieving it sooner rather than later is beneficial

I assume your life isn't going to stop once your children move out so becoming FI would surely be a good thing?

So this is more a question of:

1.  Ensuring your work/life balance now is aligned to how you want to spend your time and understanding the tradeoffs involved.
2.  Ensuring you have something to retire to. It would be a fairly major change to become FI, stop work and wave cheerio to the kids all at the same time.

It's not a race so by all means take longer to achieve FI if you can spend more time with your kids now, but I would say there is a lot of motivation for FI regardless of your children's situation or the age you would be at that point of your life.

damyst

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Re: Motivation for reaching FI in late 40's?
« Reply #14 on: July 29, 2020, 01:14:15 AM »
12 years of your life is far too long to be hanging on waiting to achieve a goal that, by your description, you're not even sure that you're interested in.

There is no downside to managing your family finances well, so keep doing that, but I think you should also define shorter term goals that would have a meaningful impact on your lifestyle. Look into switching to a part time position, or taking sabbaticals or mini-retirements, etc.

LWYRUP

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Re: Motivation for reaching FI in late 40's?
« Reply #15 on: July 29, 2020, 04:01:14 AM »
Being a parent of three has definitely impacted my goals. 

It would be difficult to go drop it all and windsurf in Croatia anyways, money aside, and so trying to live an enjoyable, balanced life now is more important.  This does have an impact on the path to FIRE.  I'm ok taking the slow road. 

It's really important for me to continue making progress because I like the feeling of flexibility, security, options, etc. from having savings.  I'm also pretty certain I will hang up full time employment before 65 even if I'm not sure exactly when. 

Laura33

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Re: Motivation for reaching FI in late 40's?
« Reply #16 on: July 29, 2020, 06:43:11 AM »
A few disjointed thoughts:

1.  FI is different than RE.  FI in and of itself has tremendous value, because it enables you to flip the bird at any job or situation you don't like for any reason.  It is in your long-term best interest to figure out a minimal-FI number -- the "I can quit without losing the house" number -- and prioritize that.  Regardless of when (or if) you want to RE.

2.  Your needs/goals/capabilities will change over the next 10-15 years.  Again:  it's always better to find yourself at your planned FIRE date and realize that you don't want to quit than it is to want to quit and realize you still have years to go before your planned FIRE date.

3.  Pay attention to @Zikoris' post, regardless of whether you agree with it.  Much of our spending is based on how we define having a "good" life and giving our kids a "good" childhood.  The more you can challenge your thinking on that score, the more you can lower your base expenses and free up savings -- or, at a minimum, have confidence that the things you are spending on really do add value to your life.

4.  There is not one path to FIRE.  Many people choose to go part-time when their kids are young and live a more bare-bones budget because they prioritize having the time with their kids.  Other people don't.  You get to choose how hard you work and for how long.

5.  You also get to choose how busy your life is.  If you are working long hours to earn the money you need to pay for private school and lessons of every type and travel sports, and then are constantly exhausted because you're spending your life chauffeuring your kids around to everything, that's on you.  Kids don't actually need any of that stuff.  So if you are choosing a lifestyle that feels overwhelming, change it. 

5.a.  Corollary to the above:  when you have multiple small kids, everything is some version of suck, because they truly need a tremendous amount of time and attention.  In most cases, it does get easier as they get older -- at least, if you don't fill every waking hour with activities -- which in turn makes the juggle feel more attainable.

6.  If you're actively thinking about FIRE vs. lifestyle, you're ahead of 98% of the population, so congratulations.

401Killer

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Re: Motivation for reaching FI in late 40's?
« Reply #17 on: July 29, 2020, 09:14:58 AM »
There's a whooooole lot of false dichotomy going on there. Essentially, you're looking at it as either spend a lot to have a good life and not retire early, or scrimp and sacrifice to retire at 49. That's not how it works, so the first thing you should work on is fixing your thinking, particularly the concept that spending more = better life/more happiness, and spending less = worse life/less happiness. Which is basically the entire concept of MMM.

Honestly, I don't know what your financials look like, but if you even make a moderate income,and follow Mustachian principles, it should be incredibly easy to reach retirement by 49 with basically zero sacrifice. 30, 35, that's one thing, but 49 should be like... incredibly easy and not require stuff like motivation or struggle at all.

+1

merlin7676

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Re: Motivation for reaching FI in late 40's?
« Reply #18 on: July 29, 2020, 02:17:53 PM »
I only started to get serious about my finances and start to really save for retirement at 40. I'm 44 now.  In four years I've paid off all my debt including car and CCs totaling around $28K. Additionally my investments like 401K and index funds have gone from $45K to $211K.
And no I don't make the kind of money a lot of people here seem to make although I probably make more than the average person.
My projections say that I will be ready for fire at 55 which is the age I'm shooting for.

Is it ideal? no. Do I wish I had learned this earlier so I could  havealready been retire now? yes.

Yes I sacrifice by not getting everything I want, not going on as much vacations as I'd like, not having the nicest "fill in the blank".  But I do not feel deprived or that I'm truly sacrificing what's important to me.  I spend lots of time with my DH and our dog, we garden a lot and do home projects, I run and bike a lot, crochet, read, enjoy being outdoors. 

Only you can decide what is important to you and what your priorities are and how you want to spend your money. 

Dicey

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Re: Motivation for reaching FI in late 40's?
« Reply #19 on: July 29, 2020, 02:27:47 PM »
Now that I'm in my sixties (gah!), I know lots of people who were pushed out of their jobs in their mid-fifties, especially white males. Some were prepared and are enjoying their newfound freedom. Others were blindsided and still have kids in upper grade school. For them, it's been heartbreaking.

Financial Independence = FREEDOM! That's the important part. Enjoy what you do? Suit yourself and RE whenever you want, or just R eventually. Or not. The peace of mind is priceless, whatever you decide.

P.S. I didn't RE until I was 54. OMG, it has been wonderful!

slappy

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Re: Motivation for reaching FI in late 40's?
« Reply #20 on: July 29, 2020, 03:31:25 PM »
Now that I'm in my sixties (gah!), I know lots of people who were pushed out of their jobs in their mid-fifties, especially white males. Some were prepared and are enjoying their newfound freedom. Others were blindsided and still have kids in upper grade school. For them, it's been heartbreaking.

Financial Independence = FREEDOM! That's the important part. Enjoy what you do? Suit yourself and RE whenever you want, or just R eventually. Or not. The peace of mind is priceless, whatever you decide.

P.S. I didn't RE until I was 54. OMG, it has been wonderful!

Yeah, this is what I always think of when I hear people discount FIRE because of the RE part. "I love my job" "I could never sit around do nothing", etc, etc. Sometimes you don't get to make that decision. You might love your job now,but someday you might not. Or it might decide it doesn't love you and you get laid off. Or you get some sort of disability and can't work. Or someone you love gets sick and you want to care for them. Whatever the situation, being FI or even on the path to FI is much better than nothing.

I have three young kids so I know that struggle. We have accommodated by increasing the budget slightly to accommodate more "life"while still keeping it reasonable enough that we can meet FI in ten years. Maybe I'll RE then, maybe not. All three kids will be teenagers at that time. I can't even imagine what that will look like.

Malcat

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Re: Motivation for reaching FI in late 40's?
« Reply #21 on: July 29, 2020, 03:57:28 PM »
Personally, I believe that if you aren't happy with whatever you are doing, then what you are doing is probably the wrong thing.
What this also means is that if you are striving for a goal isn't working for you in the present, then maybe revisit that goal?

I'm all about freedom, but I have zero interest in slaving for FIRE, I'm too old and tired for that shit.

There's no club to get kicked out of if you don't push as hard as possible to retire as early as possible. It's not a rule, so don't stress about it. Look at your priorities carefully, and determine what the best steps are for you, and your family, based on whatever needs you have to meet, wants you've decided are worth meeting, and resources you have available, including time and energy.

I just left my extremely lucrative career in my late 30s, nowhere near FI, because I need a damn break. That's my priority. DH and I looked at everything carefully, moved the puzzle pieces to fit, and I just quit and turned off the cash hose and the sky didn't fall and I didn't get banned from the forum.

You've gotta do what's right for you. The hard part is figuring that out.

LWYRUP

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Re: Motivation for reaching FI in late 40's?
« Reply #22 on: July 29, 2020, 03:57:51 PM »
Now that I'm in my sixties (gah!), I know lots of people who were pushed out of their jobs in their mid-fifties, especially white males. Some were prepared and are enjoying their newfound freedom. Others were blindsided and still have kids in upper grade school. For them, it's been heartbreaking.

Financial Independence = FREEDOM! That's the important part. Enjoy what you do? Suit yourself and RE whenever you want, or just R eventually. Or not. The peace of mind is priceless, whatever you decide.

P.S. I didn't RE until I was 54. OMG, it has been wonderful!

Yeah, this is what I always think of when I hear people discount FIRE because of the RE part. "I love my job" "I could never sit around do nothing", etc, etc. Sometimes you don't get to make that decision. You might love your job now,but someday you might not. Or it might decide it doesn't love you and you get laid off. Or you get some sort of disability and can't work. Or someone you love gets sick and you want to care for them. Whatever the situation, being FI or even on the path to FI is much better than nothing.

I have three young kids so I know that struggle. We have accommodated by increasing the budget slightly to accommodate more "life"while still keeping it reasonable enough that we can meet FI in ten years. Maybe I'll RE then, maybe not. All three kids will be teenagers at that time. I can't even imagine what that will look like.

My dad worked in startups and it worked great for him but not for everyone -- most of the startups in our non silicon valley area failed and many were out of jobs in their 50s.  I think if you can, it's best to structure your life so that work is optional after 55.  If you keep your job and want to work more to buy a boat, then great.  But I am not banking on making money after 55 just in case. 

Other people need to dial back because of health issues.  That's especially sad, because in some cases those health conditions were caused by long hours at stressful jobs and commutes and suboptimal choices based in part on trying to cope with those factors.
« Last Edit: July 29, 2020, 03:59:51 PM by LWYRUP »

mm1970

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Re: Motivation for reaching FI in late 40's?
« Reply #23 on: July 29, 2020, 05:23:28 PM »
Now that I'm in my sixties (gah!), I know lots of people who were pushed out of their jobs in their mid-fifties, especially white males. Some were prepared and are enjoying their newfound freedom. Others were blindsided and still have kids in upper grade school. For them, it's been heartbreaking.

Financial Independence = FREEDOM! That's the important part. Enjoy what you do? Suit yourself and RE whenever you want, or just R eventually. Or not. The peace of mind is priceless, whatever you decide.

P.S. I didn't RE until I was 54. OMG, it has been wonderful!
I came here to say this.  I work with a lot of folks over 50 (shoot, I'm 50!) and over 60 but...

It gets harder to stay fully employed after 45 or 50.  Really awesome people stay employed, usually, but maybe not at their normal salary.  So so people move around a lot more and spend more time unemployed.  And it sneaks up on you.

Milizard

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Re: Motivation for reaching FI in late 40's?
« Reply #24 on: July 29, 2020, 05:34:39 PM »
I'm in my late 40's, and recently volunteered to go in the office a half day a week to get out of the house and get a break from too much family togetherness.  I quit an okay full-time job (that I had grown to despise) 7 years ago when I had a baby, toddler, and elderly mother to care for.  Took a 6 year break paid work, and had a hard time jumping back in. I'm finally setting in to my part time job.  My DH has worked full-time throughout, except for 2 months between gigs early on.  The stash has been a comfort through all of this. Had I kept that original job, we'd probably be much closer to FI, but are at lean fire according to some folks standards.  After not being paid for all the work I put in caring for my mother, I'm pretty happy about being paid for my job now.  My husband and I are looking at spending more on things now. It doesn't make any sense spending on things that don't contribute to your happiness, but neither does it make sense not to spend some of your ample funds on what really does make you happy.  Those years of self-imposed austerity we're not happy, and that's coming from someone who is naturally frugal.

So, what I'm trying to say is, you do you. It really isn't a race.  I wish part-time jobs were more respected in this country, but came with benefits. That way people who could cut back on hours for the sake of family time, could more easily do so.  We should be ready to really FIRE within 10 years, but the damn health insurance wildcard is what gives me pause.

PDXTabs

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Re: Motivation for reaching FI in late 40's?
« Reply #25 on: July 29, 2020, 07:28:19 PM »
It gets harder to stay fully employed after 45 or 50.  Really awesome people stay employed, usually, but maybe not at their normal salary.  So so people move around a lot more and spend more time unemployed.  And it sneaks up on you.

Yup, I'm in software and even at 40 I've seen people have problems. Age Discrimination across the Business Cycle by Dahl and Knepper was just released this month. You have to pay to get the paper but there is a MarketWatch summary here.

MissPeach

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Re: Motivation for reaching FI in late 40's?
« Reply #26 on: July 30, 2020, 07:46:58 AM »
I'm in a similar situation to you.

I also found the FIRE message after finding a minimalism message which also resonated with me. The ideas are similar in that you figure out what's adding to your life and try to remove the excess. I don't even miss nor could I tell you why I used to live paycheck to paycheck and what I bought with that money. But now I don't have to stress over financial things and really have a very similar life in terms of materialistic things.

As I have bought more and more of my freedom it's also helped with stress and other things in my life. The boss can't hold things over me because I have plenty of money to move on if I want to another job. I don't have any creditors. Etc. I'm doing this so I can do what I want with my time earlier - the 9-5 I don't have much of a say over now. Yes, I wish I found it earlier so I could have spent that time with the kiddo but it doesn't mean to me it's not worth having that time be mine sooner than later.

If you haven't read it, I recommend checking out the book 'Your Money or Your Life'. It's a great argument about trading money and time and might give you something to think about.

mm1970

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Re: Motivation for reaching FI in late 40's?
« Reply #27 on: July 30, 2020, 11:33:21 AM »
It gets harder to stay fully employed after 45 or 50.  Really awesome people stay employed, usually, but maybe not at their normal salary.  So so people move around a lot more and spend more time unemployed.  And it sneaks up on you.

Yup, I'm in software and even at 40 I've seen people have problems. Age Discrimination across the Business Cycle by Dahl and Knepper was just released this month. You have to pay to get the paper but there is a MarketWatch summary here.
That was interesting.  I've slowly been coming to terms with my shitty paycheck, under the guise of
- #1 at least I have flexibility (I have kids, the younger is 8, and school will be remote!)
- #2 "the best job security is getting paid a bit less than you are worth"
- #3 I'm 50.  So.  While age discrimination isn't an issue at my company (we have at least 12 employees over 60, some over 70)...if we ever go under and I start job hunting, I will likely have issues.  Being employed is really just more important right now. 

(TBH, I've thought about quitting many times.  I like working, not necessarily my particular job right now.  I don't have to work.  While we aren't FI in Coastal So Cal, we'd be FI almost anywhere else.)

totoro

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Re: Motivation for reaching FI in late 40's?
« Reply #28 on: July 30, 2020, 11:45:20 AM »
I'm able to spend a lot of time with my adult kids because I'm FI. 

Loved doing this during high school too. Sure, they "need" you less and spend more time with peers, but we've had some great vacations together that matched with their school/uni schedules.  It has been a blessing to have the time to spend making family dinners and events and to support them with anything I can, including things like trips to check out universities and joint creative projects. 

However, I wouldn't sacrifice time with them when they are younger for this.  I'd look for a way to make both happen.  I did this by moving to working from home.  Maybe there is a middle ground for you?

Taran Wanderer

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Re: Motivation for reaching FI in late 40's?
« Reply #29 on: August 01, 2020, 08:48:35 PM »
I just left my extremely lucrative career in my late 30s, nowhere near FI, because I need a damn break. That's my priority. DH and I looked at everything carefully, moved the puzzle pieces to fit, and I just quit and turned off the cash hose and the sky didn't fall and I didn't get banned from the forum.

You've gotta do what's right for you. The hard part is figuring that out.

@Malcat     I'm curious about how you decided to take a break.  Was 1) it a snap decision, 2) something you built up to and then decided easily in the end, or 3) something that took a while to get to and then you still had trouble making the decision when the time came?  I could definitely use a break, and in some ways with the pandemic, I'm getting it now by working from home while still doing my regular job and getting paid the same.  So, I've been on the path for #3, but I've sort of been let off the hook, for now, about making any big decisions.

In reply to the OP, you only get one life.  I have to keep reminding myself that the future is not guaranteed, so being miserable for years in pursuit of FIRE is probably not a good choice unless it's very few years of misery for very many possible decades of retirement.  I was nearly FI when I found MMM, and within a couple of years, we could have lean FIREd; now we are close to fat FIRE.  Work has been a struggle over that time period, and the more we have in our stache, the less motivation I have.  However, the job has always paid well due to my background and function, but over the last couple of years, the pay has increased, our assets have increased along with our returns (little green men are working hard), we have reduced both debt and the interest rate we pay on what's left, and we find ourselves today in what feels like a very, very fortunate position.  We're continuing to ride the wave as we approach our late 40's.

Whether or not you choose to aim for FIRE in your late 40's, aim to FI so that you have an army of little green men doing their compounding thing and giving you the freedom and peace of mind to absorb the things that life may throw at you.  The previous replies cover many of the reasons why.  It's a gift you can give your future self, and your future self will be happy you did.  Just remember to also experience the joy of the journey between now and then.
« Last Edit: August 01, 2020, 08:51:14 PM by Taran Wanderer »

Malcat

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Re: Motivation for reaching FI in late 40's?
« Reply #30 on: August 01, 2020, 09:18:13 PM »
Lol, the word "need" in my statement was literal, quitting wasn't really a choice. My body made the decision for me.
I knew it was coming for a few years, but it came a lot faster and a lot nastier than I ever expected.

The break part is that I'm not rushing to jump back into work.  I'm quite fortunate to have a lot of options, so I'm taking my time to decide what moves to make next.

My quitting just coincided with Covid by chance, so it's been a good time to take a break.

chrisgermany

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Re: Motivation for reaching FI in late 40's?
« Reply #31 on: August 02, 2020, 01:48:50 AM »
I started because I wanted to be able to leave paid employment on my own timeline.
When DH retired early (age 61)for health issues I knew it was time for me, too (age 55).
It is nice to be able to decide.
7 years later now, no regrets.
« Last Edit: August 02, 2020, 03:14:41 AM by chrisgermany »

Michael in ABQ

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Re: Motivation for reaching FI in late 40's?
« Reply #32 on: August 02, 2020, 03:53:03 AM »
To summarize very quickly:

I started following MMM in 2016, aged 33. Since then have made certain FI inspired changes to our family’s life. Depending on future decisions, FI at around 49 is would be doable – but only doable by choosing not to do certain things (no surprise there then).

The perspective of achieving FI is attractive for me as a busy working father. But there is a certain irony that it would only be achievable for me once I reach an age when our children probably would have left home.

This led me to contemplate the ongoing balancing act that many parents have between careers and parenting. Especially as our children spent a week at their grandparents recently, while I was working – effectively a week with no balancing act, just the job and the evening free to do whatever was needed or I wanted to do. As much as I love our children, removing the balancing act between working and parenting for a few days put things in perspective.

While maintaining “base MMM values”, I don’t seem to be able to motivate myself very much to make the sacrifices necessary to ensure at late 40’s FI. Cutting back on selected things while the children are growing up, to ensure that I can clock out of both a full-time job and parenting before 50 doesn’t entirely make sense for me.

I don’t mean to incite a heated discussion on this subject, this is just a reflection on the realistic goals and potential sacrifices I have considered.

Similar situation here, my wife and I are in our mid 30s and barring some large jump in income, FIRE is probably 10-15 years at a minimum. We have a big family (6 kids) and a relatively young one at that (almost 2 to 12). Ultimately our main goal for FIRE would be to spend more time at home with the kids and doing things as a family. That's just not in the cards in the next few years with our net worth only recently breaking the $100k mark.

A couple of years ago I left a company I'd worked for for almost 10 years. The job paid well enough but it was stressful and was definitely taking a toll. Far too many nights and weekends working from home to meet deadlines or being the only one in the office on holidays since I worked 100% commission and holidays didn't really exist for me. I found a new job that not only paid more, but with fewer hours, better benefits (including paid holidays and other PTO), and less stress. I had been stuck in a rut for several years thinking about leaving the company and career I'd spent so long working on (professional licensing and education took years and easily $10k for that job). But it was definitely the right decision and I wish I'd done it earlier.


Going forward our plan has shifted. My wife has been a stay at home mom since our first child was born shortly after we finished college. That's been very important to us and we knew long ago that living off a single income with a large family mean that we'd watch our friends from college travel the world, buy a house, buys cars, etc. while we didn't. She's now looking into going back to school part time to get a nursing degree - which was her original plan years ago but she ended up switching majors. In order to be able to do that and potentially have her start working in several years when the youngest is in school, I am planning to build or buy a business. I've got an online side business that makes a couple thousand in profit per year and I'm trying to scale that up. At the same time, I'm actively looking to buy a business that I can run from home (in less than 40 hours per week) while still paying myself at least what I make now, preferably more. That will also provide us the flexibility for my wife to finish up a nursing program and work a few days a week.

There's some risk in this plan of course. Borrowing $500k to buy a business generating $150k in profit is not a sure bet. However, it is a way to break out of the slow steady grind of continuing to work a 9-5 job and invest 5, 10, $15k per year and wait until it grows to our FIRE number of a million or so. If I double the size of that business over say 5 years and sell it for a million, I could walk away with $500k or so - plus the salary I was paying myself for the last five years. At that point I could either buy another business - potentially with all cash this time, or we could switch to working part time or do something else.


For us the big realization was that this our life and we can do whatever the hell we want with it.

If my wife wants to go back to school and become a nurse when she's 40 and we still have kids at home, we can do that. If I want to buy and grow a business, we can do that too. Or, if we want to plod along slowly building up our stash while living a pretty standard middle-class American lifestyle (albeit without wasting money on too much consumerism crap and saving/investing far more than most) we can do that. We probably can't go startup a tech company and become multi-millionaires or become famous athletes. But we can choose to do a lot of different things as long as we're both in it together and we think it's best for our family in the long run.

Much Fishing to Do

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Re: Motivation for reaching FI in late 40's?
« Reply #33 on: August 02, 2020, 06:53:52 AM »
There's a whooooole lot of false dichotomy going on there. Essentially, you're looking at it as either spend a lot to have a good life and not retire early, or scrimp and sacrifice to retire at 49. That's not how it works, so the first thing you should work on is fixing your thinking, particularly the concept that spending more = better life/more happiness, and spending less = worse life/less happiness. Which is basically the entire concept of MMM.

This is somewhat the basis behind my journey.  There were things I thought important enough to spend on and therefore delay retirement the number of months that would result, and then many things that most people would look at and say "we can afford it at our income & wealth" (which is the money sucking yardstick I think most use, and that yardstick I think is at its best based on spending less than 90% of your income every month) that I didn't see as worth much and definitely not the months it would add to FI.  It was being conscious about spending.  Kids do make a big difference (we have 3) and my wife became a SAHM very early on, which she desperately wanted to do, and I think it was definitely worth the opportunity costs. (It may not have been me at home, but they did have a full time parent).

Long before becoming FI did the money in the bank pay off.  It allowed me to start a business with cash and without fear that I was able to do from home in the town we wanted to (prior to that it gave me the guts to stand firm and even take a pay cut for the ability to work the job from home).  This business had a few great years which allowed me to fill 529s to keep the kids out of debt and overshoot my FI target.

So not worrying about the FIRE date and just spending on things that I thought actually improved our lives led me to FI at about 46.  The oldest was heading off to college in a year, but the youngest was only 9, though really working from home the years before gave me a lot of time with them anyway.  And then the opportunity arose to reduce my hours so much I only work from home when they are in school anyway, and also gave me the time to do most of the things I wanted to on my own, so the great desire to RE became just a tiny one.

I'm sure there was waste in my spending, but to have made the financial choices to have hit FI say ten years earlier would have required cuts I wasn't willing to do, but the cuts I did to be FI at 46 I doubt took away from any of our happiness, and just spending on what we could "afford" would have pushed that to age 60, which seems like a huge stressful difficult difference. And in the end I still haven't RE'd b/c the path I took (much of which allowed b/c of money in the bank) has made things pretty darn good and allowed for a lot of balance.

MadBikePoet

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Re: Motivation for reaching FI in late 40's?
« Reply #34 on: August 02, 2020, 12:02:48 PM »
@Rusty_55

How Awesome! You get to choose your balance between spending time with the kids AND pursuing FI. Yes, it will take some work on your part to determine what that balance is. Also, consider that balance is not just a stationary level board. Balance is dynamic. It is a pendulum that swings one way and then another. Allow for that. Embrace it.

The inner work you must do to be happy with that balance is to become crystal clear on your values. You value both of these things. That is normal. Drill into why you value these things. For example, you value spending time with your kids. Ask yourself why? Really get after the feelings you are after by doing this. Do the same for pursuing FI. This exercise will bring you clarity on how you want to spend your time and energy and ultimately money.

Whenever you begin to feel unsatisfied with the balance, repeat this exercise. I can tell that you are an introspective person, and so I know you will have success with this!