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Sacrifice youth and early life for FI ? Why

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  • Sacrifice youth and early life for FI ? Why

    I thought about it because of two things that caught my mind

    In fact, it forfeits the ambition of most professional life: sacrifice like crazy in your 20’s – 30’s to reap the benefits thereafter.

    The blog that was linked to in another thread about the software engineer who retired in his late thirties, and lived in tiny apartments and bicycled to work every day just to achieve it

    Don't get me wrong. I fully agree with the concept of living like a resident for the first few years in order to pay back loans and build up a cushion of ready cash. I also agree that a 20-30 % savings rate is good.

    But why sacrifice more just to retire early. You get to be in your twenties and thirties only once. Those are the times you are in good physical condition and can travel easily to areas not suited for older adults. Or enjoy the pleasures in life as long as the total amount is reasonable. So why sacrifice things for your spouse, kids and yourself just to say "I am financially independent and can retire in my thirties and forties".  Why not save at a steady pace, enjoy all of life and retire a bit later but have a more rounded life.

  • #2
    Different strokes for different folks, but definitely agree that you really need to consider priorities and what matters to you when setting goals. FIRE should be the means to the end, not the end all on its own.

    Spend and live purposefully.
    Working to protect good doctors from bad advisors. Fox & Co CPAs, Fox & Co Wealth Mgmt. 270-247-6087

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    • #3
      I think the harder part is that this isnt a rational obvious thing to consider at the time. You're often just on your path and not thinking about either thing. Im a little bummed I used my 20s to be in a surgical residency and missed about everything sure, but dont regret where Im at today. Life is all about trade offs. Youth is wasted on the young certainly.

      Theres a point of moderation in there that is much more enjoyable, and honestly for most docs its totally doable on another level than for most professions, so we're lucky in that regard. Theres a lot to be said for considering consumption smoothing, you just have to be careful not to rationalize bad decisions, which is a hard thing since we're all really good at it.

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      • #4
        The future is not guaranteed, and I like the old saying about the old doc, on his deathbed, did not wish that he had spent more time taking call or working weekends, did he?

        I am 51 and have two friends from my fellowship class of six who were dead at age 49 and 50. This is obviously anecdotal and has no bearing on my mortality (gambler's fallacy), but it does remind me to not put everything off to the future. Additionally, there are some things that I can do now that I may not be physically, emotionally, or mentally capable of enjoying in 10 or 20 years (my 8 mile running tour of Rome this past March comes to mind).

        It is important to strike the balance between living now and preparing for the future. Everyone will approach this differently.

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        • #5
          There is a real price to be paid for early retirement, no doubt about it.

          https://www.whitecoatinvestor.com/14-reasons-why-you-shouldn%E2%80%99t-retire-early/
          Helping those who wear the white coat get a fair shake on Wall Street since 2011

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          • #6
            I thought we sacrificed youth and early life to become doctors.

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            • #7




              I thought we sacrificed youth and early life to become doctors.
              Click to expand...


              We did. I guess some believe that we are supposed to sacrifice our early and mid adulthood, too.

              That said, with all of this talk about sacrifice, I had a lot of fun in med school and even more in residency. The only thing that I really sacrificed was income.

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              • #8
                most physicians I know have an addiction to delayed gratification

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                • #9
                  In my 40s, I wouldn't have the patience or discipline to be a resident.  Nor would I have the ability to tolerate the cheap beer of college and med school.  I used to be pretty bummed that I "gave up" my twenties to learn medicine, but realistically I had a great time and needed that physical health!

                  All of this is why I never went back for a fellowship nor is it likely that I'll pull the trigger on a master's degree.

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                  • #10
                    My observation is that people who ended their education early tend to watch lots of tv and play video games.  I do not regret blowing my 20s on med school and residency. I think working on goals whether they be school oriented or financial is very healthy and rewarding.

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                    • #11
                      Agree that I dont have what it takes to do residency now. I dont know if its just that I've done it and the will has been sucked from me, or its just that Im older. Med school on the other hand, was some of the most fun times I've had. First time I just went to school without working, it was amazing. Having a good time, learning, etc...still couldnt do it again.

                      Its great to knock those things out when you're young and have that kind of vigor. Its a trade off for sure, but so far its been a good one. I always felt bad for the older residents, being treated like everyone else and getting crushed, but now I just wonder how they did it. Good on them.

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                      • #12


                        I thought we sacrificed youth and early life to become doctors.
                        Click to expand...


                        Medical school - no real control on savings and lifestyle

                        Residency and fellowships - poor pay, hard work little savings

                        First few years as attending - pay off loans, have some emergency savings, 20-30 % in 401K or similar plan

                        But beyond that, what is it that requires one to save 70% post tax and live miserably just to retire at 40. If the spouse is also a physician or high earner then I can see the ability to save one pay check (50%-60% of total income) and live off the other since that is still substantial.  But if a sole bread winner, why overwhelming desire to try and retire at 40, unless you are an entrepreneur who has made $50M+ by that time.

                        The guy who retired at 39 and roams the world can get $40-60K per year safely under the 4 % rule. He lives for a month at Guatemala for $195 per month in a rustic home where the water heater is attached to the shower and has a high risk of electrocuting him. Is risking your life for FIRE worth that?. Doing all the things just to get off the workforce and then have a lifestyle on limited income? Why not work reasonably a bit longer, live well and take good vacations and stay at safe places.

                        Sometimes people carry things out too far.

                         

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                        • #13





                          I thought we sacrificed youth and early life to become doctors. 
                          Click to expand…


                          Medical school – no real control on savings and lifestyle

                          Residency and fellowships – poor pay, hard work little savings

                          First few years as attending – pay off loans, have some emergency savings, 20-30 % in 401K or similar plan

                          But beyond that, what is it that requires one to save 70% post tax and live miserably just to retire at 40. If the spouse is also a physician or high earner then I can see the ability to save one pay check (50%-60% of total income) and live off the other since that is still substantial.  But if a sole bread winner, why overwhelming desire to try and retire at 40, unless you are an entrepreneur who has made $50M+ by that time.

                          The guy who retired at 39 and roams the world can get $40-60K per year safely under the 4 % rule. He lives for a month at Guatemala for $195 per month in a rustic home where the water heater is attached to the shower and has a high risk of electrocuting him. Is risking your life for FIRE worth that?. Doing all the things just to get off the workforce and then have a lifestyle on limited income? Why not work reasonably a bit longer, live well and take good vacations and stay at safe places.

                          Sometimes people carry things out too far.

                           
                          Click to expand...


                          Believe it or not, we are largely in agreement. I would say the entrepreneur with $5M could choose to live comfortably ever after; $50M is an abundant surplus.

                          We save ~50% of my post-tax income, and live on ~$70,000 with paid off homes. Single income, family of four. Our spending broken down here.

                          I continue to work, despite having attained financial independence based on our current spending habits. I will work at least as long as it takes to have financial freedom, which I've defined as having core expenses covered, and the ability to double discretionary spending without violating a 4% withdrawal rate. This should give us a $100,000 a year allowance in retirement, which would allow us to live and vacation well, while staying in safe places. We did have one of those ridiculous shower attachments in a Puerto Rico AirBNB last year, though

                          I'm in the midst of my second "one more year" and haven't ruled out working part time as a transition to retirement. The main impetus behind my desire to retire early is to have more time while my boys are still around. Still trying to find the best balance.

                          Best,

                          -PoF

                           

                           

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                          • #14





                            I thought we sacrificed youth and early life to become doctors. 
                            Click to expand…


                            Medical school – no real control on savings and lifestyle

                            Residency and fellowships – poor pay, hard work little savings

                            First few years as attending – pay off loans, have some emergency savings, 20-30 % in 401K or similar plan

                            But beyond that, what is it that requires one to save 70% post tax and live miserably just to retire at 40. If the spouse is also a physician or high earner then I can see the ability to save one pay check (50%-60% of total income) and live off the other since that is still substantial.  But if a sole bread winner, why overwhelming desire to try and retire at 40, unless you are an entrepreneur who has made $50M+ by that time.

                            The guy who retired at 39 and roams the world can get $40-60K per year safely under the 4 % rule. He lives for a month at Guatemala for $195 per month in a rustic home where the water heater is attached to the shower and has a high risk of electrocuting him. Is risking your life for FIRE worth that?. Doing all the things just to get off the workforce and then have a lifestyle on limited income? Why not work reasonably a bit longer, live well and take good vacations and stay at safe places.

                            Sometimes people carry things out too far.

                             
                            Click to expand...


                            Obviously many of us agree and that's why we're still working. I can totally relate to those Guatemalan shower death traps too. Scariest showers I've ever taken.

                            I have "enough" to sustain a lifestyle at least twice as nice as MMMs. But it's not enough to sustain my chosen lifestyle. We all get to choose where we want to be on the continuum. But you're right that early financial independence isn't nearly as valuable to someone who can continue to work and wants to continue to work as someone who hates their job or loses it for whatever reason.

                            However, one thing to keep in mind is this--Maybe we're all fooling ourselves that we like our jobs. You don't REALLY know if you would quit your job until you have enough to quit your job. I often do a survey of the room when I'm doing a speaking gig.

                            I ask people "If I gave you a $10 Million check today, would you go to work tomorrow?" Almost every hand goes up, especially among residents and young attendings.

                            "Would you go to work a year from now?" Most hands still go up, but I see a few of the older docs with hands in their pockets at this point.

                            "Would you work the same number of shifts/days a month?" By now, most hands are down.

                            "Would you work the same mix of shifts/work as many nights/take as much call etc?" Nearly every hand but mine in the room is down.

                            What does that show us? That most of us, at least in part, are working just for the money. Financial independence doesn't mean you can't keep working, but it does keep you honest as to whether that is actually how you want to spend your life or not.
                            Helping those who wear the white coat get a fair shake on Wall Street since 2011

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                            • #15


                              Maybe we’re all fooling ourselves that we like our jobs. You don’t REALLY know if you would quit your job until you have enough to quit your job.
                              Click to expand...


                              Yes!

                              Perhaps paradoxically, I've found myself less and less enthusiastic about working now that I've realized work is optional. There are small joys every workday, but not enough good to outweigh the bad.

                              I truly believed I had a great job until I knew I no longer needed it. A lot of introspection over the last couple years has helped me realize that I like large paychecks and can't imagine a better way to make them, which is not the same thing as having a job that I love. It's kind of a sad truth.

                              It's tough to make an honest assessment when a secure future depends on you working for many more years.

                               

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