Working years after graduating (or 1st fulltime job) till FIRE'd

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wolf
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Working years after graduating (or 1st fulltime job) till FIRE'd

Post by wolf » Fri Sep 14, 2018 1:13 pm

I did a small overview of people who achieved FIRE and how long it took them.

There are (at least) 2 different ways to measure how long it took them
1) years since graduating or 1st fulltime job
2) years between defining the FIRE-goal and achieving it

I chose the 1) measurement.

Why did I want to know that?
1) in order to compare
2) in order to have benchmarks
3) just for fun, because I like statistics
4) etc.

So I created a small overview of people who I know through blogs or on this forum. Of course it is not representative. (n=25)

I tried my best to get accurate data. If you find any mistakes, please let me know.

The average time (years since graduating or 1st fulltime job till FIRE'd) is about 12 years.

@jacob: I decided to count the years from 2001 till 2006 (as you describe in your post How I became financially independent in 5 years – Part I).
On the FAQ page you mention, that after "a few years of not working" you "got an offer to work in finance in Chicago.." and "spend just under 4 years working" there before you "stopped working". So maybe those ~3 years could add up to your 5 years till you officially FIRE'd? (for the purpose of this overview)

Maybe you are interested in that. So I share it. If you like to see that spreadsheet, you can find it here: years to FIRE'd

It looks like that
Image

jacob
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Re: Working years after graduating (or 1st fulltime job) till FIRE'd

Post by jacob » Fri Sep 14, 2018 2:08 pm

@wolf - My story is a bit messy/meandering. I didn't even know FIRE was a thing/possible until around summer/2004 when I bought my first investments. To me FI is just a consequence of having money which is a side-effect of living in ways that doesn't depend on spending money as much as possible. It was never a goal in the milestone-oriented way that it's typically seen described in most ERE journals or in the FIRE community as a whole.

It also depends on what you mean by graduating.
In the Danish system during the 1990s, a BSc was not really a 'thing', so ...
Graduated with a MSc in Jan/2000 -> went directly to grad school (stipend income ~$25k/year).
Stopped consuming/started saving around winter 2000/2001.
Graduated with a PhD in Mar/2004 -> immediately started as an academic researcher (income ~$40k/year)
FI in fall 2005. (age 30)
Started blogging in Dec/2007.
Retired from physics in Mar/2009 (national lab income $68k/year)
Started working in finance in Jan/2012 (quant income $75k-100k/year)
Stopped working in finance in Nov/2015.

Correction: FI was fall 2005.

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Re: Working years after graduating (or 1st fulltime job) till FIRE'd

Post by DutchGirl » Fri Sep 14, 2018 3:11 pm

Hmm, so although I'm not quite there yet, I am probably going to come in at the 16-year-mark or so. So not too bad, considering I'm running with the champions here :-)

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Bankai
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Re: Working years after graduating (or 1st fulltime job) till FIRE'd

Post by Bankai » Fri Sep 14, 2018 3:22 pm

Thanks for putting this together wolf!

First, it clearly shows how much jacob stands out. No other person achieved FI in anywhere close to 5 years. Although on the other hand almost no one knew about ERE at the starting point of their careers. We might see the picture changing as the time passes and ERE graduates who started their first job with 'a plan' start FI'ing.

Second, it's sobering. When I found ERE, I (like probably many other people) thought that all it's going to take is 5 years to reach FI with 75%-80% SR. Well, SR of 75%+ happened... but only in a few months each year with most months having various 'recurring one-offs'. Even the best plans don't survive a clash with reality...

I also wonder how did you define FI - is this when each person stopped working/declared themselves FI? If yes, did they do this on 25x annual expenses, or 33x or what was the average number?

What would be interesting to see how the average time to FI is different with family and/or kids. And/or car. And maybe also rent vs. buy.

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Re: Working years after graduating (or 1st fulltime job) till FIRE'd

Post by C40 » Fri Sep 14, 2018 3:38 pm

Updates for my info: I started working full time after college in 2005. I started pursuing ERE in 2010.

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Re: Working years after graduating (or 1st fulltime job) till FIRE'd

Post by wolf » Fri Sep 14, 2018 3:51 pm

@jacob: thx for the info. I didn't know it exactly, so I used FI as the reference. Yup, I know...ERE is the cause, FI the (side)effect.
@bankai: those persons declared themselves FIRE'd (quit work).
@C40: thx for the update. I'll update it.

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Re: Working years after graduating (or 1st fulltime job) till FIRE'd

Post by jacob » Fri Sep 14, 2018 3:53 pm

MMM was 30
Joe Dominguez was 31 and he retired in 1970.
Paul Terhorst was 35 and he retired in 1984 https://www.nextavenue.org/30-years-ago ... 35-update/

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Re: Working years after graduating (or 1st fulltime job) till FIRE'd

Post by Stahlmann » Fri Sep 14, 2018 4:07 pm

if you have too much time consider adding (some of) following info:
known for, main factors contributed for such result, country of most activity

yes, most of such criteria could spark 1000 post discussion each, but atm the table is more stroking ego competition than some useful tool. anyway good list of journals.

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Re: Working years after graduating (or 1st fulltime job) till FIRE'd

Post by Jean » Fri Sep 14, 2018 5:52 pm

I started working full time in 2012 and quited in 2014. I considered myself fi since the end of 2015 (before this, i was still looking for a job because i didn't trust my ability to live on this monthly amount).

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Re: Working years after graduating (or 1st fulltime job) till FIRE'd

Post by wolf » Sat Sep 15, 2018 5:10 am

@Jean: in order to be comparable in this context, would you declare yourself also FIRE'd in 2015 or 2016? I collected the timestamp, when those persons declared themselves FIRE'd.

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Re: Working years after graduating (or 1st fulltime job) till FIRE'd

Post by jacob » Sat Sep 15, 2018 7:11 am

@stahlmann/wolf - It would be interesting to have expenses and income percentile ... to plot on this graph. This would settle the question of whether frugality is for the rich.

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Re: Working years after graduating (or 1st fulltime job) till FIRE'd

Post by C40 » Sat Sep 15, 2018 8:37 am

Randy Vining has his info shared his info*. I believe he retired at age 30 around 41 years ago.

*on his blog, it would take a lot of looking for it though.. I think he shared the details on this video, probably easier to watch this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UjTGF4jPdCY&t=4s

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Re: Working years after graduating (or 1st fulltime job) till FIRE'd

Post by wizards » Sat Sep 15, 2018 12:33 pm

Nice list.

Btw I was 36 when I quit / reached FI and it was in 2015 ;-) :)

If you need more info, not included in the journal, please let me know.

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Re: Working years after graduating (or 1st fulltime job) till FIRE'd

Post by jacob » Sat Sep 15, 2018 12:39 pm

@wolf - Spreadsheet still hasn't updated my numbers: age 30, graduated 2000, 2004, FI 2005, RE 2009, 2015

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Re: Working years after graduating (or 1st fulltime job) till FIRE'd

Post by thrifty++ » Sat Sep 15, 2018 1:14 pm

OMG this is a bit depressing. I have worked 12 years full time post gradation already and nowhere near FI. No wonder I have been feeling tired. I am glad I am taking a sabbatical for a few months at the moment. I will definitely not be working full time another 12 years.

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Re: Working years after graduating (or 1st fulltime job) till FIRE'd

Post by wolf » Sat Sep 15, 2018 2:24 pm

I updated the list (but not the picture). Thank you all for the feedback. I appreciate it.

@jacob: I updated it. Is five years correct? 2004-2009. It really depends how you see it. Does it start after your 1st or 2nd graduation? I would say the 2nd because then you earned via a fulltime job. And 2009 is the year you FIREd the first time. Either way I type in the years you want.

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Re: Working years after graduating (or 1st fulltime job) till FIRE'd

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Sun Sep 16, 2018 6:19 am

This chart is actually oddly encouraging to me, because it makes it very clear that my primary difficulty is high level lifelong avoidance of full-time employment by other. Even at 1 Jacob expense level, it would be very difficult to only work full-time only 7 years total at reasonably fun and/or purposeful (relatively low-paying) jobs AND raise 2 kids AND achieve FI. However, moving forward, if I could just make myself work at least 20/hrs per week average at 2X minimum wage average, then if I maintain my expenses at 1Jacob average, I will likely achieve FI before my 70th birthday!!!-leaving me 93-70 = 23 years to fritter away just as I please.

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Re: Working years after graduating (or 1st fulltime job) till FIRE'd

Post by jacob » Sun Sep 16, 2018 6:56 am

@wolf - The numbers I use are 30, 2000, 2005, 5. Grad school while poorly paid is almost a 100hr/week job.

As mentioned above, many people don't fit into the whole RE concept. Lots of people above earn some kind of earned income (some a very good income) after being RE. Point being, FI is the year that counts. Nobody cares about the RE anymore. It only makes sense for the boomer generation.

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Re: Working years after graduating (or 1st fulltime job) till FIRE'd

Post by CS » Sun Sep 16, 2018 9:36 am

@7wb5

I hear you on the avoidance of full-time work. I've managed to get part-time hours (.6 or .8 time) for nearly all of my professional jobs. One day at work when I was bored, I added up all my work over the years and it came to 14.9 equivalent years of full-time work, at 40 hours a week (5.96 yrs @ 100 hours a week).

I've since worked roughly an additional quarter. My adult life average is ~.5 time, or 20 hrs a week.

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Re: Working years after graduating (or 1st fulltime job) till FIRE'd

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Sun Sep 16, 2018 11:17 am

@CS:

My back of an envelope calculation puts me at just over 15 hrs./wk average over 35 years of adult life. Probably why working for money about 2 days/week still feels about right to me. My experiment this spring at working over 60 hrs/week for a couple months seemed to prove that I possess the vigor, but lack the motivation.

Similarly, when I do the YMOYL exercise in which you total up your lifetime earnings and then are supposed to wonder where it all went, I end up wondering how I have survived and often thrived instead :lol:

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