Good article Sam on fine-tuning the FI tribe. It maybe the dream among FI folks to be at “blockbuster” level – also called FatFIRE in Reddit subs- but it’s actually not necessary to kill your self in the rat race for it if one is worried. Expenses play a huge part, of which, just housing alone is a big driver in FIRE comfort scale. Saving even only $500 a month in housing costs (either downsize or move to a LCOL place) can move many people into a very comfortable FIRE position. From leanFIRE, they can move to baseline FIRE quite easily after they save this much in housing. I know folks who have done this in Asia, and no, you don’t need to move to crazy place like Pyongyang to be a king. Nice locales in Malaysia, Thailand, Ecuador, India and even Eastern Europe are all available if people are open to it. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea though.
But I have bills due! One mindset that makes saving money easier is to pay yourself first. It was a concept I first read about in Rich Dad Poor Dad and I thought it was really interesting. The author essentially stated that he would save as much as possible before any bills were due and would leave just enough to make sure he had no late payments on bills.
I recall an article about this very topic from a long time ago (early 1990s?) in the Wall Street Journal. They also outlined three levels of retirement financial readiness that they described in food terms as “beer and pretzels”, “steak and wine”, and “champagne and caviar”. I recall their nest egg targets were 2M, 6M, and 20M in USD for these ranges. These would be much higher today after adjusting for inflation.
Humans back to and including the Cro-Magnons seem to have had clearly defined rulers and status hierarchies. Digs in Russia at the Sungir Archaeological Site have revealed elaborate funeral clothing on a man and a pair of children buried there approximately 28,000 years ago. This indicates a considerable accumulation of wealth by some individuals or families. The high artisan skill also suggest the capacity to direct specialized labor to tasks that are not of any obvious utility to the group's survival.
When I took the plunge it was paradise for about 3 months, but got bored of the lazy days, warm beaches, and amazing sunsets. Kind of like the big island once the nature wears off. I was drinking more. I know some of you may think I am an alcoholic, but I have never been, but I did not like that I was drinking more. I also got a dangerous reputation for having money. I never showed real wealth, but I tend to give money away especially for education and this caused some jealousy. The ladies started to have more interest in me, and the local men did not always appreciate it. An analogy could be a celebrity with money and time off. I am no celebrity. I eventually moved to a major city and enrolled in a language school, because I could not adjust to just being alive. Two years later I returned to my career in the bay area after meeting my partner from Japan who is a well-known designer in those circles. You have never heard of her. Sometimes she designs hands bags for fashion industry and secret startups. I only mentioned her because I think the goal is to find something you enjoy and get paid for it. Why would she not want to work. Semi-retirement has been a better path for me. Maybe it’s like doubles tennis, I will play that when I can’t run well anymore and I’m getting there.
Working part time after FI is a great way to supplement your FI savings and is something I’m considering as well (see semiretirement). There are many fun jobs I can think of that I would enjoy doing part time so I may pick up some part-time work after leaving my full-time job this year. We’ll see though…it’s possible I’ll enjoy being jobless even more than I expect I will :)
Robin, I was reading through the comments and saw your post. I don’t know if you will see this since it is so much later. I am a small animal veterinarian in Eastern Washington State. I was privileged and had support with education but still had about 70k in student loans. I will easily reach blockbuster level by 40. I am nearly 37 now. I did it through ownership. That increases income dramatically. Additionally, it is an investment, my biggest, that you can sell when your done. Essentially, it allows you to earn income twice, once through dividends and then secondly through capital gains when you sell. I am also currently investing in real estate and downsized my primary residence. I had to transition my mentality about money and define wants vs needs but I did it. I still see other associate vets I work with that will barely scrape enough by the time they are 65. If you want to talk more please feel free to reach out to me.
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