Author Topic: Random perspective from a MMM vet and why going for FIRE *EARLY* is critical  (Read 7299 times)

TheAnonOne

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Little backstory on me,

I started reading MMM around 2013-2014 and I was only a few years into my career at the young age of 23(ish). I had a great income for the time but had a genuine interest in "getting rich", pretty typical for that age I think.

I started to really read and understand what money could do for me, or rather what it SHOULD do for me. I was fortunate to be in tech, and by that time I was already closing down my "debt" era by myself without outside influences, it just seemed like annoying baggage.

Come 2015 I got active into the forum, posting quite a bit, the forum had an "edge" to it back then that it somewhat lacks now, and I responded well to that. Getting face-punched for buying coffee is quite the motivator, even if it was self imposed.

So I saved money, life was good, we traveled on the cheap(ish) and any time I wasn't frugal my outsized income to my peers saved me. I was "lucky" or "smart" in that regard.

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Come 2020, my DW and I started to become less frugal, I was turning 30, we wanted a bigger house, faster cars, more travel, and all at the expense of our FIRE timeline. No longer could I FIRE at 35, but now it's going to be 38-39, the HORROR. Simply by NOT doing this for 6-9 years changed my entire life.

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So what's the point of this post besides the random ramblings of a madman? Along the 'journey' I've seen so much that reinforced my choice to pursue FIRE that it's almost depressing at times. So I am just going to list some, hopefully others have input, and if not, let this thread die an early death!

1. I browse reddit occasionally and see heartbreaking stories of layoffs, how are you going to keep the house? Pay the rent? It might seem heartless but, I can't help but put myself in their shoes and ask why they didn't get their financial house in order FIRST. Life is challenging and has a pile of avenues but the choices people make financially CONSTANTLY make me so un-surprised when "emergency" strikes them.

2. The options I have NOW in my 30s because I "got rich in my 20s" put me in a new league of person, financially at least, which directly effects who I am and what I can do. I don't have to stress about a single thing the average person does. Was it my income? Luck? Planning? Consciously picking a good career? It was some mixture of that, but ultimately focus on FIRE put me here. https://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2015/09/29/if-youre-not-getting-rich-in-your-20s-youre-doing-it-wrong/

3. The general online doomer mentality of working until you die. This isn't a specific story but I don't know how people live with the unknown and do NOTHING about it. FIRE is an active goal, but just HAVING THE GOAL is so refreshing that it's a mystery why most don't. When I read comment threads its downright depressing, and sometimes you'll gleam enough to learn that these are people who have good incomes but will still end up "meh"

4. The control and frankly power over my life I have now is very freeing, in a way, I am not "rich" but rather "nearly free" and it's hard to not see the average people, who seem to be doing nothing to better themselves (true or not) as cogs in the machine. This might be "main character syndrome" or whatever new term for it is, but the reality is, going for FIRE legitimately puts you in a position of power over your life.


I think this thread is somewhat aimless, but it's a topic I've been mulling over for a while and it's really hard to nail down these thoughts into a singular thought. What motivates you to go down this path? Why? What benefits does it give you? Going for FIRE EARLY to me was borderline the ONLY way to reach freedom, I had the energy, income and knowledge to go for it. The truth is, folks who skip that "step" are likely screwed, for life. While I am not FIRE yet, just being on the path gives me a whole perspective on life that most will never see, it keeps life with a spice of hope and optimism for the future. . . something lacking from 90% of my generation and younger.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2024, 01:23:16 PM by TheAnonOne »

spartana

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I'll play! FIREd shortly before the Great Recession and saw my total NW (house and investments) drop by close to 50% literally over night. Saw everyone I know and everyone in my hood first lose their job, then their investments, then their homes. Most were severely underwater because they had bought at the height of the market or had been tapping the huge growth in home equity that happened before the market collapse (30% a year in SoCal)  to buy all the shiny stuff and do all the fun things. They assumed their high paying jobs would always be there and they could just leverage everything because they could buy it on credit and pay it off via their forever- increasing home equity or their always-be-there high paying jobs.

For most the end result lasted years and many never did fully recover - especially those over 40 who had to start fresh - and there were few jobs available to nearly everyone.  So it was pretty devastating to many.

For me...meh. I had set myself up first by living lean to pay off my house and save and reach FI (and I was RE). I had some cash in laddered CDs and bonds so didn't need to tap my dwindled investments (took years for things to rebound). No debt, low expenses and the ability to live lean (happlily) for a few years made the difference. If I had been doing like my peers and tapping my home equity - which doubled in a few short years - or buying expensive things on credit and believing my job would always be there I'd have been in a whole lotta hurt instead of enjoying my leaner-than-planned FIRE life for a bit. Was even able to buy a bunch of super cheap stock ( no Leman Bros fortunately  haha) and pick up a cheap foreclosed  house who's value dropped more than 50%.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2024, 02:37:14 PM by spartana »

Telecaster

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Those are all great points.  When I started down the path to FIRE, I didn't actually know that's what I was doing.    It didn't occur to me to retire early at all.   I thought that was something you did because you were in poor health, lazy, or bad at your job or something.   Also, the beginning of my career was really exciting and fun so I just sort of assumed that would be the case forever.   

But I always felt a strong need to have some sort of financial cushion and had a built-in base level of frugality.  I never did MMM-style frugality, but lived below my means, and tried to make good financial decisions and so on.   Although FIRE wasn't in my sights,  this means I have never been stressed about money my entire adult life.   When I look around I see a lot of people who are stressed about money, and it causes real mental anguish.

Then when my career became no longer fun and exciting, I realized that soon enough I wouldn't actually need a job at all which was a fun and exciting thought all by itself.   Knowing I was on the path was very comforting to me.   

Morgen Housel opines that it is okay to spend money in your 20's and do all the fun things that only people in their 20's get to do, and then knuckle down with the savings when you are old and boring.   There is some logic to that, but there is enormous value to going through your adult life with little or no financial stress, even if something bad or unexpected happens. 

Ron Scott

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Getting face-punched for buying coffee is quite the motivator, even if it was self imposed.

I am big on FI and agnostic on RE; just a personal thing. Others can agree or not.

But I do think itís important that people respect the approaches others take when they are being thoughtful about their lives.

So if someone gives you a facepunch for drinking coffee, I recommend giving them a ballkick for being an asshole. My 2 cents.




RedmondStash

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My 2 cents (3 with inflation): I believe that getting to FIRE was massively important for not just my mental health but my physical health. I'd always been relatively frugal -- no debt beyond mortgage, saving up for things instead of buying them on credit, buying cheap or used where possible -- and extremely lucky in finding lucrative work. So by the time I discovered FIRE, I was already halfway there.

For me the biggest key to freedom was learning a simple approach to investment that I could do myself, and then firing my financial planner. That was terrifying at first, but I've been steering my own financial ship for 8 years now -- gainfully unemployed (FIREd) for 5 -- and I want to shout everything I've learned from the rooftops, because everyone should understand this stuff. I feel like I have a superpower, and I want to be the radioactive spider that bites everyone. :D

Having FU money was a game-changer for my last few years at work. And because of some worsening health issues, it became clear to me that my days of being able to work were numbered. I genuinely do not know what I would have done if I hadn't been able to crawl the last few miles to FIRE.

Sometimes I think back and wonder how my life could have been different if I'd learned FIRE principles a couple of decades sooner. I knew about saving, but investments were an opaque and perilous mystery that I felt ill-equipped to tackle. I didn't realize how simple it could be, nor how many types of investments I could safely ignore. Ah, well. You can't change the past. But I'm glad at least I started diving into this stuff when I did.

I've tried to spread the good word to my friends, and some have been interested, but it's clear most just aren't there, for whatever reason. That used to bother me, but at this point, I recognize that we're all doing our best, and if someone doesn't pick up the FIRE ideas, there are powerful reasons why. Now I know how religious evangelists feel.

clarkfan1979

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I found MMM in January 2014 and started contributing to the forums in February 2014. I was living in Florida with my wife with no kids and I had my first job as a professor, about 2.5 years out of grad school. We were not reckless with our spending, but we were very normal and were not efficient.

I pitched the idea to my wife to aggressively save/invest/pay off debt to then have more options in the near future. Over the next 15 months. we increased our 401K contributions from 5% to 20%, we paid off more debt and our checking account grew from 5K to 30K. My wife transitioned from full-time work to part-time working in May 2015. In July 2015, I applied for and accepted a job in Hawaii. If we didn't aggressively save/invest/pay off debt over those 15 months, Hawaii would not have been a realistic option for us.

We lived in Hawaii for 4 years and bought a house there. After two years with a child in Hawaii, we decided the public schools were not a good option for our son. I applied for jobs back on the mainland and landed a job in Colorado, which was our #1 choice. For me personally, So Cal was #1, but as a family unit, Colorado was #1.

Colorado is #47 in funding for higher education. Community college professors make 25% less than the national average and the cost of living in Colorado is 25% higher than the national average. If you are analyzing income to cost of living, Colorado is the worst state financially to be a community college professor. However, I accepted the job with a smile because we could afford to take the pay cut. Our expenses were low and we had some rental income from 3 rentals.

We are doing the things that we want to do, even though we are both technically still working. We both work about 1,000 hours/year each. We both keep busy because we have a 6-year old, travel and have hobbies. However, we are rarely busy with work. We have spent 4-8 weeks each summer in Hawaii the last 3 summers at our long-term rental, when in between long-term tenants. 

I'm currently on a 3-day snowboard trip to Idaho this weekend. I bought my plane ticket with Southwest points and I'm staying with a college buddy who lives in Idaho. Lift tickets are free because my season pass to Monarch Mountain in Colorado has a partnership with Bogus Basin in Idaho. I get 3 free days at Bogus Basin. The only cost outside of my normal spending for this trip is airport parking, which is going to be $32.
« Last Edit: January 20, 2024, 06:09:51 AM by clarkfan1979 »

Missy B

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I grew up in Alberta during the 80's oil bust. As a small child I was oblivious to the general prosperity and optimism and rising wealth that preceeded the collapse. What i knew was that if you lost your job, you weren't likely to get another one.
That there were a lot of people who had made great money for a while in the seventies and who were now impoverished, living on welfare and under bridges. (The Calgary Herald ran regular profiles on people who had never recovered from the bust when I was in high school).

One story I remember was about a guy who had been an oil exec, making 100K a year in the 1970's. In 1989 he was living on welfare, 4 kids, and having trouble making his mortgage.
In the 70's you could get a fine middle class house for 30K. 15 minutes from the downtown core. If you saved money, you got a fat interest rate. (I remember getting 10% on my kiddie bank account and calculating longhand how long the money would take to double.)

This guy could easily have bought a nice home, paid it off, and saved enough to give him really good passive income, even if he only worked a handful of years. I couldn't understand why he hadn't done that and protected his future. It was years before I understood that people thought that the money would never end, that the boom would never end.

So I was distrustful of open-handed spending from early on, as well as the great benefit of starting early. Save young and you don't need as much because of the power of compounding. Save young and you're better prepared for other stuff too.

vand

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I think OP has done everything right and the increase in living expenses as you get older is something that is completely natural -- screw the hedonic treadmill, you should not be staying in the same cheapass BnBs at 40 as you were at 25. You absolutely should buy more expensive shirts and shoes. You absolutely should  dine at a better quality of restaurant, enjoy better quality wine, book flights that depart at 4pm rather than 4am... all without beating yourself up about it. It's fine being a CF when you are young to get ahead. It's not fine when you have got ahead and still behave like a CF.

bmjohnson35

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It is amazing how many people spend their whole lives on the treadmill. Everyone doesn't have the good fortune of being able to start out early with a high income career.  Despite this, I'm amazed by the choices a lot of people often make.  Although I had planned to retire early from a young age, reaching FI was my main goal.  It's nice to know that you will be ok if you lose your job or can quit the job and go somewhere else if you are unhappy. I find it strange that so many people choose to live on the edge of financial disaster. I agree that starting out in life with the right mindset can be critical to long-term financial freedom, especially if you aren't a high wage earner. 

bacchi

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I think OP has done everything right and the increase in living expenses as you get older is something that is completely natural -- screw the hedonic treadmill, you should not be staying in the same cheapass BnBs at 40 as you were at 25. You absolutely should buy more expensive shirts and shoes. You absolutely should  dine at a better quality of restaurant, enjoy better quality wine, book flights that depart at 4pm rather than 4am... all without beating yourself up about it. It's fine being a CF when you are young to get ahead. It's not fine when you have got ahead and still behave like a CF.

That would not be my definition of being a cheapfucker (CF?) but to each their own.

spartana

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I think OP has done everything right and the increase in living expenses as you get older is something that is completely natural -- screw the hedonic treadmill, you should not be staying in the same cheapass BnBs at 40 as you were at 25. You absolutely should buy more expensive shirts and shoes. You absolutely should  dine at a better quality of restaurant, enjoy better quality wine, book flights that depart at 4pm rather than 4am... all without beating yourself up about it. It's fine being a CF when you are young to get ahead. It's not fine when you have got ahead and still behave like a CF.

That would not be my definition of being a cheapfucker (CF?) but to each their own.
And some of us like being CFs lol! I lived the life I liked and it got me to FI and RE, and I still live that life because I like it. A $500 purse or a gold bidet in a luxury hotel is absolutely NOT going to improve my quality of life.

ETA: I do think that many here who are under 30 and haven't been adult investors or ever unemployed long term,  want to inflate their lifestyle because they can't image the gravy train ever ending. The $50k car thread is a good example.
« Last Edit: January 21, 2024, 01:20:18 PM by spartana »

vand

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I think OP has done everything right and the increase in living expenses as you get older is something that is completely natural -- screw the hedonic treadmill, you should not be staying in the same cheapass BnBs at 40 as you were at 25. You absolutely should buy more expensive shirts and shoes. You absolutely should  dine at a better quality of restaurant, enjoy better quality wine, book flights that depart at 4pm rather than 4am... all without beating yourself up about it. It's fine being a CF when you are young to get ahead. It's not fine when you have got ahead and still behave like a CF.

That would not be my definition of being a cheapfucker (CF?) but to each their own.
And some of us like being CFs lol! I lived the life I liked and it got me to FI and RE, and I still live that life because I like it. A $500 purse or a gold bidet in a luxury hotel is absolutely NOT going to improve my quality of life.

ETA: I do think that many here who are under 30 and haven't been adult investors or ever unemployed long term,  want to inflate their lifestyle because they can't image the gravy train ever ending. The $50k car thread is a good example.

I picked examples that I thought couldn't be refuted. Would you really rather catch a 4am flight than a 4pm one? Would you really prefer to drink a $10 bottle of wine than a $25 one? You should have a preference for quality on the things that are important to you and when your budget allows it, otherwise what is the point of the money. 

It is absolutely NOT the case, imo, that quality flattens off with higher cost - indeed imo there is a noticeable jump in quality when you move past the mass consumer market and into the tailored market
« Last Edit: January 21, 2024, 01:32:37 PM by vand »

spartana

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I think OP has done everything right and the increase in living expenses as you get older is something that is completely natural -- screw the hedonic treadmill, you should not be staying in the same cheapass BnBs at 40 as you were at 25. You absolutely should buy more expensive shirts and shoes. You absolutely should  dine at a better quality of restaurant, enjoy better quality wine, book flights that depart at 4pm rather than 4am... all without beating yourself up about it. It's fine being a CF when you are young to get ahead. It's not fine when you have got ahead and still behave like a CF.

That would not be my definition of being a cheapfucker (CF?) but to each their own.
And some of us like being CFs lol! I lived the life I liked and it got me to FI and RE, and I still live that life because I like it. A $500 purse or a gold bidet in a luxury hotel is absolutely NOT going to improve my quality of life.

ETA: I do think that many here who are under 30 and haven't been adult investors or ever unemployed long term,  want to inflate their lifestyle because they can't image the gravy train ever ending. The $50k car thread is a good example.

I picked examples that I thought couldn't be refuted. Would you really rather catch a 4am flight than a 4pm one? Would you really prefer to drink a $10 bottle of wine than a $25 one? You should have a preference for quality on the things that are important to you and when your budget allows it, otherwise what is the point of the money. 

It is absolutely NOT the case, imo, that quality flattens off with higher cost - indeed imo there is a noticeable jump in quality when you move past the mass consumer market and into the tailored market
The things I personally value don't necessarily have monetary value. Like freedom to do what I want everyday. People are different and what floats my boat - and the financial things I value - are likely to be very different from your or anyone elses. So I'm not doing things cheaply because I'm a CF, I'm doing them that way because they have a bigger value to me then the cost value. There are something's I inflate - like paying a bit more for an SUV when I get rental cars because I bring lots of gear with me on road trips because I like to camp better then I like staying in a motel. Cost of motel isn't the reason why I camp. I just enjoy the experience more. Same as choosing to be carless for years. Not because I was being cheap (although it saved me a ton of money) but because I enjoyed that lifestyle.

And FWIW I'd actually pay more for a 4 am or red eye flight because it avoids many of the issues like crowds and transit that irk me at airports. Wine...meh. I don't drink but I have a few expensive food-things I indulge in but don't necessarily need them to be wildly expensive to be equally enjoyable.
« Last Edit: January 21, 2024, 02:09:19 PM by spartana »

TempusFugit

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I think OP has done everything right and the increase in living expenses as you get older is something that is completely natural -- screw the hedonic treadmill, you should not be staying in the same cheapass BnBs at 40 as you were at 25. You absolutely should buy more expensive shirts and shoes. You absolutely should  dine at a better quality of restaurant, enjoy better quality wine, book flights that depart at 4pm rather than 4am... all without beating yourself up about it. It's fine being a CF when you are young to get ahead. It's not fine when you have got ahead and still behave like a CF.

I think itís fine and good to spend more money on things if you really do enjoy them.  Caveats of course related to your being able to afford to spend that money, but I see nothing wrong with spending more as you have more.  Spending lots of money just for the sake of doing it is not very smart, of course.   I spend a lot of money eating out.  I enjoy it a great deal, and it is the basis of my social life. For other people, this would be a waste of money and thatís fine.  Substitute clothes, travel, golf, or any number of things that appeal to some and not to others. Spend money on the stuff you really enjoy and donít spend on things that you donít. 

But absolutely having the right mindset and discipline when youíre younger is what sets you up to have that level of financial headroom.  Iím super grateful to past me for not spending all my money and making pretty good decisions.  Past me couldíve really screwed current me. 

Midwest_Handlebar

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My motivation was always freedom, not money or the ability to do nothing. Once I quit my job, and had the freedom to pursue entrepreneurship full time, I stopped really caring about being frugal.

I quit corporate @ 39, but I should have quit years earlier even if I wasn't 100% FIRE.

Fomerly known as something

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I listened to the sage, crusty old hairbag (I think his name was John).  Who told me to shove money in my TSP (401k equivalent). The a coworker mentioned this thing called a Roth IRA, so I did that as well.  (I saw the ďRed-manĒ last week and would have said thank you).  There was the talk of mutual funds early on although I didnít find VTSAX for at least a decade. 

But I have a pension so there is some special with that 25 years and Iím out.  And 23 years ago I wouldnít have thought Iíd be able to be done working at 25.

The biggest thing is that Iíve made some radical life choices in the past 5 years, hello the San Francisco Bay Area.  And me I can afford to live here, for as long as I want to live here.  Those early years of investing even if not perfect, has let.  Iím still not working after July of 2025.

GilesMM

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Earlier is better if you understand the tradeoffs on quality of life, net worth, etc.   But if you are Jeff Bezos or Elon Musk, you don't retire early just because you can, you just push harder your whole life.

Telecaster

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Earlier is better if you understand the tradeoffs on quality of life, net worth, etc.   But if you are Jeff Bezos or Elon Musk, you don't retire early just because you can, you just push harder your whole life.

And even those guys are pretty much FIRE.  Both of them have stepped back (to varying degrees) from the enterprises that made them rich and are now working on passion projects.

A common criticism of FIRE is that many people aren't actually retired because they continue to have gainful employment.   Yes, but they are employed doing things they want to do. 

Sanitary Stache

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I missed the early boat and never questioned my status as consumer through my twenties and well into my thirties and family life. But financial independence is still an option for me and my family.

I canít shovel the vast majority of my overly large income into index funds and live ERE expenses. Until my kid is born and I can stop going to a job. But I can still shape my life around saving for FI and fighting the hedonistic treadmill. I can still recognize what I actually care about and focus on getting the best of that without sacrificing something else important.

I donít know. I am always trying to convince myself that people who have enough money to increase their lifestyle are not assholes. That I am not an Entitled asshole for accepting the status quo. For believing the lie that I donít already have enough. Even though I have more than so many others that do have enough.

 FIRE isnít just one thing. MMMs example of reaching FI and not retiring is closed to me due to my age and family status. But there are other examples of FI that I can achieve. And since I get to define RE. Maybe Iíll decide Iíve done that someday too.

Getting an early start does seem ideal. The freedom of FU money is a powerful freedom.

TimCFJ40

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I found MMM in the last two years, but always was interested in Financial Independence.  20 years ago living in Atlanta I listened to Clark Howard, then spent some time listening to Dave Ramsey because he was on the local station.  I incorporated many of the principles early, and was blessed with a frugal wife with a great salary on top of my own. 

Our income peaked when our kids were just babies.  We both had 60 Hour a week high pressure jobs, with our kids spending 10 hours a day at daycare.  Fortunately we had been saving and investing for some time, and lived a frugal enough lifestyle that we cut back majorly (She went part time, and I took a less stressful job, netting almost $100k/year pay cut).  Our lives were immensely improved, and we began designing the life we wanted, not just spending every dollar chasing stuff so we needed more dollars. 

All that to say, early saving gave us options we wouldn't have had otherwise.  We could have easily jumped into 2x the house, two $50k+ cars, bought a lake house and a boat, and been living paycheck to paycheck.  Many of our friends did, and are just now starting to feel some stability, let alone freedom in their finances.

Now we're looking at the RE side of the scale, and it's close enough to be something we could actually see happening.  Currently we both have good jobs with good balance, but man it'd be nice to have even more time at our disposal! (and early work towards FI will give us that option)


jrhampt

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Early FI is critical because at some point down the road, you will probably become desperate to leave your job for any of the following reasons:

Jobs can change very quickly from something you love to all of a sudden become something you can no longer tolerate for any number of reasons - reorgs, new management, difficult co-workers, management decides to change your job responsibilities, asked to RTO after WFH for decades, changing technology, could be anything.

Your own health could require more attention for any number of reasons - sports injury, car crash, cancer, etc.

Your spouse's health could require more attention (see above).

Your parents' or your spouse's parents' health situation can change as they age.

The industry can dramatically shift, making job loss more likely, probably at the worst time possible.

Add on to all that, it is easier to live with fewer conveniences when you are younger.  Being broke and old is difficult.

If you have not prepared for all of the above by saving/investing early, you WILL feel trapped eventually.

lhamo

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When I left a toxic job situation in 2007, one reason I was able to do it the way I did it was because of our FIRE stash -- it was around 1 mill at the time, about 1/2 in retirement and college savings and the rest in liquid cash.  I had deliberately kept a LOT in cash after we sold our NYC apartment in 2003 just in case our work and living situation every melted down (which it did).  At that time HYSAs were yielding around 5% so having lots of cash was not a bad thing.

We probably could have leanFIREd at that stage, but we weren't quite ready yet.  So I took 6 months off and did an intensive language program with a decent fellowship that at least covered our expenses, and SO continued to work at toxic org (it was less toxic for him than it had been for me).  Near the end of my fellowship I got another job.  It meant a pretty big cut in pay (from 70k to 55k), and a horrible cross-town commute in horrible Beijing traffic, but better benefits and a MUCH better work culture (for the first few years at least).  When some things changed at that job and I ended up burned out/miserable, once again our large cash stash allowed us to make a major change.  DS applied and got accepted to a special academic program back here in Seattle, and I resigned and came back with him for a transition year while the SO and DD stayed in Beijing.  Once DS got formally admitted to the UW, the rest of the family came back and we sold the apartment we had purchased in Beijing.  That enabled us to fully FIRE.

All of this was possible because I read Your Money or Your LIfe back in 1997 and caught the FIRE bug early.  We always lived well below our means, and were able to save quite a large percentage of our salaries even as mid-level non-profit managers.  My annual earnings peaked at around 75k in 2015.  SO's peaked at around 80k in 2016, his last year of work. 

bmjohnson35

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Early FI is critical because at some point down the road, you will probably become desperate to leave your job for any of the following reasons:

Jobs can change very quickly from something you love to all of a sudden become something you can no longer tolerate for any number of reasons - reorgs, new management, difficult co-workers, management decides to change your job responsibilities, asked to RTO after WFH for decades, changing technology, could be anything.

Your own health could require more attention for any number of reasons - sports injury, car crash, cancer, etc.

Your spouse's health could require more attention (see above).

Your parents' or your spouse's parents' health situation can change as they age.
 
The industry can dramatically shift, making job loss more likely, probably at the worst time possible.

Add on to all that, it is easier to live with fewer conveniences when you are younger.  Being broke and old is difficult.

If you have not prepared for all of the above by saving/investing early, you WILL feel trapped eventually.

jrhampt makes a good point, we have no way of knowing what the future brings and our future health is not guaranteed.  When we are young, we have a hard time conceptualizing old age, let alone the idea that our health may suddenly decline for some reason.  Obtaining FI or even simply being more financially secure could make a huge difference if we encounter unexpected health issues later in life.
« Last Edit: January 22, 2024, 03:59:35 PM by bmjohnson35 »

Psychstache

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I think OP has done everything right and the increase in living expenses as you get older is something that is completely natural -- screw the hedonic treadmill, you should not be staying in the same cheapass BnBs at 40 as you were at 25. You absolutely should buy more expensive shirts and shoes. You absolutely should  dine at a better quality of restaurant, enjoy better quality wine, book flights that depart at 4pm rather than 4am... all without beating yourself up about it. It's fine being a CF when you are young to get ahead. It's not fine when you have got ahead and still behave like a CF.

That would not be my definition of being a cheapfucker (CF?) but to each their own.
And some of us like being CFs lol! I lived the life I liked and it got me to FI and RE, and I still live that life because I like it. A $500 purse or a gold bidet in a luxury hotel is absolutely NOT going to improve my quality of life.

ETA: I do think that many here who are under 30 and haven't been adult investors or ever unemployed long term,  want to inflate their lifestyle because they can't image the gravy train ever ending. The $50k car thread is a good example.

I picked examples that I thought couldn't be refuted. Would you really rather catch a 4am flight than a 4pm one? Would you really prefer to drink a $10 bottle of wine than a $25 one? You should have a preference for quality on the things that are important to you and when your budget allows it, otherwise what is the point of the money. 

It is absolutely NOT the case, imo, that quality flattens off with higher cost - indeed imo there is a noticeable jump in quality when you move past the mass consumer market and into the tailored market

Yes

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2013/jun/23/wine-tasting-junk-science-analysis

Metalcat

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I'm eternally grateful that I found MMM very shortly after I graduated and started working.

In my industry it's the norm to just "live with" massive debt. We graduate with mortgage-sized debts, mostly in our 30s, and then have huge incomes and rush to "catch up" with the lifestyle we're "supposed" to have as high income professionals.

The concept of my debt being a "hair on fire" emergency was anathema to the general culture within my profession. Because usually we just went from mortgage-sized debt to several times that debt amount to buy a practice, which banks would happily finance 100% for millions.

Living with 15-20K monthly loan payments was just the norm. Why would anyone treat debt like an emergency? One clinic owner I briefly partnered with had 6 figure monthly loan payments.

The FA who introduced me to MMM was the first to really hammer home that cash-flow isn't wealth. Wealth is wealth. And until I had the NW to back up a luxury lifestyle, I would be living with an axe over my head that a single permanent injury could trigger to fall.

So although I had briefly escalated my spending and jumped on the hedonic treadmill, I quickly reversed course and went back to my student lifestyle ways for the most part.

Truthfully though, I had been bored out of my skull by most of the luxury spending. I disagree with pp that I should be spending more just because I can. I've done the luxury lifestyle thing, not just during that period of my life, but I've lived with very wealthy exes before, and it's just not my thing.

If I truly enjoyed it, I would be aiming to make a ton of money so that I could spend a ton of money. I have no problem spending when it's worth it. I have the most impressive collection of canes and crutches imaginable because the step up in quality beyond $40 crutches is insane.

I totally agree that some luxuries are an amazing value, but an across the board step up in luxury does not appeal to me. My quality of life is actually enhanced substantially by always seeking out frugal options.

It makes me more creative, pushes me to truly understand what I want from any given expense I'm looking at, and often results in me finding incredibly cool, less popular alternatives to things that suit me so much better than the obvious, expensive option.

For my personal tastes, cheaper options are often far, far superior. It's not that an expensive bottle of wine isn't objectively better than a cheap bottle of wine, it's that not drinking wine at all and switching to tea is the better option for me.

A first/business class long haul flight to a far flung location for a 10 day vacation is objectively better than a coach ticket and a flight plan with multiple long layovers. But for me, a 10 day trip isn't really my best option. I have found that I can send less to live entire summers in an extremely cool location.

There's no question that when comparing apples to apples, the more expensive options are usually objectively better. But frugality often pushes me to explore the options where bananas are all much cheaper than apples, and I like the bananas more.

My personal experience is that hopping on the hedonic treadmill felt lazy and boring. Frugally driven spending pushes me to be creative and push my boundaries to find options that I may never have even thought of for improving my quality of life.

If a more spendy life produced an optimal outcome, then that's what I would aim for. But when I first read MMM, the whole early retirement thing didn't interest me, not really, nor did I care too much about the investing part, or really anything to do with money directly.

What hit me like a ton of bricks was that he explained that his choices produce a happier and healthier lifestyle. I was obese at the time, my then-fiance was gaining weight, our "investment" in nice restaurants and really good wine as a main form of indulgence was not beneficial, and healthy lifestyle habits felt like a chore to be added onto our already demanding careers.

A total recalibration of priorities resulted in both of us ending up leaner than we were as teenagers, in the best shape of our lives, and thoroughly enjoying our quality time together and feeling deeply satisfied by our lifestyle.

Our guiding principles pushed us to look at every single thing we did through a lense of "how can we do this cheaper, get outside more, have deeper connections with each other and our loved ones, and have more fun along the way??"

Now, because I'm the ultimate cautionary tale of "anything can happen" and my elite, high paying career disappeared due to injury in my 30s, I could not be more grateful that I figured out these things early.

We would have been fucked beyond fucked had we not. Instead, when I had no choice but to retire, we were already living very happily on the lower of our two incomes, debt-free aside from a very small mortgage, and deeply enjoying our quality of life.

Because we realized that cash flow isn't wealth, wealth is wealth, we weren't living a lifestyle that matched our incomes, we were living a lifestyle that matched our wealth.

When our wealth expanded, we did expand our lifestyle, but not by inflating our general spending, we took our usual frugal approach and instead of buying more expensive apples, we bought really awesome bananas. We added a whole second very frugal lifestyle in the form of an extremely inexpensive summer home. So now we have two entirely separate frugal lives that we split our time between.

Which for us is far more luxurious than spending more on individual things that we're perfectly happy spending very little on.

No judgement to anyone who wants more expensive apples. When it comes to apples, I quite literally will only buy Pink Lady apples, which tend to be the most expensive. I just don't often buy apples, I legit prefer dirt cheap bananas.

So if more expensive wine is your thing, have at it. As I said, more expensive crutches are 1000% my thing. My walking aide collection is worth more than my car. We all need to assess which apples are truly worth spending on, and which bananas are a better option.
« Last Edit: January 22, 2024, 08:51:22 AM by Metalcat »

moonpalace

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Just wanted to amplify what others have said about being FI lessening stress about health issues.

I say that as someone who started reading MMM at age 40 with a then-NW of $42k. Tons of debts, relied on CCs to get us through holidays, etc. Super stressed basically all the time even though my spouse and I were making a combined ~$150k at the time.

Now, about 8 years later, NW is right around $1M. No debts other than 2.75% mortgage, no need ever to rely on credit cards. Paying for my kid's college with cash. No stress.

I have recently been having debilitating symptoms of long COVID/PACS that may mean I have to quit my job or take a much less demanding one. And I know my family would be fine. Not just because we have that pile of capital, but also because of the skills we learned that got us here.

ixtap

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Make hay while the sun shines. We were saving for adventurous plans and we still may be able to learn to cope with our issues enough to do so, but DH in particular has some chronic pain issues that make full time work pretty much impossible. He isn't even 40 yet. He has a flexible schedule and in December and early January he certainly had weeks that were at least 40 hours, even while staying with family. Barely even talked most of the time, but when he hit a wall, he took a few days off and recovered quickly.
« Last Edit: January 22, 2024, 10:38:51 AM by ixtap »

Metalcat

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Just wanted to amplify what others have said about being FI lessening stress about health issues.

I say that as someone who started reading MMM at age 40 with a then-NW of $42k. Tons of debts, relied on CCs to get us through holidays, etc. Super stressed basically all the time even though my spouse and I were making a combined ~$150k at the time.

Now, about 8 years later, NW is right around $1M. No debts other than 2.75% mortgage, no need ever to rely on credit cards. Paying for my kid's college with cash. No stress.

I have recently been having debilitating symptoms of long COVID/PACS that may mean I have to quit my job or take a much less demanding one. And I know my family would be fine. Not just because we have that pile of capital, but also because of the skills we learned that got us here.

This is so true.

DH and I were just strategizing about some major life changes that will make our finances less predictable. But what was most reassuring was that we're both cool with a lifestyle change that would cut our spending almost in half if that turned out to be the best option for the few years where unpredictability poses the highest risk.

rockeTree

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Early FI is critical because at some point down the road, you will probably become desperate to leave your job for any of the following reasons:

Jobs can change very quickly from something you love to all of a sudden become something you can no longer tolerate for any number of reasons - reorgs, new management, difficult co-workers, management decides to change your job responsibilities, asked to RTO after WFH for decades, changing technology, could be anything.

Your own health could require more attention for any number of reasons - sports injury, car crash, cancer, etc.

Your spouse's health could require more attention (see above).

Your parents' or your spouse's parents' health situation can change as they age.

The industry can dramatically shift, making job loss more likely, probably at the worst time possible.

Add on to all that, it is easier to live with fewer conveniences when you are younger.  Being broke and old is difficult.

If you have not prepared for all of the above by saving/investing early, you WILL feel trapped eventually.

This is really it: you can make the brutally hard choices many people make in midlife trading off their health, work they hate, their time with loved ones, their ability to support their family - straightforward. For me this was not a motivator; I have always been cheap and with the encouragement of some very frugal extended family members planned to retire by 50 from my teen years and just putter around and volunteer and walk in the woods and read books. But for my partner, who in marrying I had expected to move that timeline along a bit, because he wasn't that frugal, the ability to stop worrying about age discrimination kicking in when other family obligations would be ongoing became a huge deal. And he walked out of a bad job at 48 instead of breaking himself because he had to have the money, and if I'm not out at 50 it will be close. He can help his folks, who need it, I can help my family members who need it on my leave time that is utterly free because he is handling all life logistics. Our peers are making very hard choices and we are making easy ones and it's just because we have cheap housing from downsizing a decade ago, becoming good cooks, and cheap habits/hobbies we enjoy very much. You don't have to be fully FI, but you need a very fat cushion to not worry about this stuff. And you need it before midlife if you can swing it. Trust that 40something you will need flexibilities that are not on your radar now.

vand

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I think OP has done everything right and the increase in living expenses as you get older is something that is completely natural -- screw the hedonic treadmill, you should not be staying in the same cheapass BnBs at 40 as you were at 25. You absolutely should buy more expensive shirts and shoes. You absolutely should  dine at a better quality of restaurant, enjoy better quality wine, book flights that depart at 4pm rather than 4am... all without beating yourself up about it. It's fine being a CF when you are young to get ahead. It's not fine when you have got ahead and still behave like a CF.

That would not be my definition of being a cheapfucker (CF?) but to each their own.
And some of us like being CFs lol! I lived the life I liked and it got me to FI and RE, and I still live that life because I like it. A $500 purse or a gold bidet in a luxury hotel is absolutely NOT going to improve my quality of life.

ETA: I do think that many here who are under 30 and haven't been adult investors or ever unemployed long term,  want to inflate their lifestyle because they can't image the gravy train ever ending. The $50k car thread is a good example.

I picked examples that I thought couldn't be refuted. Would you really rather catch a 4am flight than a 4pm one? Would you really prefer to drink a $10 bottle of wine than a $25 one? You should have a preference for quality on the things that are important to you and when your budget allows it, otherwise what is the point of the money. 

It is absolutely NOT the case, imo, that quality flattens off with higher cost - indeed imo there is a noticeable jump in quality when you move past the mass consumer market and into the tailored market

Yes

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2013/jun/23/wine-tasting-junk-science-analysis

Haha, ok. I suppose you're gonna try and tell us that a $200 suit is just as good as $600 suit next.

RedmondStash

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I think OP has done everything right and the increase in living expenses as you get older is something that is completely natural -- screw the hedonic treadmill, you should not be staying in the same cheapass BnBs at 40 as you were at 25. You absolutely should buy more expensive shirts and shoes. You absolutely should  dine at a better quality of restaurant, enjoy better quality wine, book flights that depart at 4pm rather than 4am... all without beating yourself up about it. It's fine being a CF when you are young to get ahead. It's not fine when you have got ahead and still behave like a CF.

That would not be my definition of being a cheapfucker (CF?) but to each their own.
And some of us like being CFs lol! I lived the life I liked and it got me to FI and RE, and I still live that life because I like it. A $500 purse or a gold bidet in a luxury hotel is absolutely NOT going to improve my quality of life.

ETA: I do think that many here who are under 30 and haven't been adult investors or ever unemployed long term,  want to inflate their lifestyle because they can't image the gravy train ever ending. The $50k car thread is a good example.

I picked examples that I thought couldn't be refuted. Would you really rather catch a 4am flight than a 4pm one? Would you really prefer to drink a $10 bottle of wine than a $25 one? You should have a preference for quality on the things that are important to you and when your budget allows it, otherwise what is the point of the money. 

It is absolutely NOT the case, imo, that quality flattens off with higher cost - indeed imo there is a noticeable jump in quality when you move past the mass consumer market and into the tailored market

Yes

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2013/jun/23/wine-tasting-junk-science-analysis

Haha, ok. I suppose you're gonna try and tell us that a $200 suit is just as good as $600 suit next.

I think the point is that different people value different things. I personally don't value wine because I don't drink it. I don't value expensive clothing over cheaper clothing; I value comfort and texture and certain colors and patterns. We're all different.

If you value your $600 suit, more power to you. You know what's important to you, and you're in a position to get it, and that's great.

I tend not to spend on things that are unimportant to me, but I spend plenty on things I really care about. That's the power of FIRE: to have the freedom to choose how to live and what matters to you.

And -- I really value breaking free of societal expectations of conspicuous consumption; that's another benefit of FIRE for me. When I learned about FIRE, I stopped doing a bunch of things that I didn't really enjoy that were "the done thing," and started finding innovative ways to replace them. Because that made me happier.

There's tremendous value in questioning why you're spending money where you are. It then becomes much more satisfying when you do spend more on something, because you know you genuinely care about it. The examined life is more worth living.

Metalcat

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I think OP has done everything right and the increase in living expenses as you get older is something that is completely natural -- screw the hedonic treadmill, you should not be staying in the same cheapass BnBs at 40 as you were at 25. You absolutely should buy more expensive shirts and shoes. You absolutely should  dine at a better quality of restaurant, enjoy better quality wine, book flights that depart at 4pm rather than 4am... all without beating yourself up about it. It's fine being a CF when you are young to get ahead. It's not fine when you have got ahead and still behave like a CF.

That would not be my definition of being a cheapfucker (CF?) but to each their own.
And some of us like being CFs lol! I lived the life I liked and it got me to FI and RE, and I still live that life because I like it. A $500 purse or a gold bidet in a luxury hotel is absolutely NOT going to improve my quality of life.

ETA: I do think that many here who are under 30 and haven't been adult investors or ever unemployed long term,  want to inflate their lifestyle because they can't image the gravy train ever ending. The $50k car thread is a good example.

I picked examples that I thought couldn't be refuted. Would you really rather catch a 4am flight than a 4pm one? Would you really prefer to drink a $10 bottle of wine than a $25 one? You should have a preference for quality on the things that are important to you and when your budget allows it, otherwise what is the point of the money. 

It is absolutely NOT the case, imo, that quality flattens off with higher cost - indeed imo there is a noticeable jump in quality when you move past the mass consumer market and into the tailored market

Yes

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2013/jun/23/wine-tasting-junk-science-analysis

Haha, ok. I suppose you're gonna try and tell us that a $200 suit is just as good as $600 suit next.

I think the point is that different people value different things. I personally don't value wine because I don't drink it. I don't value expensive clothing over cheaper clothing; I value comfort and texture and certain colors and patterns. We're all different.

If you value your $600 suit, more power to you. You know what's important to you, and you're in a position to get it, and that's great.

I tend not to spend on things that are unimportant to me, but I spend plenty on things I really care about. That's the power of FIRE: to have the freedom to choose how to live and what matters to you.

And -- I really value breaking free of societal expectations of conspicuous consumption; that's another benefit of FIRE for me. When I learned about FIRE, I stopped doing a bunch of things that I didn't really enjoy that were "the done thing," and started finding innovative ways to replace them. Because that made me happier.

There's tremendous value in questioning why you're spending money where you are. It then becomes much more satisfying when you do spend more on something, because you know you genuinely care about it. The examined life is more worth living.

Also, it's another great example of apples and bananas.

My DH has a very expensive, custom tailored suit that is unquestionably superior to any suit you could buy for $200. Hell, I think the tailoring alone cost $200.

There's no question that apple is the better apple. But he never wears it, because he doesn't like wearing suits. He prefers to wear merino wool knits. He prefers bananas. He can buy really nice merino wool knits (the best bananas), and still spend less than someone might on a shitty suit (cheap apples).

Whatever an individual's apples are, they are unquestionably worth spending more on, but not everyone has the same apples. My apples are disability aides, I set virtually no limits on what I'm willing to spend for more ease of daily function. I'll buy apples that are 10-100 times the cost of cheap, functional crutches (shitty apples).

However, when it comes to something like cars, as a recovering car person I can 1000% see how more expensive sports cars are superior apples, if you're into sports car performance. However, I'm not anymore, I'm fine with inexpensive, functional little hatchbacks (cheap apples).

Likewise, you could buy me a 70K purse and I wouldn't use it, I don't carry a purse, period, my joints can't tolerate the weight imbalance. Also, I just DGAF about purses. Those apples hold zero interest for me, but I love a functional backpack (banana).

As you said, none of us spend on things that aren't important to us. That doesn't mean more expensive versions of those things aren't objectively better, their superiority is just often irrelevant.

Just because something is objectively higher quality doesn't make it worth buying.

RedmondStash

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As you said, none of us spend on things that aren't important to us. That doesn't mean more expensive versions of those things aren't objectively better, their superiority is just often irrelevant.

Just because something is objectively higher quality doesn't make it worth buying.

Yes. This.

spartana

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I think OP has done everything right and the increase in living expenses as you get older is something that is completely natural -- screw the hedonic treadmill, you should not be staying in the same cheapass BnBs at 40 as you were at 25. You absolutely should buy more expensive shirts and shoes. You absolutely should  dine at a better quality of restaurant, enjoy better quality wine, book flights that depart at 4pm rather than 4am... all without beating yourself up about it. It's fine being a CF when you are young to get ahead. It's not fine when you have got ahead and still behave like a CF.

That would not be my definition of being a cheapfucker (CF?) but to each their own.
And some of us like being CFs lol! I lived the life I liked and it got me to FI and RE, and I still live that life because I like it. A $500 purse or a gold bidet in a luxury hotel is absolutely NOT going to improve my quality of life.

ETA: I do think that many here who are under 30 and haven't been adult investors or ever unemployed long term,  want to inflate their lifestyle because they can't image the gravy train ever ending. The $50k car thread is a good example.

I picked examples that I thought couldn't be refuted. Would you really rather catch a 4am flight than a 4pm one? Would you really prefer to drink a $10 bottle of wine than a $25 one? You should have a preference for quality on the things that are important to you and when your budget allows it, otherwise what is the point of the money. 

It is absolutely NOT the case, imo, that quality flattens off with higher cost - indeed imo there is a noticeable jump in quality when you move past the mass consumer market and into the tailored market

Yes

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2013/jun/23/wine-tasting-junk-science-analysis

Haha, ok. I suppose you're gonna try and tell us that a $200 suit is just as good as $600 suit next.
I like to think most people look equally fine in the lower cost things compared to the higher cost things. My $50 dress is fine and, while the quality may not be as good as a similar $500 dress, it looks just as good on while I swill my $10 wine in coach class ;-). I'm not willing to pay big bucks for something I use rarely and don't really care about, and I'm certainly not willing to work for a decade or 2 longer (as I've seen you advocate in other threads) just to buy or do  high end stuff. That road leads to the consumer spending rat race treadmill from hell!

rothwem

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The funny thing about this thread is that its the typical advice, "The best time to invest is yesterday" stuff. 

Well yeah. 

But just like any type of advice, the person taking it will ignore it until it applies to them.  I really liked my first job, I was a test engineer for an aerospace supplier.  I liked the job a lot, my coworkers were cool and I made what I thought was a ton of money ($57k, lol.  Well it seemed like a lot after being in college).  Age 65 seemed like a long way off and I had really no reason to want to leave early.  I contributed to my 401k up to the match (3%) and used the rest of my paycheck to buy a cool car (a used BMW 325i), a carbon fiber mountain bike and PBR at bars downtown.

It wasn't until I got a "promotion" at another company that I realized that I needed to have some F-you money so I could leave a toxic situation.  In the meantime, I had missed 4 years of prime investing time from 2009 to 2013. 

So anyways, I guess this thread just seems a little silly and verges on gloating.  I don't think anyone on this site ISN'T actively trying to optimize their financial situation.  This thread kinda seems like its saying, "You should do this thing that I did that you can't do because the only way to do it is to go back in time".

TheAnonOne

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The funny thing about this thread is that its the typical advice, "The best time to invest is yesterday" stuff. 

Well yeah. 

But just like any type of advice, the person taking it will ignore it until it applies to them.  I really liked my first job, I was a test engineer for an aerospace supplier.  I liked the job a lot, my coworkers were cool and I made what I thought was a ton of money ($57k, lol.  Well it seemed like a lot after being in college).  Age 65 seemed like a long way off and I had really no reason to want to leave early.  I contributed to my 401k up to the match (3%) and used the rest of my paycheck to buy a cool car (a used BMW 325i), a carbon fiber mountain bike and PBR at bars downtown.

It wasn't until I got a "promotion" at another company that I realized that I needed to have some F-you money so I could leave a toxic situation.  In the meantime, I had missed 4 years of prime investing time from 2009 to 2013. 

So anyways, I guess this thread just seems a little silly and verges on gloating.  I don't think anyone on this site ISN'T actively trying to optimize their financial situation.  This thread kinda seems like its saying, "You should do this thing that I did that you can't do because the only way to do it is to go back in time".

OP here:

Gloating or not, this entire forum exists to drill this message. It's simply my observations from my journey, it isn't advice at all actually.

jrhampt

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I don't think it's gloating - especially in light of the thread where the young guy wants to blow 50k on a sports car, it's more a cautionary post.  You really do not know how much your life and needs will change in the future and it's hard to imagine when you're young, so invest that 50k now and you will be happy you did someday, etc. 

It's also a good reminder for a lot of us, including myself, who had maybe loosened up the reins on the spending lately and inflated the lifestyle a bit because things were going well at work.  I had been 100% WFH for over 10 years and had no particular desire to stop work and end the firehose of cash.  Well, all of a sudden they want me to start coming into the office (very part time, but still) at the same time when things are becoming difficult in my personal life due to aging parents, and I'd like to have just a little more in the stash before I tell them to F themselves.  Had I known this was going to happen (and I have seen work gone bad multiple times so it's always at the back of my mind - I just didn't envision this particular scenario), I would have been tighter the past couple of years, done a little less eating out, maybe, spent less on clothes, vacations perhaps.  Now I'm looking at another 2 years to be where I want to be. It's fortunate that I found MMM back when I was slaving away at an office job and couldn't wait to be done with it, so time has done a lot of the work for me already and if I really had to, I could be out in a few months.  But I had planned on another 2-4 years for a nice FAT FIRE, so...

Anyway, this is a reminder that this stuff WILL happen eventually.  Something will happen to make you wish you had/happy you had saved that 50k in your 20s that is now 250k+ 20 years later.  Or not inflated your lifestyle when you were most of the way there/skinny FIRE in your 40s.  Don't be that guy in his 50s or 60s who has to work instead of being able to spend his wife's last few months alive with her after she gets a terminal diagnosis. 

spartana

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The funny thing about this thread is that its the typical advice, "The best time to invest is yesterday" stuff. 

Well yeah. 

But just like any type of advice, the person taking it will ignore it until it applies to them.  I really liked my first job, I was a test engineer for an aerospace supplier.  I liked the job a lot, my coworkers were cool and I made what I thought was a ton of money ($57k, lol.  Well it seemed like a lot after being in college).  Age 65 seemed like a long way off and I had really no reason to want to leave early.  I contributed to my 401k up to the match (3%) and used the rest of my paycheck to buy a cool car (a used BMW 325i), a carbon fiber mountain bike and PBR at bars downtown.

It wasn't until I got a "promotion" at another company that I realized that I needed to have some F-you money so I could leave a toxic situation.  In the meantime, I had missed 4 years of prime investing time from 2009 to 2013. 

So anyways, I guess this thread just seems a little silly and verges on gloating.  I don't think anyone on this site ISN'T actively trying to optimize their financial situation.  This thread kinda seems like its saying, "You should do this thing that I did that you can't do because the only way to do it is to go back in time".
I didn't get that at all. I saw it as two parts - what was the moment of realization that you were glad you are on the FIRE path, or already FI - and what was the impetus for it. I suppose yours would be your "promotion" sucking and your view of working life changing.

sisto

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@TheAnonOne FWIW I did not see your post as gloating. Quite a bit of it resonated with me as well. I also see people I know not saving for their future and having so many excuses as to why they can't. Then there are the sad stories of loved ones that die and leave their families in the lurch. That one is hard, while I do feel for them I also wonder why the hell didn't they have a simple term life insurance policy.

My grandmother died at 57 and I always knew I needed to retire early just in case so I had some time to live and enjoy things. I joined the military and planned to retire after doing my 20 years and then maybe doing something else afterwards. I realized that wasn't the life for me so I got out. I never really had a solid plan on how I would do it though. I stumbled around quite a bit and didn't really have my life on track until nearly 30. I was good about putting money in my 401K, but that's about it. Luckily I married a saver who did a great job at putting money away for emergencies. We always lived below our means and while others were buying fancy houses we stayed in our small house that was fine for us. I brought my lunch to work daily while others went out. We didn't have cable TV, so I was never up to speed on the latest shows, oh well. I spoke about when my house was paid off that I could just work at McDonalds or be a greater at Walmart etc. Just telling them I'd only need to make enough to supplement until I could pull from my 401K and/or social security. My coworkers thought I was nuts. When I hit job burnout and layoffs were happening all around me, I got more serious about investments and the future. Then I found MMM and from there so many other great forums. I realized I could pull in my retirement earlier than expected and the rest is history.

Metalcat

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I didn't see it at all as gloating.

I saw it more as "holy shit I'm so glad I somehow absorbed this message before poorer choices could have fucked my life."

I credit my FA friend for bashing me over the head with this stuff. I'm also grateful to my OG Mustachian father for instilling in me a lot of this stuff so that when FA friend bashed me over the head that I actually listened and reacted well.

If we look around at our society, none of us can really take credit for making these smart financial decisions. It's NORMAL to end up a consumer on the hedonic treadmill. If we've been able to get off, it's because of some combination of exceptional influences that altered our sense of financial reason compared to the norm.

And we should all be grateful as fuck for whatever those influences are, whether some be genetic (thanks parents!), early childhood influences (thanks again parents!), cautionary tales (thanks folks who pulled up the carpet for us and showed us the filth underneath), etc, etc, we should all be grateful for whatever spared us from the very, very normal toxic values that we statistically should have ended up with.

Must_ache

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One story I remember was about a guy who had been an oil exec, making 100K a year in the 1970's. In 1989 he was living on welfare, 4 kids, and having trouble making his mortgage.
In the 70's you could get a fine middle class house for 30K. 15 minutes from the downtown core. If you saved money, you got a fat interest rate. (I remember getting 10% on my kiddie bank account and calculating longhand how long the money would take to double.)

In 1975 Uncle Sam would haven taken 45.16% of that $100K to say nothing about state or other deductions.  Sure, it was a lot of money back then, but taxes were higher. 

They should probably be higher again, since Uncle Sam is drowning in debt.

tj

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My motivation was always freedom, not money or the ability to do nothing. Once I quit my job, and had the freedom to pursue entrepreneurship full time, I stopped really caring about being frugal.

I quit corporate @ 39, but I should have quit years earlier even if I wasn't 100% FIRE.

I'm not sure I understand this mentality. Why has entrepreneurship replaced your frugal mentality?

eyesonthehorizon

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I see no indication of gloating in your post, just the panic & relief that overtakes after you feel a rush of wind at the crosswalk & realize you were nearly run over by a reckless driver, but stepped out of the way just in time. Early commitment to FI has been that lucky lifesaving step a few times for me.

I miss the facepunching community. We ribbed & kept each other mindful. I havenít lost my frugality without community support but miss the sense of counterculture & backup in weak moments. Itís more fun finding creative solutions than just spending money, but most people here seem to just be confused by the idea now. I wonder how many read the blog.

The $25 bottle is within my means, but I donít get 2.5x the enjoyment from it; it might be 1.5x as good (or maybe I just know where to get the best $10 bottles?) But neither touches what I can bottle myself for $3 & a few minutes of quiet joy in a perfumed kitchen on a sunlit afternoon.

beee

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I miss the facepunching community. We ribbed & kept each other mindful. I havenít lost my frugality without community support but miss the sense of counterculture & backup in weak moments. Itís more fun finding creative solutions than just spending money, but most people here seem to just be confused by the idea now. I wonder how many read the blog.

You're right. The mainstream ideas of "you deserve it / if you really want it / expensive == quality" can be found anywhere else on the internet, MMM was a good place to challenge such thoughts.

tj

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I miss the facepunching community. We ribbed & kept each other mindful. I havenít lost my frugality without community support but miss the sense of counterculture & backup in weak moments. Itís more fun finding creative solutions than just spending money, but most people here seem to just be confused by the idea now. I wonder how many read the blog.

You're right. The mainstream ideas of "you deserve it / if you really want it / expensive == quality" can be found anywhere else on the internet, MMM was a good place to challenge such thoughts.

Would that include challenging the thoughts of spending extra money on your money tracker? :)

beee

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I miss the facepunching community. We ribbed & kept each other mindful. I havenít lost my frugality without community support but miss the sense of counterculture & backup in weak moments. Itís more fun finding creative solutions than just spending money, but most people here seem to just be confused by the idea now. I wonder how many read the blog.

You're right. The mainstream ideas of "you deserve it / if you really want it / expensive == quality" can be found anywhere else on the internet, MMM was a good place to challenge such thoughts.

Would that include challenging the thoughts of spending extra money on your money tracker? :)

Any tool is only as good as the value you get from it.

insufFIcientfunds

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I wouldn't categorize $5 a month for a website that might help one get on the path, or tweak their path to financial freedom, overly expensive. Could someone do it in excel or Google sheets? Sure, but maybe the users aren't as schooled in equations or functions.

halfling

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This is such a good discussion thread. I have nothing really to add. Nothing is guaranteed, but sometimes I just plug my savings into a 30-year compound interest calculation when I need to remind myself that I'm doing fine.

aloevera1

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Yep.

I find there are two schools of thought regarding 20s...

1) Explore, go out, try things, fail, travel abroad, etc.
2) Hunker down, work and try to get well established by your 30s.

Neither of them is inherently superior. Path 2 has a side benefit of having financial stability later. It provides options as you outlined in your post. Path 1 provides unique experiences such as being young unburdened ESL teacher in an exotic location (it's an example, ok??). I've heard path 2 people complain about not having all those fun experiences from the path 1. Complaints go the other way around too. In a way, grass is always greener.

Ultimately, it's a deeply personal decision. I wish more people made this choice slightly more consciously rather than being pressured into path 1 or path 2 by their peers, parents, societal expectations or other parties.

So you made a conscious decision and followed through on it. Well done.
« Last Edit: January 29, 2024, 06:47:49 PM by aloevera1 »

Midwest_Handlebar

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My motivation was always freedom, not money or the ability to do nothing. Once I quit my job, and had the freedom to pursue entrepreneurship full time, I stopped really caring about being frugal.

I quit corporate @ 39, but I should have quit years earlier even if I wasn't 100% FIRE.

I'm not sure I understand this mentality. Why has entrepreneurship replaced your frugal mentality?

It's all relative I guess. I still don't waste money on stuff I don't value, the change is more that I don't obsess about what my wife spends and to save every nickle no matter how inconvenient.

Entrepreneurship has given me more confidence that I can always make more money even though we already have more than we need. I guess I've always been an entrepreneur, but was unwilling to take much risk at all. Being FI just gave me more confidence.

 

Wow, a phone plan for fifteen bucks!