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Second Thoughts on FIRE
Old 02-16-2012, 10:52 AM   #1
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Second Thoughts on FIRE

Well, it's about time for my yearly thread update...

Now 28 years old, $450K net worth (after $10K of very low student debt loans). I have managed to accumulate this much so fast as I have worked in stressful jobs I didn't like that paid a lot (i.e. banking).

Now I'm in a job that's 9-6 and I'm actually enjoying it. Something I could not have said for the first 5 years of my working life when I yeared to FIRE.

Now I view my job almost as a hobby that pays me. The work is somewhat interesting, my colleagues are manageable, and my boss is relaxed. Suddenly the urge to FIRE has dampened a bit.

I would like to tell me future self (for when I get tired of this job...) and anyone else that was in the position I was for 5 years, that maybe FIRE is not what we are looking for, but rather just a new job. Maybe that desire for early retirement really just means we aren't happy with our current jobs but maybe there is something better out there.

As a type A personality, I don't know how I would do in early retirement. I like to be active and feel like I'm making a difference in the world. My current job lets me do that and it also gives me something to have pride in.

Well that's just my two sense for today FWIW.
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Old 02-16-2012, 11:08 AM   #2
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Thanks for that update, And glad to hear things are working out for you (pun intended). As for this part,
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Originally Posted by Bankerwithabrain View Post
I would like to tell me future self (for when I get tired of this job...) and anyone else that was in the position I was for 5 years, that maybe FIRE is not what we are looking for, but rather just a new job. Maybe that desire for early retirement really just means we aren't happy with our current jobs but maybe there is something better out there.

As a type A personality, I don't know how I would do in early retirement. I like to be active and feel like I'm making a difference in the world. My current job lets me do that and it also gives me something to have pride.
When I quit my job I thought this would be my future path - some time off, then a job I could enjoy. My discovery was the opposite of yours - something better was early retirement.
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Old 02-16-2012, 01:47 PM   #3
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Now I'm in a job that's 9-6 and I'm actually enjoying it. ...
Now I view my job almost as a hobby that pays me....
That's quite the hobby, 9 hours a day.
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Old 02-16-2012, 01:55 PM   #4
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Well that's just my two sense for today FWIW.
You say you're a banker?

Sorry, but it's funny...
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Old 02-16-2012, 08:38 PM   #5
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maybe you should get a banker's job with "banker's hours"

I've found I go up and down from really enjoying my job to wanting out yesterday. The stork just delivered DD, so lately my wants to be involved in her life and be there for her have been validated.

I'm hitting the eject button ASAP. I hold no animosity towards those who want to continue to work.
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Old 02-16-2012, 09:17 PM   #6
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Why not just keep riding the horse that got you here? I'm 28 and joined this board while I was in college! I've got a great job I love/hate and could go in 8-17yrs, but as trying my job is, I feel like the challenge is needed, at least at my age.
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Old 02-17-2012, 02:39 AM   #7
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I shared your feelings completely when I was your age. While I still enjoy my job, now at 53 I am happy that we have carefully planned for me to be able to ER with DH within the next year.
Time flies when you get older and there is still so much to see and do outside of my office.
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Old 02-17-2012, 04:56 AM   #8
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At my previous organization I ended up in a very bad situation with a psycho boss who had it in for me. I had what amounted to a showdown with him over his manipulation of a long-overdue performance review, and he basically told me to roll over and take it or quit. I stayed for a number of reasons, but only until I could finish up some projects that meant a lot to me both personally and professionally. I started a spreadsheet on the day we had that showdown calculating how much I earned with each extra day I worked. I had been clued into FI and saving quite a bit before, but that experience really put some fire into things. Six months later I quit without a new job to go to, but something in line to cover my basic expenses. Fast forward about 6 months from that, and I interviewed for my present job, which I got, love and excel at. I am still aiming for FIRE, but it hasn't become so urgent now that I have a job that is a good fit and that I think will last as long as I want it to. I'll be 44 this year, and will probably be fine with working another 10 years, which is about when we'll launch the youngest off to college. Might FIRE a year or two before that if the financial aid implications are good.
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Old 02-17-2012, 07:14 AM   #9
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I would like to tell me future self (for when I get tired of this job...) and anyone else that was in the position I was for 5 years, that maybe FIRE is not what we are looking for, but rather just a new job. Maybe that desire for early retirement really just means we aren't happy with our current jobs but maybe there is something better out there.
That's the thing. I think it isn't so much that everyone hates working in itself - many people enjoy their jobs and would do it for free - but after reading on this forum what some people had to put up with it's little wonder that FIRE became an overriding goal for them.

I'm reminded of reading What Color is Your Parachute?. In it the author repeatedly stresses the point that no matter how high the pay scale, if you hate your job you're going to be hating life in general.
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Old 02-17-2012, 08:29 AM   #10
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That's the thing. I think it isn't so much that everyone hates working in itself - many people enjoy their jobs and would do it for free - but after reading on this forum what some people had to put up with it's little wonder that FIRE became an overriding goal for them.

I'm reminded of reading What Color is Your Parachute?. In it the author repeatedly stresses the point that no matter how high the pay scale, if you hate your job you're going to be hating life in general.
Excellent perspective. I wish I'd said it this eloquently in my (many) previous attempts. There are many viable paths...
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Old 02-17-2012, 08:50 AM   #11
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My son is 29 and works in a very low stress job that, while I can say he enjoys, gives him little or no grief.

When we finished doing his taxes last week he said that he needed to put some money in his Roth as he does each January but has not got round to it yet. I told him that if he'd bring round his latest 401k statement that I'd put the numbers into a retirement calculator with him to see when he could retire. "Where would I get a 401k statement?", he asked. It sounds like he must be on e-statements and it may take a number of weeks of prodding him to find out through work but we'll find out eventually. I helped him set up his contribution level 4 years ago so I know he has a 401k.

He has no debt and no credit cards and his car account has enough money to replace his car but he is waiting until January when it will be 10 years old (unless it has serious problems before then).

So nice to see him so laid back and relaxed.
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Old 02-17-2012, 01:46 PM   #12
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At 28 I didn't think much about retiring - too much world conquering to do.

See how you feel after another decade. It's possible you'll still feel like you need someone else telling you what to do to feel like you're making a difference. It's also possible you'll feel like having someone else manage your time is an increasingly unwelcome burden, and that you could do more good if you had all that time to use as you see fit.

In either case. Options are very valuable things. Save as if you're going to retire early. It's a wonderful feeling knowing you can tell your employer to go take a hike - even if you never need to actually do it.
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Old 02-22-2012, 11:47 AM   #13
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You can go after FI and hold off on RE.
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Old 02-22-2012, 12:24 PM   #14
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You can go after FI and hold off on RE.
Exactly what I was going to say. You are pretty young to worry about ER but FI is always a good goal. Gives you the flexibility to do whatever, whenever. Also you might find that FI makes your job more enjoyable as you don't feel trapped? In any event you are doing well financially for your age and from another banker I would say just keep going. You will do great.
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Old 02-22-2012, 01:37 PM   #15
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Hey interesting comments from everyone. Sorry for not responding sooner.

Since starting this thread, I've begun reading "Vagabonding" by Rolf Potts and I think that there is still something in me that is driving me towards FIRE. It is not the just the want to escape a terrible job, but also a desire to experience life to the fullest. To meet new interesting people, read books at a slow pace, learn to fish, and sleep under the stars.

Even though I may be happier now in my current occupation, I am still not happy with other aspects of my life which I occasionally does give me the inkling to FIRE. I think part of the way I dream of FIRE'ing is that I will be able to recreate a new life for myself and escape my current social confines. Honestly, I don't know if this is a realistic view of FIRE or just flash in the pan thinking.

I've discussed with some mentors and colleagues in my field what they thought if I thought took off a year to travel and most think that the gap will look bad on a resume. Don't know.

I am definitely of the frugal nature, but I am loosening the purse strings just a bit lately. More eating out and treating friends and more spending on enjoyable things like theater and museums. I feel like I am ahead of the game so can relax a little for the time being.
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Old 02-22-2012, 01:45 PM   #16
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Since starting this thread, I've begun reading "Vagabonding" by Rolf Potts and I think that there is still something in me that is driving me towards FIRE. It is not the just the want to escape a terrible job, but also a desire to experience life to the fullest. To meet new interesting people, read books at a slow pace, learn to fish, and sleep under the stars.

I've discussed with some mentors and colleagues in my field what they thought if I thought took off a year to travel and most think that the gap will look bad on a resume.
That book is one of my favorites, Banker. I return to it time and again.

Here's what I know about the year off deal--you won't want to come back, at least to the life you had before, so the resume may not be all that important. I know that any time I've taken in chunks has resulted in less desire to apply my nose to the grindstone, not more.

I've been following a blog called the Professional Hobo (she was a financial planner in Canada) and found her insight into that year off idea particularly interesting. She got the offer for the sabbatical...and didn't take it. How I Became the Professional Hobo (Part II: The Logistics) | The Professional Hobo

I enjoyed your thoughts on what you might be missing out on, and I agree. There are a lot of really awesome people out there, beyond our own vistas. And we don't have all that much time to meet them and see what else the world has to offer.
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Old 02-22-2012, 01:56 PM   #17
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I too had a high stress/high pay job. Travelled about 200 days a year internationally, racked up 4 million air miles in just a few years. Had a ball, made a bundle!!!

Never thought of retiring, let alone early.

Then, we sold the company and at 51 found myself with a big chunk of change....and a "no work for two years" order (unless I wanted to forfeit some $$).

Everyone, including DW and all my friends were terrified that I'd go mad.

From day one, I never missed it one day. Just found other things that interested me. Its been eight years now and once in a while I get a job offer and I think about it for a few minutes and then decide to pass. You come to value your freedom/time.

Couple that to several close friends who've died in their 50's (but oh, so successful) and you realize that life is too short.

I agree with another poster: If you take a year off, you may go back to work but likely doing something else.

Just go do something that makes you happy.

My two CENTS.
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Old 02-22-2012, 02:56 PM   #18
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Since starting this thread, I've begun reading "Vagabonding" by Rolf Potts and I think that there is still something in me that is driving me towards FIRE. It is not the just the want to escape a terrible job, but also a desire to experience life to the fullest. To meet new interesting people, read books at a slow pace, learn to fish, and sleep under the stars.
The documentary linked in this thread is worth a look. One of the "nomads" that the writer meets up with on 2 different occaisions is a 37 year old Wall Street guy who has become FI enough to experience a totally different life, and is roaming all over the US in his SUV, that he lives in. He does some part time work now and again to reduce the withdrawal rate of his savings. Looks like he is really enjoying the experience and doesn't know if or when he will give it up and settle down.

cool bbc movie on nomads in USA
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Old 02-22-2012, 09:43 PM   #19
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We just watched the documentary and it was fantastic! Highly recommended!
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Old 02-24-2012, 03:04 AM   #20
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People's wishes and expectations change as time goes by. This is normal. You have a low stress job that you like. Enjoy it while it lasts. My two cents only.

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in.

Well that's just my two sense for today FWIW.
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