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Hit FIRE Target At Young Age, Now What?
Old 02-09-2021, 08:37 AM   #1
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Hit FIRE Target At Young Age, Now What?

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?
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Old 02-09-2021, 08:53 AM   #2
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With a family I would think the last thing you'd be is aimless. You already have a focus. I punched out at 38 without a family and never felt aimless or had that "now what?" feeling. Give it some time. Like any other headache it'll probably go away on its own. Congratz.



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Originally Posted by capitalhockey View Post
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?
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Old 02-09-2021, 08:57 AM   #3
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With a family I would think the last thing you'd be is aimless. You already have a focus. I punched out at 38 without a family and never felt aimless or had that "now what?" feeling. Give it some time. Like any other headache it'll probably go away on its own. Congratz.
Thanks. I a guess aimless is the wrong word. It just felt like a change in mental orientation from having tunnel vision on a goal for many years to looking for new goals at this stage in my life.

Yes, I am more family oriented now and the job has faded into the background.
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Old 02-09-2021, 09:00 AM   #4
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Congrats on achieving your goal so early. You have clearly built up strong “work muscles” and now you’re wondering where to apply them, or letting them atrophy until your 50s while you “cruise.”

I feel a bit of the same, having FIREd last year at 54, so if I had the answer, I’d tell you. I think I was clear that my profession no longer interested me, so my own solution was to bail 100% and force myself to figure out what the next thing is. Now there’s a lot of time to fill. I’m drawn to some part time, online entrepreneurial ideas and am checking them out one by one to find niches I like.

At least you know you have options and are willing to exercise them. A lot of people won’t do that, even when they could. Stockholm Syndrome, some call it.
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Old 02-09-2021, 09:03 AM   #5
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Congrats on achieving your goal so early. You have clearly built up strong “work muscles” and now you’re wondering where to apply them, or letting them atrophy until your 50s while you “cruise.”

I feel a bit of the same, having FIREd last year at 54, so if I had the answer, I’d tell you. I think I was clear that my profession no longer interested me, so my own solution was to bail 100% and force myself to figure out what the next thing is. Now there’s a lot of time to fill. I’m drawn to some part time, online entrepreneurial ideas and am checking them out one by one to find niches I like.

At least you know you have options and are willing to exercise them. A lot of people won’t do that, even when they could. Stockholm Syndrome, some call it.
That's awesome to hear....hope to be like you in 10 years!

Was there any wish that you had more fun earlier in your life while you were striving for FIRE?

I have some regrets for not traveling more or spending money in my 20s/30s.
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Old 02-09-2021, 09:11 AM   #6
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Congratulations! That's a great financial achievement, due to your hard work and sacrafices, but you realize it was at the expense of some personal growth and identity (which is not uncommon).

If you already won the game, then I would ask yourself why run up the score if the work isn't bringing you purpose, happiness, or joy?

How easy is it to find another coasting job in your field? Taking time off may help you find something else you are passionate about and want to spend your time doing - possibly helping raise the children full time, a new hobby, or volunteering, etc. If you don't find something you enjoy more than work, can you go back to an easy coasting job easily? (even if it was low pay, as it wouldn't be for the money).
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Old 02-09-2021, 09:22 AM   #7
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Congratulations! That's a great financial achievement, due to your hard work and sacrafices, but you realize it was at the expense of some personal growth and identity (which is not uncommon).

If you already won the game, then I would ask yourself why run up the score if the work isn't bringing you purpose, happiness, or joy?

How easy is it to find another coasting job in your field? Taking time off may help you find something else you are passionate about and want to spend your time doing - possibly helping raise the children full time, a new hobby, or volunteering, etc. If you don't find something you enjoy more than work, can you go back to an easy coasting job easily? (even if it was low pay, as it wouldn't be for the money).
Thanks, it's actually very hard to find a coasting job in my field. I really lucked out with current position. I hope to ride this low stress work until I retire in my 50s.

With that being said, I hope to use free time to raise kids, travel and pursue hobbies outside of work. Things that weren't on my radar when I was chasing FIRE target.
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Old 02-09-2021, 09:26 AM   #8
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Bravo! I'd focus on finding things that satisfy you and make a positive societal difference. Perhaps cleaning a public park or assistant youth hockey coach, or maybe sitting on the PTA board. But don't overwhelm yourself and don't be afraid to drop something if it doesn't turn out to be rewarding.
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Old 02-09-2021, 09:39 AM   #9
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Many years before I retired, I thought I'd be able to retire in my early 50s. But things began to fall into place quickly in my early 40s, even having switched to working part-time instead of full-time starting at age 38. That switch to part-time allowed me to regain control of my personal life including the resurrection of old hobbies and finding some new ones.

When the rest of the pieces fell into place, including my hitting a certain target number in 2008, I wasted little time in retiring. I was working only 2 days a week at the time, so the transition to working zero days was very, very simple. I was able to expand my existing hobbies and other activities without worrying about the frequent scheduling conflicts with my slim work schedule.
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Old 02-09-2021, 09:42 AM   #10
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Bravo! I'd focus on finding things that satisfy you and make a positive societal difference. Perhaps cleaning a public park or assistant youth hockey coach, or maybe sitting on the PTA board. But don't overwhelm yourself and don't be afraid to drop something if it doesn't turn out to be rewarding.
Those are great ideas....I am looking forward to coaching sports for my kids....they just currently too young for that (a baby and a toddler). I am about 5 years or more away from those activities.

In the mean time, it's diapers and nap time!
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Old 02-09-2021, 09:43 AM   #11
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Many years before I retired, I thought I'd be able to retire in my early 50s. But things began to fall into place quickly in my early 40s, even having switched to working part-time instead of full-time starting at age 38. That switch to part-time allowed me to regain control of my personal life including the resurrection of old hobbies and finding some new ones.

When the rest of the pieces fell into place, including my hitting a certain target number in 2008, I wasted little time in retiring. I was working only 2 days a week at the time, so the transition to working zero days was very, very simple. I was able to expand my existing hobbies and other activities without worrying about the frequent scheduling conflicts with my slim work schedule.
Wow...that's great to hear....sounds like a smooth transition for you. What old and new hobbies did you partake in?


Did you increased you travels with free time?
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Old 02-09-2021, 09:50 AM   #12
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Wow...that's great to hear....sounds like a smooth transition for you. What old and new hobbies did you partake in?


Did you increased you travels with free time?
The old hobby I resurrected was square dancing, something I hadn't done since 1988. That hobby lasted for 17 years until the caller died in 2018 at age 85.

And, as my username suggests, I began my involvement with the local school Scrabble program. This included visiting several area schools as a guru, and eventually running some small tourneys after the larger regional tourney stopped in 2006. Covid shut the schools down in 2020 and with it the program (some teachers retiring also contributed).

Because I had become so burnt out from the commute, my desire to travel has greatly diminished to nearly zero.
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Old 02-09-2021, 09:58 AM   #13
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Congratulations on reaching your FI goal. Having a low stress job sounds wonderful, especially having two young children. Hopefully, it gives you an opportunity to have more family time and focus on what is important to your and your wife.
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Old 02-09-2021, 10:34 AM   #14
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Knowing that you have enough money could make work difficult because you may lose motivation. So good luck for your cruise.
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Old 02-09-2021, 10:42 AM   #15
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Knowing that you have enough money could make work difficult because you may lose motivation. So good luck for your cruise.
Yes, you are totally right!! It has been hard to be industrial like I am used to for many years. I am a high achiever, type A person. I have to teach myself to ratcheted down from great to good/acceptable work products. It goes against every fiber of my body.

Did you have the same experience?
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Old 02-09-2021, 10:43 AM   #16
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Congratulations on reaching your FI goal. Having a low stress job sounds wonderful, especially having two young children. Hopefully, it gives you an opportunity to have more family time and focus on what is important to your and your wife.
Thanks. My current goal now is to get both kids potty trained so I can stop changing poppy diapers. Big change from FIRE target goal! : )
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Old 02-09-2021, 11:04 AM   #17
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Congrats. There’s not one path that’s right for everyone. I reached FI by 51 and retired at 57. Now that I’m 66, and DW retired much later than I expected, I should’ve worked a few more years just to pad the nest egg - but hindsight is a wonderful thing. In my opinion, reaching FI is a goal unto itself, not a reason to retire. If you don’t hate your job, I’d keep working. Unless you know your in poor health and/or your family longevity is shorter - you can’t have too much $ and most of us will have plenty of years to enjoy retirement even if you’re 65. YMMV
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Old 02-09-2021, 11:13 AM   #18
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Sounds like you're in a great position. I cruised for about my last 10 years, cutting back to part time the last few.

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Was there any wish that you had more fun earlier in your life while you were striving for FIRE?

I have some regrets for not traveling more or spending money in my 20s/30s.
You can't change this, so don't dwell on it. Learn what you can from it, and go on with your future.
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Old 02-09-2021, 11:14 AM   #19
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Congrats. There’s not one path that’s right for everyone. I reached FI by 51 and retired at 57. Now that I’m 66, and DW retired much later than I expected, I should’ve worked a few more years just to pad the nest egg - but hindsight is a wonderful thing. In my opinion, reaching FI is a goal unto itself, not a reason to retire. If you don’t hate your job, I’d keep working. You can’t have too much and most of us will have plenty of years to enjoy retirement even if you’re 65. YMMV
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.
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Old 02-09-2021, 11:16 AM   #20
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Sounds like you're in a great position. I cruised for about my last 10 years, cutting back to part time the last few.


You can't change this, so don't dwell on it. Learn what you can from it, and go on with your future.
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?
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