New here: looking for encouragement :)
Glad to be a part of the community:)
I chanced upon this community when searching for inspirational stories to re-energize myself. It's often a lonely path.
I've been on FIRE for almost 5 years now, although I've experienced plenty of success, I'm still a very long way from being truly FIRE. (Betw, I'm not American, so I may not completely be able to relate to things like 401K). Married with no kids , ive been living strictly by the mantra "if I don't need it, I won't buy it". I've gone from a $20k networth to a $270k in 5 years, but the majority of that was via saving what I earned, and more than $100k is locked in a real estate I regretted purchasing, 30k is in a life insurance account which can be cashed but I'll rather not. I didn't even get into the stock market until the covid pandemic hit. Life occasionally also got in the way of savings, and switching careers midway didn't help either.
I do have more than 200k trapped in a pension account, which I cannot access until I'm 55, unless I gave up my citizenship. I've already migrated so that's half the job done but the thought of giving up my citizenship is an emotionally difficult choice to make. I used to be pretty certain I'll apply for citizenship in my new host country but covid and the amount of racism I've experienced during that period showed me that I'll never be accepted as part of the community for as long as I look and sound different.
I feel I've made a lot of mistakes along the way, which has set me back from my FIRE plan. If I had learned to invest in the stock markets earlier I might have accelerated the journey by 2-3 years. I started investing during the pandemic and made a tidy sum, so that made me feel a bit better about myself.
I'm already 37, though I'm holding a good finance job that pays well and bosses are fantastic, truth is I'll still much rather be doing something else everyday. FIRE has been on my mind every single day of the last 5 years, it literally consumes me sometimes. My goal is to retire by 43 with at least $700k, and work a part time job - something that is easy , not having to worry about money all the time. , but the more I think about it the more farfetched it seems. I've only 6 years left until 43 and unless the stock market explodes between now and then it will be nearly impossible. The more I dwell on it the more discouraged I feel. I'm married and my spouse is generally on board with FIRE, but she does not share my level of passion and conviction, so I'm pretty much working alone.
This bit of ranting has made me feel a lot better. Thanks everyone and good night.
I bet many of us can relate to some parts of your story and history; AND I certainly find elements of your tale very interesting.
May I ask how much your expenses are, i.e., what is the cost of living in your adopted area or your native land?
Hi there :)
My expenses in both my adopted land and native land are fairly high, but my adopted land is probably significantly higher due to the much higher taxes here but in the absence of tax everything actually works out to be fairly similar.
Mortgage : $21k a year
Other mandatory property expenses : $5k a year
Utilities : $2.5k a year
Servicing, fuel and car insurance (car fully paid off): $3k a year
Private health insurance : $2k a year
Food and entertainment: $10k a year
Internet and phone: $1.2k a year
Miscellaneous: $3-5k a year
All in all, around 50k a year for a fairly comfortable living. I know $700k is not going to be enough, even assuming a 5% dividend portfolio, but the aim was to be financially independent *enough* to not have to worry about losing my job, or even be able to pursue a different career based on motivations other than money. Ideally I would like a 1.2 million portfolio, but I don't anticipate working full time until 50 - I want to be young enough to still travel without health issues.
Dan, welcome to the forum. I'm a newbie too.
From your numbers and your mantra, you are doing great! I am 52 and made by far the most progress on my FIRE journey between ages 40 and now. At your age, I had not even really started, except that I was frugal and had some mutual funds. I had no personal money mantra, and my net worth (as I recall) was about $300K, a third of which was in a small house.
Around age 40, I read a couple of very influential books and adopted a mantra similar to yours. Now, more than 12 years on, I have $1.2M and am considering calling it quits on work and career.
So financially you are in a much better position than I was even at 40. From $20K net worth to $270K in 5 years is stellar.
The obstacles I see for you are all mental. You describe some of your assets and future income as "trapped" and "locked," and you cite feelings of regret and "life getting in the way."
Wow, these are some big walls you are building for yourself. Those assets are not locked or trapped. They are waiting patiently for you. And life does not "get in the way." It just happens.
You say "the more I dwell on it the more discouraged I feel" and "I'm pretty much working alone." These too are pretty thick walls. Further, you say you are "already 37," as if that is old. You will laugh someday when you are 50 and realize how young that is.
What about all those "mistakes" you've made? Clearly your numbers show that you have done a lot of smart things too. "Mistakes" are just lessons, and success rarely comes without them. Cut yourself some slack -- a lot of it.
I started investing in mutual funds at age 22 and made several dumb moves between then and 40. Sure, I wish I could go back and redo some things, but here I am just fine 30 years later.
Regarding your mantra: "If I don't need it, I won't buy it." Not bad, but you can cut yourself some slack here too. It's OK to buy things you want. My mantra is "Does this purchase align with my deepest personal values?" Amazing how much progress I have made with this simple question.
To me, FIRE is a lifestyle more than a goal. It is something I enjoy every day, not something I hope to have one day. If you keep your happiness always in the future, you will never get there. Forget 43 or any other milestone. Just do the work of FIRE (earning, saving, spending carefully) and enjoy each step. This work will continue your whole life. If you cannot enjoy each day -- starting today -- you will not be able to enjoy it later -- not at 43 or 53 or 63. You've got to get this figured out now.
Side note on being 50: Don't assume you will have health issues then. You might, you might not. People are still traveling the world at 80 and beyond.
Finally, you describe your post as ranting when in fact it is a pretty deep, honest, courageous, and intelligent assessment of where you feel you are. We all go through this. It can happen at any age. What you describe as your "passion and conviction" (which your spouse does not share) might be more of a fear that you might want to look deeper into and find the root of. Money can buy a lot of things, even FIRE, but it won't do your inner work for you. Evidently you are feeling "trapped" and "locked up," mentally or emotionally or both, and this is understandable. I think most of us have been there too.
Sorry if this seems like a rant. I mean it all in loving kindness and wish you well. You're in a great spot in many ways and will do very well if you just stick with it and get past the mental barriers.
Thanks for your very insightful response :)
I agree with the things you have mentioned, and appreciate your detailed analysis. I hadn't realised I was subconsciously being so pessimistic in outlook, judging by the number of negative words I've used.
The part on "FIRE is a lifestyle more than a goal. It is something I enjoy every day, not something I hope to have one day. If you keep your happiness always in the future, you will never get there." resonated strongly with me. I don't believe retiring by 43 is the real end goal, and I've been thinking about what exactly FIRE means to me on a deeper level.
Happy to meet a fellow "FIREe" and thanks for sharing your story :)
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