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Old 02-09-2021, 11:35 AM   #21
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I was a lot older before I hit the mark of working when financially I didn't have to. I won't address "aimless," but there is a great comfort when going into w*rk knowing no financial calamity will happen if one were to lose that j*b.
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Old 02-09-2021, 11:44 AM   #22
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That's great insight...thanks for sharing. I am glad I don't hate my job and can continue working some more years until RE.

I feel like I have reached "lean" FI....a number that covers our annual basic expenses. I am now just working to pad up the cushion for extras like more travel and fun money.
I can't say I had different levels of FIRE. One unbreakable condition for me being able to ER was that my daily, everyday life would not be impacted. That is, I would not have downgrade or reduce anything about my regular spending which included a decent cushion to cover any occasional spending "spree" (which for me is hardly huge). If I had to buy something, I'd buy it. If I wanted to do something which cost a few more bucks, I'd do it. I never wanted to worry that it would bust my budget; all the extra spending would do was to reduce my cushion. Setting up a "slush fund" would cover any larger expenses.
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Old 02-09-2021, 01:10 PM   #23
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After many very stressful jobs, I switched over to a low stress position now that I have a wife and kids. I recently hit my FIRE target number at 39 so it felt good to reach the milestone. I don't plan to retire at this age but want to make up for the lost opportunities in my 20s and 30s - to enjoy the fruits of my labor/sacrifice. I also plan to "cruise" at my job until my 50s since it's low stress and good pay with benefits.

It's feels kinda of strange to hit FIRE target at young age and getting this feeling of "now what?". When you spend so many years striving for goal, I feel aimless now. I felt a lost of purpose so to speak.

Anyone feel the same way? Any advice?

Congrats on hitting your minimum number so early. So if you are already at the minimum funding level, how long would it take to attain your "middle of the road" and "fat FIRE" targets? I doubt it would take until 50 yo to get to these levels. I wouldn't recommend walking away at minimum FIRE with young kids and an OK job, but would you consider moving on if the numbers w*rk out well before 50 something? In other words, why would you plan to w*rk into your 50's if you have more $$ than you could realistically need before then? Are you waiting for a pension or other payout or is there a non-financial reason?

Sounds like you regret missing out on fun in your 20's due to w*rk. Does you current j*b allow you to enjoy your life (family, travel, hobbies, whatever) and not have any regrets? If not, I'd consider quitting as soon as you are comfortable financially. I'd hate to see you again regretting not living your life in your 40s or even 50's when financial freedom is so close.

Nords uses the expression "fog of w*rk" that's pretty popular around here. I was 5 years into FIRE before I discovered what I really wanted to do, which was move out of the frozen north in favor of the beautiful American southwest desert. I probably needed 5 years of decompression in retirement to have enough mental space for this realization. It would never have happened while w*rking my boring, painful j*b.
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Old 02-09-2021, 02:48 PM   #24
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Congrats on hitting your minimum number so early. So if you are already at the minimum funding level, how long would it take to attain your "middle of the road" and "fat FIRE" targets? I doubt it would take until 50 yo to get to these levels. I wouldn't recommend walking away at minimum FIRE with young kids and an OK job, but would you consider moving on if the numbers w*rk out well before 50 something? In other words, why would you plan to w*rk into your 50's if you have more $$ than you could realistically need before then? Are you waiting for a pension or other payout or is there a non-financial reason?

Sounds like you regret missing out on fun in your 20's due to w*rk. Does you current j*b allow you to enjoy your life (family, travel, hobbies, whatever) and not have any regrets? If not, I'd consider quitting as soon as you are comfortable financially. I'd hate to see you again regretting not living your life in your 40s or even 50's when financial freedom is so close.

Nords uses the expression "fog of w*rk" that's pretty popular around here. I was 5 years into FIRE before I discovered what I really wanted to do, which was move out of the frozen north in favor of the beautiful American southwest desert. I probably needed 5 years of decompression in retirement to have enough mental space for this realization. It would never have happened while w*rking my boring, painful j*b.
I don't have an exact number for middle or fat FIRE. We are on schedule to pay off our mortgage early so that will get rid of our biggest yearly expense. I just joke with my wife that the more cushion we pad up in the next 10 years, the more our kids will inherit. Unless we plan to eat filet mignon and caviar every night, we should have more than enough to be comfortable.
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Old 02-09-2021, 02:49 PM   #25
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I can't say I had different levels of FIRE. One unbreakable condition for me being able to ER was that my daily, everyday life would not be impacted. That is, I would not have downgrade or reduce anything about my regular spending which included a decent cushion to cover any occasional spending "spree" (which for me is hardly huge). If I had to buy something, I'd buy it. If I wanted to do something which cost a few more bucks, I'd do it. I never wanted to worry that it would bust my budget; all the extra spending would do was to reduce my cushion. Setting up a "slush fund" would cover any larger expenses.
What has been your biggest spending in retirement? Travels? Golf? Eating out?
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Old 02-09-2021, 02:50 PM   #26
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I was a lot older before I hit the mark of working when financially I didn't have to. I won't address "aimless," but there is a great comfort when going into w*rk knowing no financial calamity will happen if one were to lose that j*b.
It has been a nice comfort to know that our annual expenses will be covered even if both my wife and I lose our jobs. She has recently switched over to part-time work since we don't need the full income. That allowed her to spend more time with our kids and lowered stress.
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Old 02-09-2021, 03:29 PM   #27
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What has been your biggest spending in retirement? Travels? Golf? Eating out?
Most years it's medical costs, mainly health insurance. Some years it was housing, my co-op's monthly maintenance charges.
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Old 02-13-2021, 07:54 PM   #28
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Nords uses the expression "fog of w*rk" that's pretty popular around here. I was 5 years into FIRE before I discovered what I really wanted to do, which was move out of the frozen north in favor of the beautiful American southwest desert. I probably needed 5 years of decompression in retirement to have enough mental space for this realization. It would never have happened while w*rking my boring, painful j*b.
Thanks, FreeBear!

Here's where it all started on this forum in 2009:
https://www.early-retirement.org/for...ork-42328.html

And here's the blog version from January 2011, which was also published in the book:
https://the-military-guide.com/the-fog-of-work/
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Old 02-13-2021, 08:09 PM   #29
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Yes, I plan to loosen up the wallet a bit and enjoy some nice things with my wife and kids (vacations, etc.). Just waiting for this Covid thing to be over with!

Maybe I can make up for past regrets in my 40s and 50s?
Maybe another way to look at it is to stop entertaining "regret" and celebrate your achievement. Your willingness to work hard and make some sacrifices has landed you in this new chapter of your life.

Focus on today and all of the opportunities you have to experience life with less work stress, more financial security, and more time to spend with your family and doing things you want to do. What's that saying?..."don't let your yesterdays take up too much of today"...
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Old 02-14-2021, 05:03 PM   #30
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I don't want to hijack the thread too much, but I have a somewhat similar situation, in that I basically just worked in the office job until 40-ish when I realized I probably had enough to just stop working. Meanwhile, I watched others go out and "do things" while (presumably) not saving, and I find myself wondering if I did the right thing. I don't even mean living the spendthrift lifestyle, the "do things" that I envy are things like developing skills, learning languages, making connections, participating in communities, and the like. That doesn't necessarily take much money, but it takes time. Meanwhile, I was heads down in the office job, and if asked what have I been doing for the last 15 years, very little answer would come to mind other than "working." I guess that's what they mean by selling away your life for security.

However, what's done is done. I don't know about the fears and worries of those who have not been saving, but I'll bet they have a few! Saving and becoming FI should theoretically give us the freedom to do the living without the fear... if only we can train ourselves out of the fear. I guess that's part of what you're worrying about, or at least its my version of that.

As far as missed opportunities, surely many have passed by, but more should come up in due course. That's what I hope anyway, and from others posts it seems like it can be the case. At 40 I hope to have 40 more active years so... stay healthy!

I don't personally have the worry about too few interests, because I've always had too many. But I've had them on hold for so long due to brainpower being consumed by the daily grind, that I fear I've forgotten how to do anything other than grind, or lost the motivation and creativity that in younger years seemed to just spring up naturally. That's why I enjoyed reading Nords "Fog of Work" article, because it implies that once we can get away from the grind or reduce its grindiness for a bit of time then the clouds will lift.

I believe it, because I've experienced a small version of it on a staycation which I was never able to do pre-COVID (wife: you have time off? let's go places, do things!). For the first week I generally slacked off but tried not to guilt myself too much over it. By the end of the second week I started taking an interest in fixing things around the house, restarting stalled projects, etc. Just in time for work to start up again!

To be clear, I say "grind" but it's actually been a pretty pleasant grind for the most part. Luxurious compared to most of the rest of the world. But maybe that has its own kind of danger.

Anyway, I don't have any answers, I'm just wondering about some of the same things myself. Turning down the intensity of the grind sounds like a good plan.
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Old 02-18-2021, 03:51 AM   #31
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I've told the story many times, but just as I became financially independent, my "dream j*b" came along. So I stayed 7 more years. When the dream suddenly turned to a nightmare (I mean, one day it was great - the next day the rug was pulled out) I retired. SO, don't feel bad about staying (and don't feel bad if you decide to either retire or try something else.) You have OPTIONS.
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Old 02-18-2021, 05:32 AM   #32
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I also hit an early target # at an early age, but I found that the number had been intended for a much later age and was not correct at that moment. Also, inflation had not been factored in. I eventually RE'd, overfunded, at 57.
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Old 02-19-2021, 08:34 AM   #33
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Sorry to hear that you put off your 20's and most of your 30's to accumulate money. Im glad we traveled a lot when wife and I were in our 20's/30's...still in late 30's.
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Old 02-19-2021, 09:38 AM   #34
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Congratulations on your financial success and your commitment to it. I used to irritate one of my bosses by saying "No person ever said on their death bed I wished I had worked more hours." He felt I needed do give more than the already 12 hours a day I was working at the time if I wanted to climb the ladder.

As others have already stated, being FI does not mean you need to retire or even change your lifestyle. FI provides options and opportunities. It allowed me at 59 to say I no longer want to do this anymore after my company went through its 3rd restructure in 2 1/2 years.

You mention kids. Make sure you have college savings plans in place for them and are funding sufficiently. I have just one child and thought for years that I had enough saved for 5 kids to attend college. Steady tuition increases and a private university reduced that amount to covering about 3 years worth. Mostly, enjoy the time with your kids. They grow up very fast!

Do not regret your 20's/30's, they served a purpose and helped get you to where you are. Life is a constant learning and experiencing process. For me it is a lot like driving a car. Use the rear view mirror occasionally to see where you came from. Otherwise enjoy the road ahead and the many destinations yet to come. Roll the windows down and turn up the radio!

Again, congratulations. Enjoy the fruits of your labor and commitment!
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Old 02-19-2021, 11:18 AM   #35
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I recently hit my FIRE target....this is after being miserable in my 20s and 30s climbing the career ladder and constantly chasing promotions by working long hours, late nights and weekends. I also lived below my means compared to my peers so I could invest more funds.



After many very stressful jobs, I switched over to a low stress position now that I have a wife and kids. I recently hit my FIRE target number at 39 so it felt good to reach the milestone. I don't plan to retire at this age but want to make up for the lost opportunities in my 20s and 30s - to enjoy the fruits of my labor/sacrifice. I also plan to "cruise" at my job until my 50s since it's low stress and good pay with benefits.



It's feels kinda of strange to hit FIRE target at young age and getting this feeling of "now what?". When you spend so many years striving for goal, I feel aimless now. I felt a lost of purpose so to speak.



Anyone feel the same way? Any advice?


Keep working some more but make taking vacations snd traveling now a high priority. Much easier and more fun to travel at your current age. If you really live it and are lucky enough to be healthy and mobile later in life, just keep doing more!
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Old 02-19-2021, 11:23 AM   #36
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I can't say I had different levels of FIRE. One unbreakable condition for me being able to ER was that my daily, everyday life would not be impacted. That is, I would not have downgrade or reduce anything about my regular spending which included a decent cushion to cover any occasional spending "spree" (which for me is hardly huge). If I had to buy something, I'd buy it. If I wanted to do something which cost a few more bucks, I'd do it. I never wanted to worry that it would bust my budget; all the extra spending would do was to reduce my cushion. Setting up a "slush fund" would cover any larger expenses.
Scrabbler1 ,
I am curious about your slush fund. Could you please tell me a little more about it. I would be interested in setting one up for myself. How did you decide how much your slush fund would be and where do you keep your slush fund invested?
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Old 02-19-2021, 11:30 AM   #37
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Congrats on "Winning the Game". Now you need to decide what REALLY makes you HAPPY (family, traveling, volunteering, hobbies...). It's your time now. Don't worry, be happy!
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Old 02-19-2021, 12:17 PM   #38
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Scrabbler1 ,
I am curious about your slush fund. Could you please tell me a little more about it. I would be interested in setting one up for myself. How did you decide how much your slush fund would be and where do you keep your slush fund invested?
I am being a little generous with my nomenclature. This slush fund acts as a second-tier emergency fund and has existed going back to my early working days. My first-tier EF is a small cushion in my local bank's checking account I tap into to cover smaller, unforeseen (but more common) expenses. This larger second-tier EF is used to cover larger, unforeseen (but less common) expenses the first-tier EF can't cover. That's its purpose.

So, this slush fund is a holdover from my working days, but smaller than it was in my working days because it is an intermediate-term muni bond fund. When I was working, and my income in a higher tax bracket (and the tax brackets were higher in the 1990s and 2000s than they are today), it paid to have my bond allocation in muni bonds.

In 2008, before I ERed, I had about 50% of my AA in muni bonds. In the first few years of my ER, I made a concerted effort to reduce my muni bond holdings because my marginal tax bracket went down a lot. Instead, I directly and indirectly transferred funds into a taxable bond fund. My muni bond holding dropped to about 9%, with the new balance reduced to my comfortable but relatively minimal "slush fund" amount (around $45k).

This bond fund also has checkwriting privileges, something you don't find much outside of money market accounts these days. This provides added liquidity and easier access than having to transfer money from a mutual fund account to my local bank first, then write a check. And this fund earns about 2-2.5% annual, mostly tax-free income per year, with some but not a big risk to principal. I have written 18 checks in the 26 years I have been in this fund, so I rarely need to withdraw from it, and I have basically broken even on them overall.

Does that help?
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Old 02-19-2021, 12:44 PM   #39
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I am being a little generous with my nomenclature. This slush fund acts as a second-tier emergency fund and has existed going back to my early working days. My first-tier EF is a small cushion in my local bank's checking account I tap into to cover smaller, unforeseen (but more common) expenses. This larger second-tier EF is used to cover larger, unforeseen (but less common) expenses the first-tier EF can't cover. That's its purpose.

So, this slush fund is a holdover from my working days, but smaller than it was in my working days because it is an intermediate-term muni bond fund. When I was working, and my income in a higher tax bracket (and the tax brackets were higher in the 1990s and 2000s than they are today), it paid to have my bond allocation in muni bonds.

In 2008, before I ERed, I had about 50% of my AA in muni bonds. In the first few years of my ER, I made a concerted effort to reduce my muni bond holdings because my marginal tax bracket went down a lot. Instead, I directly and indirectly transferred funds into a taxable bond fund. My muni bond holding dropped to about 9%, with the new balance reduced to my comfortable but relatively minimal "slush fund" amount (around $45k).

This bond fund also has checkwriting privileges, something you don't find much outside of money market accounts these days. This provides added liquidity and easier access than having to transfer money from a mutual fund account to my local bank first, then write a check. And this fund earns about 2-2.5% annual, mostly tax-free income per year, with some but not a big risk to principal. I have written 18 checks in the 26 years I have been in this fund, so I rarely need to withdraw from it, and I have basically broken even on them overall.

Does that help?
It helps a lot. Thank you.
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Old 02-23-2021, 05:01 PM   #40
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Living in low-cost Louisiana, we could have FIRE'd at my age 40. Instead, we brought our business to Hawaii, & had to start building again. FIRE'd two years ago (I'm now 74), & have zero regrets,
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