Living a FI (Update)

Simple living, extreme early retirement, being wealthy, ...
Western Red Cedar
Posts: 303
Joined: Tue Sep 01, 2020 2:15 pm

Re: Living a FI (Update)

Post by Western Red Cedar »

7Wannabe5 wrote:
Sun Mar 21, 2021 8:37 am
I so don’t grok this problem.

OTOH, I think it is often the case that we lock ourselves in too tight in our lifestyles/budgets in ways that limit our freedom beyond need to work full time for other. For instance, it’s more difficult to keep yourself busy/amused with projects/activities/excursions if you don’t have anything resembling a workshop...

It think the GRS article Jacob linked to above speaks to some of my reservations. I've always been a high performer/high achiever type in school and work. Through work, I have a lot of access to information, opportunities, technology, and relationships that I would never have as just a "regular guy" growing heirlooms, reading for leisure, going for hikes, and hanging out at home. I'm okay with walking away from my career, but I want to make sure I'm transitioning to something that wouldn't be possible while working.

It is possible this is all just an internal narrative or story I'm telling myself to give me the courage to walk away from a traditional career/life. I'm probably too wrapped up in what other people think. It's a lot easier for someone to think, "Oh, WRC is living in Buenos Aires or Medellin, studying Spanish and pursuing photography" than "WRC quit a good-paying job and just lives in the same small apartment".

I also think I would be more content retiring in place if I had my own home or land. I'm currently in an apartment, which is great for our phase of life, but I don't have a lot of space and my ability to tinker on projects is limited.

IlliniDave
Posts: 3226
Joined: Wed Apr 02, 2014 7:46 pm

Re: Living a FI (Update)

Post by IlliniDave »

Western Red Cedar wrote:
Sun Mar 21, 2021 7:51 pm
It is possible this is all just an internal narrative or story I'm telling myself to give me the courage to walk away from a traditional career/life. I'm probably too wrapped up in what other people think. It's a lot easier for someone to think, "Oh, WRC is living in Buenos Aires or Medellin, studying Spanish and pursuing photography" than "WRC quit a good-paying job and just lives in the same small apartment".
Fortunately we tend to occupy the thoughts of others much less than we imagine. :lol:

I get the desire to gain approval though. I've been guilty of casting my own plans in an idyllic light for consumption for people in the outer regions of my circle. I wish I was bold enough that gaining approval from people who will largely be forgotten (and who will forget me) within a year wasn't as helpful and encouraging as it's been. At least getting older lessens the desire for consensus approval.

Since I had the minor epiphany a number of years back, I do think it is really helpful to have future goals/vision that you can state in just a couple sentences. It's also good to bring as much of the future forward as practical. Gets some of the startup costs out of the way while income is high, makes the transition less abrupt, can weed out things that sound great until you actually do them, etc.

Not necessarily addressed to WRC, but I've noticed that coworkers who really seemed dislike their the job and everything about it tend to be among those with higher identification with career and greater need for fulfillment from it. An example is a former colleague I correspond with regularly who at 62 is still griping about younger folks getting promotions he thinks he deserves, quibbling over the "explanation" given for his annual raises, complaining about being unappreciated. He makes noise about being fed up and set on retiring but never does. I point out that he's taking stuff personally that at this juncture he shouldn't. His reply is always, "Yeah, but ...".

7Wannabe5
Posts: 7080
Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 9:03 am

Re: Living a FI (Update)

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

@WRC:

I actually came to ERE by way of bibliographic links including “The Renaissance Soul.” The usual first step in lifestyle design is values clarification. It’s important to be honest and drop judgment when you do this step. Most people on this forum value Freedom and Frugality/Conservation of Resources, but may vary otherwise. I have found that every few years my perspective changes enough that it’s a worthwhile exercise to look at a list of 200 possible values and clarify where I am now. You can’t effectively provide yourself with carrots and sticks if you don’t clarify values first.

That said, I agree that losing access to the big wad of capital attached to even just the average American worker is a problem unless you are really engaged in managing your own investment portfolio like a business. If you are moving towards independent self employment rather than passive retirement, you have to grant yourself some capital to work with and even some budget for carrots and sticks, because even when you are passively investing this is what is happening inside of your system but at greater remove. Maybe I’m not explaining very well but if you think about a continuum of more or less passive investments in any specific realm of enterprise, I think it becomes more clear.

As long as you aren’t leveraged with debt, your enterprise will be in the Renaissance quadrant rather than the Businessman quadrant and whether you’d druther truly solo projects vs projects where you intermittently take on partners or crews is likely going to be a personality type call .At least that is my take :lol:

Hristo Botev
Posts: 1278
Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2018 3:42 am

Re: Living a FI (Update)

Post by Hristo Botev »

AnalyticalEngine wrote:
Sun Mar 21, 2021 9:00 am
I'm somewhat reminded of another FIRE blog (The Power of Thrift) who went down a similar path and seems to share similar regrets about being isolated.
Well, that was a blast from the past! That blog was an early fascination for me as she was living in a HCOL area in a BigLaw job, which is exactly where I was at the time. I even had one of those charts she talked about taped to the back of my closet door, graphing expenses to PPI and watching as the numbers got closer (or farther!) away. It's been years since I checked in on her progress.

ETA: Back to the question of this thread, is this not all the same telos/techne discussion that dates back to at least Aristotle?

Hristo Botev
Posts: 1278
Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2018 3:42 am

Re: Living a FI (Update)

Post by Hristo Botev »

Regarding telos/techne, I’m no classicist, and I haven’t studied Aristotle in depth, so perhaps I don’t have a good understanding of what those terms mean. But, what I mean in using them here is that the “problem” with many (all?) FIRE blogs/books is that the “telos” is defined as some version of: your job sucks, as does a system that has you exchanging 40 hours a week for 50 weeks a year for 45 years for a paycheck and perhaps some status and a hamster wheel to distract you and occupy your time, so, save up a bunch of money so you only have to participate in this system for 5-10 years. But although that might be a fine “techne,” it’s a pretty shallow “telos.” And if you don’t bother to try and figure out your real telos, and you content yourself with simply “FIRE” as your telos, you’re going to find yourself listless and dissatisfied when/if you ever reach FIRE. Maybe your telos is generational wealth, doing what you can to ensure your kids and grandkids’ well-being and resiliency, in which case you may have no interest in “RE” at all, though you certainly have a large interest in “FI” and in constantly striving to reduce spending, to live better with less waste; to close as many loops as possible. Maybe your telos is some form of hedonism, whether through full time traveling or whatever, in which case “RE” makes perfect sense as a techne. Maybe your telos is working towards increasing income equity or whatever, or making housing more affordable for folks teetering near the poverty line, in which case “RE” may look like some form of owning a small business where you can exercise what you think are more equitable hiring and payment practices, or building up a real estate “empire” where you can be a benevolent slum lord, motivated not by profits so much because you are FI. Maybe your telos is some form of Rob Greenfield or Paul Kingsnorth eco activism. My point is that I don’t think FIRE is anyone’s end goal; we weren’t put here just to exit Plato’s Cave or unplug from the Matrix. No, God probably didn’t put you here just to be a really good and reliable cog in someone else’s machine, but you have to figure out what that ultimate purpose is; because it’s not simply not being that cog. Stated that way, I’m realizing “freedom from”-type FIRE is a telos stated in the negative, as opposed to a “freedom to”-style FIRE is a telos stated in the positive; but you still have to figure out freedom “to” what?

IlliniDave
Posts: 3226
Joined: Wed Apr 02, 2014 7:46 pm

Re: Living a FI (Update)

Post by IlliniDave »

Hristo Botev wrote:
Tue Mar 23, 2021 3:36 am
... Stated that way, I’m realizing “freedom from”-type FIRE is a telos stated in the negative, as opposed to a “freedom to”-style FIRE is a telos stated in the positive; but you still have to figure out freedom “to” what?
Flight (or being pushed out) is a perfectly good motivation although rooted in the negative. And without a plan you're apt to figuratively wander the desert for 40 years. That can be cathartic, and it can lead to the desire to return, hopefully with a better perspective on what a healthy role for a paying occupation might be in a given life. Often it's as simple as calibrating expectations to fall within the reasonably plausible.

Here near the end I'm getting impatient and for the first time am noticing a strong desire to specifically get away from the workplace. Since I've got a good bit laid out already it's hard to imagine being focused solely on the freedom without giving any thought to, "So, now what?" beyond, "Anything but that." I guess a pull-driven vignette is a little cleaner in that it has a built in answer to the question.

It's common to see things approached with responsibility deriving from freedom (since I am free I have an obligation to be responsible) but it's also interesting to think about it the other way around (I have responsibilities so I must have freedom to meet the implicit obligations). With the former the responsibility can be shirked, leading to sort of an ungoverned freedom. I'm sure some people thrive in that state, but many of us don't. With the latter I can say, "I have a responsibility to lead the best life I can, so I pursuing the freedom to do so is warranted." It's possible I'm just deluding myself and at a deeper level I just want to wallow in highbrow hedonism. Dunno what relevance any of that has other than changing perspectives sometimes provides a glimpse of a way forward.

How you separated FI and RE was interesting. I've always had them bundled together with FI just being a means to the end of RE. Hitting FI (really, the entire process of moving towards it) promotes breathing a little easier in its own right. It does provide a jumping off point for people with a more career-like future vision than mine. Another nuance that often gets lost in the broader discussion.

Seems like it might be a good idea for me to revisit the topic of what I want to be when I grow up. My little plan seems fairly stable and has held up pretty well over the 7-8 years since the key facets were hatched. But I haven't really allowed myself the freedom to grapple with the idea of ditching parts of it in favor of an arguably better plan.

BookLoverL
Posts: 237
Joined: Tue Apr 09, 2019 4:17 pm
Location: England

Re: Living a FI (Update)

Post by BookLoverL »

At some point I had read the whole of livingafi's blog, so it's interesting to see the update. A lot has already been said here about the post, but I wanted to focus on the disability diagnosis aspect.

Obviously in the USA disability may be more expensive due to the healthcare over there (I'm UK), so I can see someone going back to work to try to support that. But he does seem quite disheartened overall during the section where he talks about getting the disability.

This makes sense, honestly. I got Tourette's during university and it took me a while to accept the reality of my new limitations compared to myself before I had the Tourette's. It took me probably at least a year before I felt comfortable describing myself as disabled. It can be very hard when you're used to the "I can do anything I want, because I'm so capable" mindset to accept that you now can't do some things you used to be able to do, and that you even won't be able to do some things that everyone else expects every normal person to be able to do.

Overall, though, with most disabilities, it is possible to get past that and to come to a new understanding with life, and to build dreams in areas which aren't affected by the disability. So I hope he's able to come to terms with that aspect of himself at some point.

He does seem to be finding a lot of satisfaction in his relationship, which, I'm sure it's a great relationship, but he does need to find something new that builds confidence in himself again, I think.

I wish him the best in the future.

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