Living a FI (Update)

Simple living, extreme early retirement, being wealthy, ...
Jin+Guice
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Re: Living a FI (Update)

Post by Jin+Guice »

I know a lot of people found this blog inspirational, but to me, LivingAFI was always the posterchild for what not to do. I appreciate his voice as one of the sole “freedom from” blogs, because I think it’s where a lot of the blog readers start out. The misery of his blog was inspirational to me in starting to write about semi-ERE. My whole message is that you don’t have to suffer like this.

Another retired FIRE blogger who goes back to work! I don’t consider this a failure, just another reason to take time off if you’re miserable at work.

Also, gd I’m having some Wheaton Level disconnect with this dude. $30k/ year for one fucking person is LeanFIRE?!? I guess I need to update my fireDating profile to “no longer on the fucking map.”

This most recent post is powerful advocacy for progressing to WL6 and not getting stuck at WL5. I don’t need to convince people my life will be awesome in the future, because it is awesome today. Oh, you’re only upper middle class aspirational? Wow, sorry you set your sights so low. Guess who’s free to hangout with the two legit millionaires that I know on Tuesday morning? Lmk how that isolated McMansion in the suburbs is treating you. Catch me at the actual mansion downtown...

Another reason careers are dangerous: all the friends you make working them will have them. A few upper middle class income junkies are worthwhile, just make sure you connect with them about something other than their careers. Otherwise you need to start gaining access to weirder/ different social groups today. There are other ways to broadcast social status than success. It pays to learn them if you don’t want your partner to leave you for some medium-success ladder climber.

Librarians are sexy af though, so, respect.

Hristo Botev
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Re: Living a FI (Update)

Post by Hristo Botev »

Jin+Guice wrote:
Thu Mar 18, 2021 4:03 pm
Another reason careers are dangerous: all the friends you make working them will have them. A few upper middle class income junkies are worthwhile, just make sure you connect with them about something other than their careers. Otherwise you need to start gaining access to weirder/ different social groups today.
This is very, very true. To further steal (flesh out?) Jacob's freedom from/to dichotomy, I made the mental switch from freedom from to freedom to when I expanded my social circle beyond just (or mostly) people who I either worked with or who had career-ist jobs like mine. In the "freedom from" mindset I was drawn to these people, because what I was interested in talking about was my career and what we were doing with the money I made from that career. I slowly started to spend more and more time with folks who are either already financially independent (though they've probably never really thought of it that way), or escaped the corporate/careerist world in some way or another (small business owners, mostly), or who never entered in the first place either because they didn't get the chance or because the idea of working for someone else just strikes them as insane. And its amazing the difference in my mindset that transition from the former group to the latter has made. I still socialize occasionally with the former group, but less and less so as I find for the most part we just don't have much to talk about, outside of what our kids are up to, etc. More and more, "What do you do" is just something I don't really ask, and am not really asked by others, when I meet someone new. I find I'm generally just interested in learning other things about folks, and don't really care a whole lot if someone is a Director of _ or VP of _ at some corporation, or junior partner in some professional services firm.

It's a little crazy for me to think about what a radical shift in thinking this has been. Maybe it doesn't really have much to do with ERE as it does with me being more settled in (and kind of bored with) my career. But, that also means I no longer really am chasing status via my career; I'd rather gain "status" by being known as the guy that is involved in various community and municipal boards/associations, or that makes good home brew or homemade ice cream; or that's always looking to start a book group or start an old guy's sports league; or that's the weird guy that walks to work every morning no matter the weather wearing goofy sneakers with a suit (because I'm tired of having to pay to resole my dress shoes), as friends/acquaintances grin and laugh as they give me a friendly honk as they drive by.

BicycleB
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Re: Living a FI (Update)

Post by BicycleB »

1taskaday wrote:
Thu Mar 18, 2021 2:29 am
Tough Crowd...
Lol. I would expect nothing less from ERE!

(If I should think of ERE = creative instead of ERE = tough, chalk it up to being a noob here, visiting from MMM. Followed a link from there, intrigued by the comments. Respect to ya'll.)

Stasher
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Re: Living a FI (Update)

Post by Stasher »

Hristo Botev wrote:
Thu Mar 18, 2021 4:41 pm
But, that also means I no longer really am chasing status via my career; I'd rather gain "status" by being known as the guy that is involved in various community and municipal boards/associations
This is exactly what I have done these past 4 years since leaving work, almost taking on too much actually as I have realized in my reflection of the past few years here in 2021.

I have basically lost all my connections from my life related to my past career but I am completely ok with that. I have made new friends where money and jobs don't matter, they are far more fulfilling connections.

guitarplayer
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Re: Living a FI (Update)

Post by guitarplayer »

First post, welcome @Stasher. Maybe set up a journal? Always good to have yet another perspective.

Stasher
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Re: Living a FI (Update)

Post by Stasher »

guitarplayer wrote:
Fri Mar 19, 2021 4:10 am
First post, welcome @Stasher. Maybe set up a journal? Always good to have yet another perspective.
I had a journal for for over 5 years on the MMM forums but closed it when I needed to ensure I had a bit of digital security during a post FI project I was working on. I decided to finally create a ERE profile as I gravitate to the mindset here more with regards to ecologically grounded frugality and the continual endorsement that is growing on MMM to those being wasteful consumers. I also finally signed up because I was grateful to listen to the podcast Jacob shared in this thread yesterday. Hearing him speak again reminds me why I bought the ERE book in 2014 and have read it several times. Oh ya, I also love 2birds1stone's and C40's posts on MMM so why not follow along with them here right :) Who knows I might just share a journal and share some of the things I have navigated since leaving my traditional 24/7/365 work career of 21 years. Not like LivingAFi by any means but the mindset shift and self reflection that occurs Post FI

guitarplayer
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Re: Living a FI (Update)

Post by guitarplayer »

Yup another medium @Jacob uses is a reinforcement for me, too. I don't come near MMM with my pity income (and anyway like it here better based on a few youtube videos of MMM) so wouldn't know. That being said, I follow 2b1s and C40 here as well so if you are in tune with them it might just be another value adding journal. Maybe just don't share too many personal details (well you know that), it's always a shame when people delete all their posts and there were a few occurrences of this here recently.

Western Red Cedar
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Re: Living a FI (Update)

Post by Western Red Cedar »

Jin+Guice wrote:
Thu Mar 18, 2021 4:03 pm
The misery of his blog was inspirational to me in starting to write about semi-ERE. My whole message is that you don’t have to suffer like this.
I remember you talking about this a while back and I think you were/are spot on. I'm certainly not in the same position as Dr. Doom, but you helped me realize that pursuing other opportunities is a perfectly valid, and possibly more resilient path. I've realized that too much focus on the numbers, on a 4% SWR, isn't really necessary. The math is easy, figuring out life is the hard part.

----

For a while now I've been focusing on exploring the concept of purpose after work, because I realize this is a much more pressing issue than a concern about running out of funds. I've also realized that it's better to develop some broad ideas about what I'd like to do/pursue, and remain flexible. Planning is in my nature, but you can't plan out your whole life.

Happy he wrote an update and didn't pull many punches. He confirmed a lot of what I've been thinking about is important post-career.

The whole conversation about lean FI left me a bit floored. I've been dwelling in the ERE bubble too long apparently. The longer I hang out here the more I want to lower my FI number :D

Wads
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Re: Living a FI (Update)

Post by Wads »

Western Red Cedar wrote:
Fri Mar 19, 2021 5:48 pm
For a while now I've been focusing on exploring the concept of purpose after work, because I realize this is a much more pressing issue than a concern about running out of funds.
So true. I've been in a fortunate situation lately where I'm able to take a LOA with my company and still collect unemployment. I thought it was a great opportunity to take time off work and get a feel of what FIRE would be like. I've been gone for two months now and it hasn't been all that great. Although some areas have improved (fitness) my lack of hobbies outside of work have been exposed.

I have so much time and not sure what I want to do. I used to fill my time with side hustles (AMZ FBA) and other stuff but lost interest a few years ago even though they were profitable. I feel a little lost now to be honest. My pursuit to FIRE isn't going to change but I will not be pulling the plug until im sure I have a clear vision on how to fill my time.

Western Red Cedar
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Re: Living a FI (Update)

Post by Western Red Cedar »

Wads wrote:
Sat Mar 20, 2021 11:48 am
I have so much time and not sure what I want to do. I used to fill my time with side hustles (AMZ FBA) and other stuff but lost interest a few years ago even though they were profitable. I feel a little lost now to be honest. My pursuit to FIRE isn't going to change but I will not be pulling the plug until im sure I have a clear vision on how to fill my time.
I know that I wouldn't really be content in my current situation without a job. The notion of moving towards something rather than moving away from something is pretty important IMO.

I enjoy experiencing and exploring new cultures, so my early FI plans involve slow travel. This is a path that requires time - something of which I will have plenty. I have a bunch of ideas for activities and hobbies to pursue after that, but I'm also giving myself permission to go back to work or try a new career after taking a couple of years off.

7Wannabe5
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Re: Living a FI (Update)

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

I so don’t grok this problem. Two giant infinite regress/progress categories of projects to keep you busy for the rest of your life would be Projects to Further Reduces Expenses Through Skill/Knowledge Acquisition and Projects to Further Improve Quality of Life at Same Spending Level. For instance, Growing Heirloom Tomatoes would fit in golden overlap of both these categories, fixing your own bike would be in the first category, and creating a claymation based on favorite 19th century novel would fit in the second.

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 or you do have anything resembling a bossy fastidious SO. Also, you do have to marginal “budget” for planning for psychological need for variety and change and also for tooling up at some level above infinite frugal regress. For instance, I could have tried to make my own level from scratch instead of buying one for $25 last week, but I didn’t because it’s more important for me to stay focused on riding the wave at this juncture of very large project.

jacob
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Re: Living a FI (Update)

Post by jacob »

7Wannabe5 wrote:
Sun Mar 21, 2021 8:37 am
I so don’t grok this problem. Two giant infinite regress/progress categories of projects to keep you busy for the rest of your life would be Projects to Further Reduces Expenses Through Skill/Knowledge Acquisition and Projects to Further Improve Quality of Life at Same Spending Level.

...

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. ...
Other problem, which pertains to this thread is the social lock-in in terms of status and achievement that careerism creates. If (and only if) one has such needs (identity, meaning, validation, structure, ...) but spent the entire accumulation phase strictly focusing on accumulating money, not having saved much "social capital" will feel like "undersaving" on that account after retiring. Also see https://www.getrichslowly.org/fifteen-y ... etirement/ describing some of the downsides of that.

AnalyticalEngine
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Re: Living a FI (Update)

Post by AnalyticalEngine »

Very interesting update. There's a lot to think about here. 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. They both quit to pursue writing too. I do wonder if that has anything to do with it? Writing tends to be a fairly solitary activity that takes years, if not decades, to get anywhere with.

I'm often wondering if leanFIRE/ERE is more about sorting temperaments than anything else. Not in a derogatory way, but I think some people (Guardians etc), the lack of social normalcy isn't worth it to them.

ertyu
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Re: Living a FI (Update)

Post by ertyu »

7Wannabe5 wrote:
Sun Mar 21, 2021 8:37 am
I so don’t grok this problem.
The problem is usually either depression or learned helplessness. Yes, many varied hobies exist, and one could take them up -- if one could get oneself to do anything in the first place (me). The learned helplessness is more, not having the skill of self-directed learning and self-directed skill acquisition. You don't know how to go about learning to do woodworking or play the guitar. You complete the stage where you go and buy the many varied tools and instruments, and then you flounder and they stay unused. Imo you need both executive function here, to parse the steps of doing a project or acquiring a skill, but also, you need the ability to enjoy sticking to it even though you suck, and the ability to put in much more time and effort into it before you get a result (compare to consumer model where to get a result, you travel to store/do online research and hand over cash - and that's it, you've obtained the thing). Motivation works differently in salaryman land. The parts of your life that require suckage and effort, you complete because you "have to" - this is your job. Most salaryman drones are motivated by the stick when it comes to sustained effort (or maybe i'm just projecting :lol:). Motivation towards, on the other hand -- "I want this result" -- is conditioned to be easy. Effort is associated with stick, ease is associated with carrot: if I want ice cream, i go to the store. low effort.

Projects of the type you mention (aka jacob's "producer manifestation") require the linking of effort and carrot: a reconditioning of how one's motivation works. Especially in the case where one quits with a heavy case of burn out and needs an year to recover (as I did), it's easy to stay in the absence-of-stick state and coast.

I don't think this was living a fi's case. He retired away from, yes, but he also very definitely retired to as well: if you read the rest of his blog, he retired to writing. He did not have commercial success with it straight away, and meanwhile his disability hit and he separated from his partner -- both of which upset the financials. He retired too early: he was at 4%, which is high, and this 4% assumed being able bodied and sharing household expenses with a partner. Thus he went back to work.

Last but not least, I am disappointed with how some people here look down on "the consumers" and people who aren't "lean enough." People have different priorities and are at different places in their journey towards those priorities. Imo we should respect people even if their idea of leanness doesn't concur with yours.
Last edited by ertyu on Sun Mar 21, 2021 1:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

jacob
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Re: Living a FI (Update)

Post by jacob »

AnalyticalEngine wrote:
Sun Mar 21, 2021 9:00 am
I'm often wondering if leanFIRE/ERE is more about sorting temperaments than anything else. Not in a derogatory way, but I think some people (Guardians etc), the lack of social normalcy isn't worth it to them.
Like that ...
http://earlyretirementextreme.com/every ... ained.html
https://earlyretirementextreme.com/pers ... tance.html

7Wannabe5
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Re: Living a FI (Update)

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

@ertyu:

I should have typed “I so don’t grok this problem.” Obviously, I have other problems or different personality type that veers me differently right off the side of the ERE Wheaton Scale Chart. For instance, I will always choose to quit working full time for other waaaaay before I accumulate anything vaguely resembling a stake large enough to draw off of at 4%, because the options of working for myself, working part-time for other, or mooching off of SO or other source of social capital, even (or more like “especially”)in combination do not constitute significant enough “stick.” This is likely in good part due to the fact that I segued right from being a college student to being a stay-at-home-Mom, so I don’t tie my identity as an adult to career. Even when I had a conventional career, I just thought of it as something I was doing temporarily, like when a farmer has a bad year and has to go work for a while on the railroad to get some cash. The extent to which corporate work is not self-directed compared to being a SAHM made it seem less like adult work to me. Later on I had the same thoughts about grad school vs running own business.MMV.

disk_poet
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Re: Living a FI (Update)

Post by disk_poet »

First of all thanks for the post. I didn't know the blog but found it interesting. I think it's easy for me to fall into the FI-end of the spectrum even though I like ERE because of the mix between sustainability/resilience. Numbers are easy to track and optimize for... at least for me.
ertyu wrote:
Sun Mar 21, 2021 9:03 am
The problem is usually either depression or learned helplessness. [...]

Last but not least, I am disappointed with how some people here look down on "the consumers" and people who aren't "lean enough." People have different priorities and are at different places in their journey towards those priorities. Imo we should respect people even if their idea of leanness doesn't concur with yours.
I agree with a lot here and I am realizing more and more how much re-training myself will be necessary. It's exciting but also scary. I have to admit that I sometimes fall into the othering (or looking down) behavior. Not necessarily on the forum but in my head. I think it also showed in the post a little. For me it's a sign that I still need to work on myself more because a.) It's not the kind of person I want to be and b.) It shows my insecurity and c.) It's just another type of status. At least that is how I see it for myself.

nomadscientist
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Re: Living a FI (Update)

Post by nomadscientist »

The author comes across as depressed throughout his life, including in retirement. It's not surprising his Eternal Sunday proved mentally unsustainable; it's more surprising it lasted so long. I hope his new relationship works out well for him. If it does, he probably won't feel driven to quit work again.

BWND
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Re: Living a FI (Update)

Post by BWND »

I'm not so sure nomadscientist. The caveat is I'm not familiar with any of his writing beyond the shared post, but given the consensus emerging on this thread that this was a 'freedom from' move on his part, there was something about working sparked his journey in the first place. His version of FIRE wasn't ultimately successful in improving things for him for a range of reasons but I don't see that returning to the fray means any of the underlying dissatisfaction has been addressed.

It got me thinking about this:

https://earlyretirementextreme.com/fou- ... hange.html

He had 1 and 3.
He had an incomplete vision for 2 and/or his vision was sound but some unforeseen circumstances shattered it.
That in turn meant he miscalculated 4 - the cost of the plan.

For Living a FI I don't see how 1 doesn't remain with a high level of dissatisfaction. If he can (and wants to) rework the vision and the cost then he's shown he can execute a plan. Fingers crossed for him.

The shared blog and resulting discussion here has definitely got me thinking I need some serious work on 2 myself :geek:

nomadscientist
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Re: Living a FI (Update)

Post by nomadscientist »

It's not clear to me he was really dissatisfied with working. Although some of the situations he described were truly bad, not all of them were, including his terminal position which sounds like a really sweet gig. He writes:
My morale didn’t suck, though. Like I said about ten billion times already: I just can’t be bothered to get all excited about the same things that other people do anymore. At work, I’m now optimistic and happy most of the time.

And I don’t even have to fake it. No joke.
He goes on for multiple pages about how wonderful the job is.

He seemed to feel his life lacked something in general, and that working for FIRE filled such a hole. But "wanting to FIRE" is not a personality. He is an engaging writer, and he has put up a huge amount of material about the tiniest details of his life, but I would struggle to describe his personality from what he has written. Perhaps that's just a reflection of his desire to stay anonymous and the focus of the blog, or perhaps it's a reflection of a deeper issue. The only aspect of his ex-wife's personality that comes across is that she wasn't enthused about FIRE - perhaps a warning sign that was missed.

If he gets the meaning he seeks in life elsewhere, he perhaps won't feel the need to be spending lots of time in Venice or watching TV. He doesn't explain what he likes so much about Venice or TV, and he probably doesn't like anything in particular about them. I hope he finds this meaning.

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