FIRE. RIP. 2014-2018

When I created this blog, the sole purpose was to chronicle our journey for financial independence and joyful life. I wanted to share my knowledge with like-minded people. I could have just focused on writing articles about money and personal finance. But I didn’t. Right from the start, I put a strong emphasis on the joyful life aspect, because I realized that having all the money in the world does not automatically make one happy. Happiness needs to come from within and finding this internal happiness is a daily practice. I realized, that writing about money gets old quickly, I wanted to be able to write about more than just the money.

Being the sole income earner of the family (for now), early retirement was never really a goal I had in mind. My focus has always been on financial independence. I want to reach financial independence so Mrs. T and I can have more options in life and have the freedom to work because we want to, rather than working because we have to. Perhaps one of the reasons that early retirement isn’t on my radar, is because I enjoy what I do at work. Having been with the same company for over 11 years, I feel fortunate that I started my working career with the company when I first graduated from university. To me, early retirement has always been just one of the nice things that we would have in life one day. It does not mean I must retire early in my 30’s to make me happy. Or that I must hit a specific FI number or hit a specific FI date.

Perhaps I am a bit unique compared to most people, as I grew up in a family where multiple family members either retired in their early 40’s, or became financially independent but continued working in their 40’s. Money has never been a tabooed subject in my family. Talking about money related topics has had a very positive impact in my life. From my family members’ examples, I realized how empowering it is to be able to decide on your own terms whether to continue to work, or to retire early. I never felt these family members are any different or more privileged than others.

One of the distinctive benefits of having a dad who retired early and a stay-at-home mom is that my parents were always there when I needed them. Unlike many of my school friends, both my dad and mom were able to attend many of my school functions, like basketball games, band concerts, and field trips. Now I am a dad of two young kids, I am even more appreciative of what my parents were able to do for me and my brother when we grew up. Always being available and being completely present at my kids’ important life and school events is something I want to achieve. I am practicing it right now as best as I can with a full time job.

Growing up, we went on extended road trips because both my parents were free during school summer break. When I was in high school, every summer we would go on road trips that usually lasted over a month. One year, we flew to Toronto and drove around Eastern Canada and Eastern United States. Another year we drove from Vancouver to Alaska and back. Another time we drove from Vancouver to New Orleans and back. Then once to Prince Edward Island to drive around the Maritimes and Maine. Throughout high school, we also drove to Banff and Alberta multiple times.

The year I got my driver’s license (Learner, not a full license), my family and I drove up from Vancouver to Alaska and stopped in different small northern towns along the way. One day, I drove for more than 12 hours on the flat boring Alaska Highway. Because I had just gotten my license, I was loving every single minute of this new experience. Even today, I still smile whenever I think about this particular memory.

My extensive travels growing up is the exact reason why I want travelling to be part of my family’s life going forward. I want Baby T1.0 and Baby T2.0 to learn invaluable lessons that can only be learned from travelling and seeing the world with their own eyes. There are so many things that you simply cannot learn from reading books or sitting in a classroom. You must see them and experience them yourself.

 

FIRE the end

Although I have been involved in the FIRE community, shamefully I didn’t know the acronym FIRE (Financially Independent Retire Early) until a few years after I started this blog. For a while, I was confused whenever people used this acronym. I also didn’t know about lean FIRE and fat FIRE. Apparently, there are many facets of FIRE. I had no idea!

FIRE has been getting more and more mainstream coverage lately. Almost every other day I would come across articles on so-on retired at age 38, or someone who retired at age 27 to travel around the world, or someone who retired after saving extremely aggressively for 5 years, or someone who retired by saving up one million dollars in less 5 years, and the list goes on.

FIRE is flawed in these articles.

They don’t provide the general public what FIRE really means.

Unfortunately, almost all of these articles only focus on the early retirement aspect and provide a false image of relaxed and luxurious life in retirement – travelling around the world, leaving the 9-5 rat race, saying FU to the employers, and slipping piña colada on the beach. Early retirement is all fun and games. There are no drawbacks and no negatives to early retirement. It is a lie, because no matter where you go, you will always bring yourself. So if you are not in a happy place while pursuing FIRE, you sure won’t be happy once you reach it.

Many of these articles also fail to acknowledge that many of these early retirees are not really “retired” in the traditional sense. In fact, many of these early retirees are still earning money through side hustles or even part-time jobs.

These articles are simply click baits. They are there to get the average Joes and Janes to click on them, read, and feel more miserable about their lives. Because most of them cannot fathom the idea of financial independence or early retirement. A small minority even get so fed up with the idea of early retirement, they become trolls and leave very negative comments on these articles.

The fundamental problem with FIRE

The root of the problem is that too many people hate their jobs. They despise what they do at work, they don’t like their bosses, they don’t like their co-workers. Through media, these people have been told that owning expensive things will make them happy. Purchasing things will solve all of their problems. So, they mindlessly spend money on things they don’t need, only to find out that they need to somehow make more money to sustain their expensive-never-ending-purchasing-spree. They work simply because they need the money to pay for the new things that would supposedly make them happier in life. Therefore, they continue to clock in and clock out every week day in spite of hating their jobs. Due to how they feel about their jobs, they are constantly looking forward to the weekend or their next vacation, because that’s when they can be completely free from their jobs. And so, the Monday blues sets in whenever they are back to work from weekends or their vacations.

To them, FIRE is an escape. The happy ending. The escape route. The finish line. They tell themselves that they will only be happy once they are retired. Before they get there, they will never be happy. They constantly remind themselves how miserable their life is and how wonderful their life will be once they are free from their 9-5 job. So, they constantly look forward to that retirement day so they can give their employers the middle finger and tell their coworkers to get lost.

Connecting life problems to not having money, financial independence, or retire early is simply incorrect and fallacious.

Reaching financial independence and retire early does not automatically mean that you have crossed the finish line and that automatically makes you happy. If you are in a bad relationship with your partner or spouse, do you really think everything will be rosy when you have more money? Most divorces are causes by money issues!

If you are not happy and content with your life right at this moment, what makes you think that you will suddenly become happy when you are financially independent and/or retired early?

You still need to work on those problems in your life regardless of you are FIRE’d or not. Instead of using FIRE as an excuse not to work on these problems right now, start taking steps to resolve these problems. Stop ignoring problems in your life thinking they will disappear once you are financially independent or retired.

Practice gratitude every day and be appreciative that you are still alive at this very moment. Enjoy the present moment, because you can’t be certain that you will be alive tomorrow. Stop worrying about things in the past because they are already done. Stress is just an imaginary thing that we invented. The things you are stressing out about, you don’t have a control over. So why stress over them?

 

We can’t fight the human nature…but we can learn from it

We are wired to believe that we need to have something first in order to do what we want to do, so we can be who we want to be (happy). So, we teach our brains that we must attain retirement before we can enjoy our lives. It’s only when we attain early retirement, then we can do what we want to do with our lives. Once we can do what we want to do with our lives, we can finally be happy. Unfortunately, it is easy to get stuck in this endless loop of chasing that next new shiny thing and never be satisfied with our life. We are constantly comparing ourselves with our neighbours, friends, family members, and even strangers. We envy someone who has a brand new car, we envy someone who got promoted, we envy someone who has a big job title, we envy someone who is retired in their early 30’s, we envy people who became millionaires in 5 years, etc.

It is human nature to compare with our peers. But don’t let comparisons create a negative affect where we become hateful or envious of someone else. Instead of comparisons, think of other people as positive motivators and inspirators and allow them to drive us and improve ourselves in every aspect of our life, every single day.

I truly believe that rather than focus on early retirement, the mainstream media articles should focus on financial independence instead. Become financially independent so one has the option to decide whether to continue to work or to do something that they are truly passionate about, whether that brings in income or not. In fact, many of these early retirees featured in the mainstream media articles are still “working” in some ways. Many of them have a blog that is generating side income, some have turned their hobbies into a second career, and some are providing consulting services. They are doing things that they enjoy doing and making an income. They no longer see these things as work. The term “work” has taken on a completely different meaning after they become financially independent.

 

What is success?

How do you define success? Success has different definitions for each person. Why do we always tie success to how much money someone has, someone’s job title, someone’s social status, or accomplishments, or popularity? Why can’t we define being successful as in being happy and provide value to the community? Are celebrities and professional athletes really more successful than someone who volunteers at the homeless shelter every single week?

Every single job is an honourable job!

FIRE is just one of the many possibilities in life. One important thing I have learned and constantly remind myself of, is that there is no need to compare myself with other people. I am successful in my own ways. The way I define success is to be content and at peace with myself and improve the world that we live in. There is no need to compare myself with other people. It’s about holding myself to a higher standard every single day, and practice gratitude. Be humble, be appreciative, that is the way life should be.

Now it is easy to write and talk about this idea of success. It is much harder to practice this on a daily basis.

 

That is why we should all aim to be a better version of ourselves every single day. That’s the only way we can improve as human beings. Treat each day as the best day of our lives, because it is. Tell yourself every morning: “Today is the greatest day of my life” and then look for reasons to feel good.

So what exactly is FIRE? To me, FIRE is more of a lifestyle rather than a key life milestone. FIRE means not having to worry about cash flow, being able to dictate what I do with my everyday life, being my own boss, determining my own schedule, having more flexibility in life, helping the community, and improving the world that I live in. There are no defined paths to achieve FIRE. There is no set formula, no trick, no magic. Really, FIRE is more than having enough money to sustain your entire lifetime. It is a mentality, a lifestyle of self-improvement and sustainability.

Being grateful

I’ll end this post with this life advice from Holly Butcher, who passed away at the tender age of 27 on Jan 4, 2018. She wrote the following heartbreaking letter a few days before her passing. I have reflected about life a lot since reading it. What exactly is my purpose in life? Should I be more grateful and more appreciative of the privileged life I have? To have a loving wife, to be a dad of two precious kids, to have a job that I enjoy doing, and to have travelled in many different countries already in my 35 years on earth. I have been super fortunate in life. FIRE or not FIRE, I am already successful and I have a great life.

 

It’s a strange thing to realise and accept your mortality at 26 years young. It’s just one of those things you ignore. The days tick by and you just expect they will keep on coming; Until the unexpected happens. I always imagined myself growing old, wrinkled and grey- most likely caused by the beautiful family (lots of kiddies) I planned on building with the love of my life. I want that so bad it hurts.

That’s the thing about life; It is fragile, precious and unpredictable and each day is a gift, not a given right.

I’m 27 now. I don’t want to go. I love my life. I am happy.. I owe that to my loved ones. But the control is out of my hands.

I haven’t started this ‘note before I die’ so that death is feared – I like the fact that we are mostly ignorant to it’s inevitability.. Except when I want to talk about it and it is treated like a ‘taboo’ topic that will never happen to any of us.. That’s been a bit tough. I just want people to stop worrying so much about the small, meaningless stresses in life and try to remember that we all have the same fate after it all so do what you can to make your time feel worthy and great, minus the bullshit.

I have dropped lots of my thoughts below as I have had a lot of time to ponder life these last few months. Of course it’s the middle of the night when these random things pop in my head most!

Those times you are whining about ridiculous things (something I have noticed so much these past few months), just think about someone who is really facing a problem. Be grateful for your minor issue and get over it. It’s okay to acknowledge that something is annoying but try not to carry on about it and negatively effect other people’s days.

Once you do that, get out there and take a freaking big breath of that fresh Aussie air deep in your lungs, look at how blue the sky is and how green the trees are; It is so beautiful. Think how lucky you are to be able to do just that – breathe.

You might have got caught in bad traffic today, or had a bad sleep because your beautiful babies kept you awake, or your hairdresser cut your hair too short. Your new fake nails might have got a chip, your boobs are too small, or you have cellulite on your arse and your belly is wobbling.

Let all that shit go.. I swear you will not be thinking of those things when it is your turn to go. It is all SO insignificant when you look at life as a whole. I’m watching my body waste away right before my eyes with nothing I can do about it and all I wish for now is that I could have just one more Birthday or Christmas with my family, or just one more day with my partner and dog. Just one more.

I hear people complaining about how terrible work is or about how hard it is to exercise – Be grateful you are physically able to. Work and exercise may seem like such trivial things … until your body doesn’t allow you to do either of them.

I tried to live a healthy life, in fact, that was probably my major passion. Appreciate your good health and functioning body- even if it isn’t your ideal size. Look after it and embrace how amazing it is. Move it and nourish it with fresh food. Don’t obsess over it.

Remember there are more aspects to good health than the physical body.. work just as hard on finding your mental, emotional and spiritual happiness too. That way you might realise just how insignificant and unimportant having this stupidly portrayed perfect social media body really is.. While on this topic, delete any account that pops up on your news feeds that gives you any sense of feeling shit about yourself. Friend or not.. Be ruthless for your own well-being.

Be grateful for each day you don’t have pain and even the days where you are unwell with man flu, a sore back or a sprained ankle, accept it is shit but be thankful it isn’t life threatening and will go away.

Whinge less, people! .. And help each other more.

Give, give, give. It is true that you gain more happiness doing things for others than doing them for yourself. I wish I did this more. Since I have been sick, I have met the most incredibly giving and kind people and been the receiver of the most thoughtful and loving words and support from my family, friends and strangers; More than I could I ever give in return. I will never forget this and will be forever grateful to all of these people.

It is a weird thing having money to spend at the end.. when you’re dying. It’s not a time you go out and buy material things that you usually would, like a new dress. It makes you think how silly it is that we think it is worth spending so much money on new clothes and ‘things’ in our lives.

Buy your friend something kind instead of another dress, beauty product or jewellery for that next wedding. 1. No-one cares if you wear the same thing twice 2. It feels good. Take them out for a meal, or better yet, cook them a meal. Shout their coffee. Give/ buy them a plant, a massage or a candle and tell them you love them when you give it to them.

Value other people’s time. Don’t keep them waiting because you are shit at being on time. Get ready earlier if you are one of those people and appreciate that your friends want to share their time with you, not sit by themselves, waiting on a mate. You will gain respect too! Amen sister.

This year, our family agreed to do no presents and despite the tree looking rather sad and empty (I nearly cracked Christmas Eve!), it was so nice because people didn’t have the pressure of shopping and the effort went into writing a nice card for each other. Plus imagine my family trying to buy me a present knowing they would probably end up with it themselves.. strange! It might seem lame but those cards mean more to me than any impulse purchase could. Mind you, it was also easier to do in our house because we had no little kiddies there. Anyway, moral of the story- presents are not needed for a meaningful Christmas. Moving on.

Use your money on experiences.. Or at least don’t miss out on experiences because you spent all your money on material shit.

Put in the effort to do that day trip to the beach you keep putting off. Dip your feet in the water and dig your toes in the sand. Wet your face with salt water.

Get amongst nature.

Try just enjoying and being in moments rather than capturing them through the screen of your phone. Life isn’t meant to be lived through a screen nor is it about getting the perfect photo.. enjoy the bloody moment, people! Stop trying to capture it for everyone else.

Random rhetorical question. Are those several hours you spend doing your hair and make up each day or to go out for one night really worth it? I’ve never understood this about females 🤔.

Get up early sometimes and listen to the birds while you watch the beautiful colours the sun makes as it rises.

Listen to music.. really listen. Music is therapy. Old is best.

Cuddle your dog. Far out, I will miss that.

Talk to your friends. Put down your phone. Are they doing okay?

Travel if it’s your desire, don’t if it’s not.

Work to live, don’t live to work.

Seriously, do what makes your heart feel happy.

Eat the cake. Zero guilt.

Say no to things you really don’t want to do.

Don’t feel pressured to do what other people might think is a fulfilling life.. you might want a mediocre life and that is so okay.

Tell your loved ones you love them every time you get the chance and love them with everything you have.

Also, remember if something is making you miserable, you do have the power to change it – in work or love or whatever it may be. Have the guts to change. You don’t know how much time you’ve got on this earth so don’t waste it being miserable. I know that is said all the time but it couldn’t be more true.

Anyway, that’s just this one young gals life advice. Take it or leave it, I don’t mind!

Oh and one last thing, if you can, do a good deed for humanity (and myself) and start regularly donating blood. It will make you feel good with the added bonus of saving lives. I feel like it is something that is so overlooked considering every donation can save 3 lives! That is a massive impact each person can have and the process really is so simple.

Blood donation (more bags than I could keep up with counting) helped keep me alive for an extra year – a year I will be forever grateful that I got to spend it here on Earth with my family, friends and dog. A year I had some of the greatest times of my life.

..’Til we meet again

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114 Comments

  • Reply
    Ten Factorial Rocks
    January 15, 2018 at 8:22 am

    Beautiful post, Tawcan. And happy new year! The 9 year long bull market has made many “swell” into FIRE territory and take “click-baity” risks. As Warren Buffet famously said “only when the tide goes out, you find out who’s been swimming naked”! I have post on a similar topic (but with a different twist) coming up shortly that you may like.

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      January 15, 2018 at 10:08 am

      Thank you, I appreciate your kind words. I love Buffett’s quote and it’s so true. When things are going well, everyone’s smart. It will be interesting to see how the FIRE community is like when there’s a bear market eventually.

  • Reply
    Mike at Balanced Dividends
    January 15, 2018 at 8:33 am

    Great post. Thanks for sharing that letter as well.

    On your FIRE note, this point really resonates with me: “FIRE is more of a lifestyle rather than a key life milestone. ”

    Well said. Thanks for the post. – Mike

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      January 15, 2018 at 10:09 am

      Hi Mike,

      Glad that quote resonates well with you. We all need to treat FIRE more of a lifestyle, rather than looking at a milestone. When it becomes a lifestyle, it is a lot easier to maintain.

      • Reply
        Jason@WinningPersonalFinance
        January 16, 2018 at 5:06 pm

        Beautiful Post Tawcan. For some, it takes a (financial) number to attain the lifestyle. You are right though. The goal is the lifestyle not the number.

        • Reply
          Tawcan
          January 17, 2018 at 8:14 am

          Thank you Jason for your kind words. 🙂

  • Reply
    Caroline
    January 15, 2018 at 8:42 am

    Beautiful post! Many of us don’t realize what a gift life is until we lose a loved one.
    On your FIRE comment, I am working towards FI (maybe FF now) part but not ready for the RE either:)

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      January 15, 2018 at 10:10 am

      Hi Caroline,

      Thank you very much. FI is very powerful, it allows you to do quite many things in life and totally shifts your mentality toward “work.”

  • Reply
    Chris @ Mindful Explorer
    January 15, 2018 at 9:57 am

    You out of anyone who enjoys their work in the blogging world is someone that I believe can find the work life balance. It is great to see you have found a place of contentment and happiness which is the main importance of anything we choose to do. I like Financial Independence as the description as well, it doesn’t need the extra description.

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      January 15, 2018 at 10:11 am

      Thanks Chris. I still have a lot of learning and improving to do myself. 🙂

  • Reply
    Millionaire Doc
    January 15, 2018 at 10:53 am

    Thank you for the thoughtful post. I also have a career I enjoy and don’t plan to ever fully retire. The tagline of my blog is “Invest in Life”. It’s not about the net worth number or the final “retirement” destination. It’s about the road of life and how well it’s traveled. Pay attention to everything around you right now. Have a mindset of gratitude and thankfulness. A rich life is not about money.

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      January 15, 2018 at 1:44 pm

      That’s great that you have a career that you career that you enjoy. You’re so right, it’s about investing in life so you can fully enjoy your life, no matter how much money you have.

  • Reply
    Mr. Tako
    January 15, 2018 at 10:59 am

    Lots of powerful stuff in this one Tawcan! With the title being ‘RIP’ it initially seemed like you were giving up the idea.

    It’s this whole “retire” word in “FIRE” that causes problems I think. Financially Independent is a better fit for the lifestyle, but it doesn’t quite roll off the tongue as easily.

    I’m definitely with you on the click-baity nature of some FIRE blogs. I guess that stuff ‘sells’ to mass market audiences, but it’s not my cup of tea.

    I’m pretty happy having a tiny blog where I can write about what I want, and not feel the pressure to make money.

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      January 15, 2018 at 1:45 pm

      Haha I guess I purposely titled the post to make it like a click bait. :p

  • Reply
    Mrs SSC
    January 15, 2018 at 11:14 am

    Lovely post. My husband and I got frustrated with the term ‘FIRE’ also, for many of the same reasons as you, and have grown frustrated with all the click bait out there. We realized the term FIRE didn’t resonate to us – what we envisioned our life after being. So we ended up coming up with our own term FFLC – Fully financed lifestyle change. We thought that encapsulated our goal more.

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      January 15, 2018 at 1:46 pm

      I love the FFLC term myself. It was really too bad that schedule didn’t work out back in October for a dinner meetup in Houston, would have been a lot of fun to talk more about FFLC and FIRE.

  • Reply
    dividendgeek
    January 15, 2018 at 2:42 pm

    Very nice article. I see FIRE as a milestone. Something to track my progress by and to keep me excited. When I reach it I might have some additional options.

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      January 16, 2018 at 10:49 am

      Hi divdidendgeek,

      It’s fine seeing FIRE as a milestone but my point of the post is that you need to work on yourself along the way rather than seeing FIRE as the solution for all of your problems now.

  • Reply
    Divnomics
    January 15, 2018 at 3:37 pm

    Probably one of the best posts I’ve read so far. Thanks for sharing your thoughts about this, and couldn’t be said enough. It’s something that I have struggled with a lot now I’m getting more into touch with the whole FIRE aspect of life instead of reaching a target number. This will keep me thinking, and I hope many others as well!

    p.s. I was a bit afraid you might be stopping with blogging when I read the title. Glad that’s not the case!

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      January 16, 2018 at 10:51 am

      Hi Dvinomics,

      Thank you very much, I really appreciate your kind words. It’s definitely easier said than done, that’s why we all need to make this a daily practice. 🙂

  • Reply
    Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life
    January 15, 2018 at 5:05 pm

    Funny, we’re on the same wavelength! (http://agaishanlife.com/2018/01/2018-new-year-new-plans/)

    It’s true that I view FIRE as an escape but it’s even more true that it’s not because I dislike my life. I love it! Not 100% because nothing is perfect but the vast majority of it is good and I appreciate it. I want more of what I have and having the freedom to spend more time doing the things I love while not sacrificing my health further for work is the entire reason I’m aiming for FI. But FI isn’t what’s going to make me happy. It’s just going to make it easier to stay happy for longer.

    I can appreciate the idea that we have limited time here in this life and that we should act accordingly. I do wish she hadn’t taken a jab at “females” for how they choose to spend their time though. I think the world already does plenty of that judgmental stuff. It’s much healthier to let people live, no?

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      January 16, 2018 at 10:53 am

      Haha great minds think alike. 🙂

      Exactly, FI will make things easier to stay happy for longer… but we must work on being happy now, so we can be even happier at FI.

      I wouldn’t take Holly’s statement as a jab at females. It was probably something she thought about given that she wrote it before she passed away. She probably thought she could have used that “getting ready” time to do something more valuable.

  • Reply
    Income Surfer
    January 15, 2018 at 5:20 pm

    Well done Tawcan. We had our own spin as well……and it wasn’t about the ending, but the beginning of how we REALLY wanted to spend our lives. With our kids, with our families/friends, traveling, and only working on projects we really enjoyed. Next month will mark two years, and it’s been great. Funny thing though…..Mrs. IS decided to go back to work now that she found a job she loves. It’s crazy and unexpected because I have to really work on her to get her to take an extended vacation. Still, she’s doing what she loves…..as much or little as she likes :o)
    -Bryan

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      January 16, 2018 at 10:54 am

      Hi Bryan,

      That’s a nice spin, I love it! What you’re doing is great and I can’t believe it’s almost 2 years coming up. Working at a job that you enjoy will definitely change your perspective on “work.”

  • Reply
    Passivecanadianincome
    January 15, 2018 at 7:42 pm

    Nice post. That womens letter was great. Im really anal about being late. While my wife says its normal sith her family. It drives me nuts i try to be on time constantly. Good on your parents for always going to sports and events. My parents split and my dad rasied me and my 2 sisters. He was always working. I learnt allt of stuff myself or with friends and sporting events he would come to finals only. I dont blame him, but its something that i look back at and dont want to emulate. I will try my hardest to go.to every sporting or school play etc.
    Cheers!

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      January 16, 2018 at 10:56 am

      Hi Passivecanadianicome,

      I hate being late too, but since having children we occasionally get to appointments late. But that’s part of having kids and learning how to adopt to these changes.

  • Reply
    The Dividend Mogul
    January 15, 2018 at 8:20 pm

    Amazing post. Part that hit me most! – “You still need to work on those problems in your life regardless of you are FIRE’d or not. Instead of using FIRE as an excuse not to work on these problems right now, start taking steps to resolve these problems. Stop ignoring problems in your life thinking they will disappear once you are financially independent or retired.” Keep it up!

    -TDM

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      January 16, 2018 at 10:57 am

      Hi TDM,

      Thank you, glad to have inspired you a little bit on the FIRE journey.

  • Reply
    Buy, Hold Long
    January 15, 2018 at 8:31 pm

    A very interesting post. I think some people see FIRE as different things and over time it has lost it’s true meaning. To me, FIRE means being able to retire while still being able to live my life without the financial stress. I am a long way from this but one day I hope to achieve this.

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      January 16, 2018 at 10:58 am

      Thank you Buy, Hold Long. I love your definition of FIRE. It’s all about being able to live your life without the financial stress. I just wish people can stop focusing on the RE part and focusing more on the FI part.

  • Reply
    Grant @MillennialMoney
    January 15, 2018 at 9:51 pm

    This is really beautiful. For me it actually took achieving financial independence before I realized any of this. I really wanted freedom, control, options. I always felt trapped in my career, even when I wasn’t. This is why I parted ways with my business partners – I just stopped growing. FIRE to me has always been about the freedom to walk away – to follow your passion, to do something you love. Doing some you love and being around those you love is all it’s about. Hopefully, people find their way to it, FIRE or not. For me, for some reason, not having money was always a burden, a leash, a huge weight, a dark place. Once I saw a way out I just ran as fast as I could to get as far away from broke as possible – I made a few good decisions when coupled with luck made all the difference. Sure, I happened to make $1 million in 5 years (I see you reference that in here a few times), but I just wanted time. Money’s not the goal, time is. Whether you make $10 an hour or $1,000, if you don’t make the most of your time it doesn’t matter. Having to spend almost the entire year going from client to client wasn’t a life, I hated it. It was a means to an end – i’d live on as little as possible and save as much as possible and then do what I wanted. It’s definitely a flawed goal, you’re right. Fi not an endpoint, it a worldview. Thanks again for sharing.

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      January 16, 2018 at 11:01 am

      Hi Grant,

      Thank you so much. I think all of us want more freedom, control, and options in life. But we all need to realize FIRE doesn’t automatically give us these things. We need to practice getting more freedom, control, and options every day. So when we get to FIRE, we know what to do with our lives.

      For the 5 years making a million reference, I wasn’t specifically targeting you lol. It just popped up in my head while writing the article. Nothing wrong with doing that. The problem is, the articles often focus on that and project a false image for ppl reading the articles.

      It’s all about how you value your time. 🙂

  • Reply
    Dividend Diplomats
    January 15, 2018 at 9:53 pm

    This was a great read tawcan. You had me with the title and I was very interested where you were going with the article 🙂 But I think you shine light on the “problem” with FIRE. But I don’t think it is necessarily a problem, more of a misunderstanding. You highlighted it in the article after all. FIRE isn’t the sexy image the click bait articles place in front of you. To me, it just allows you to leave the job you hate and pursue something you are passionate about. Whether it is having enough cash flow or not, FIRE allows you to break free and go for it all. Sure there is still a lot of hard work involved and you are going to be hustling your tail off. But i ntheory, it should be over something you are much more excited and passionate about, which will overall make you a happier person. To me, that’s what FIRE is all about. Thanks for sharing the note about being grateful. Man that is some powerful stuff and it has given me a lot to think about over the next few months. Especially as I work in my busiest time when every small thing you do or mistake made is under a microscope.

    Take care,

    Bert

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      January 16, 2018 at 11:05 am

      Hi Bert,

      Haha the post title was a bit of a click bait. :p
      Yes it’s more of a misunderstanding on what FIRE is. Unfortunately, the main stream media is painting the wrong image of what FIRE is, so your average Joes and Janes will think the FIRE community & ppl in the community as a bunch of privileged snobs.

      FIRE may allow you to leave the job that you hate and pursue something you are passionate about. But ask yourself this, what’s prevent you from doing that same thing right now before you reach FIRE? 🙂

  • Reply
    Team CF
    January 15, 2018 at 11:36 pm

    Great post Bob, as noted above, probably one of your best on this more philosophic topic.
    But to a degree I have some mixed feelings. You clearly like your job, I don’t (anymore). Despite several attempts to change jobs and careers, I don’t seem to be able to get that spark/satisfaction back.
    This does not mean that I’m not happy in life (I am), but the burden of a job to get to FIRE is getting to me.
    For me FIRE is indeed a finish line, but also a starting line when the burden of paid work disappears and I finally have the time to develop other skills and make new experiences. It’s not an easy situation to be in and I feel for the people that are in a similar situation.

    Perhaps I have my priorities wrong and need to make other decisions, but you do need to earn money to become FIRE. You also need fun in your life, finding the balance can be a challenge!

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      January 16, 2018 at 11:08 am

      Hi Team CF,

      Thank you very much. I went a little philosophical overboard with this article ha.

      Yes I do like my job (for the most part) but there are things that I wish I can do more. That’s why I am pursuing FIRe just like you. I think rather than treating FIRE as a finish line, treating it as a new starting line. Work on releasing that burden of paid work and look at your life froma different perspective. 🙂

  • Reply
    Dividends Down Under
    January 16, 2018 at 2:34 am

    I was about a third of the way through this and thought ‘this is one of your best posts’ and by the end I’m convinced this is your best post.

    I agree with all your points, a lot of people are yearning for something that they can’t quite reach – even if they achieve FIRE. Being good with your money is a great choice, investing is a wonderful choice but if/when you achieve FIRE there are still many decades of life to go. It fits into the whole problem of Facebook or Instagram – you see the best pictures of the most desired lifestyles, but that isn’t most people. You can’t aim for happiness, it’s everything surrounding it that you can do.

    Anyway, if everyone works towards a life earning enough money for what they want whilst doing (not-)work they love, the desire to retire early will disappear.

    Thanks for spending so much time on this post Bob, it was really good and got me thinking.

    Mr DDU

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      January 16, 2018 at 11:10 am

      Wow, my best post? Hopefully this wouldn’t be the high point of my blogging career lol. :p

      Funny you mentioned about Facebook and Instagram b/c I wrote a post about them too… how ppl are projecting false images of themselves on social media – https://www.tawcan.com/dont-hide-behind-imaginary-role/

  • Reply
    Mrs. Adventure Rich
    January 16, 2018 at 3:41 am

    This is an amazing post, Bob. I saw you post it yesterday but I didn’t read it because as soon as I started, I realized I needed to find time to really read (not skim!) it and pay attention so I saved it for this morning.

    First off, I find a lot of relatability with your situation. I am 6 years into my first job out of college, I enjoy my job and my coworkers, I am married to an amazing person with a beautiful son, and I am now the sole breadwinner in our household.

    FIRE (or at least, FI in some way) is a goal of ours, but not because we hate our life. Quite the opposite. I’d love to be able to enhance some of the areas of our life with more free time if we do hit FI, but I am also working to enhance those areas now. Today. Spending time with family, taking walks, going on adventures, being involved in our community/volunteering, etc.

    It is not always easy and the stress of life can absolutely creep up on us, but we are so blessed and lucky to be in the situation we are in. And to be honest, we are a LOOOONG way off from FIRE so it can be hard to keep motivated and on track! That is where your article comes in. What can we do today to keep improving, to enjoy life? How can we make sure our pre-FI life is a good life and not a grind? And what are we thankful for?

    Thank you for writing this and thank you for sharing Holly’s incredible words.

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      January 16, 2018 at 11:14 am

      Hi Mrs. Adventure Rich,

      I really appreciate you taking the time to actually read the article rather than skimming through it. 🙂

      Yes we definitely can relate a lot with our situations, and that’s why I love the FIRE community so much – so many ppl in the same situation and we’re all helping each other. I think treating FIRE as a way to enhance different areas of your life is a great way to look at FIRE. That’s completely different approach than seeing FIRE as the escape. 🙂

      FIRE is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. For some, the definition of FIRE may change along the journey. You may think that you need $1M to reach FIRE, but maybe you’ll need less because things change in life (i.e. moving to a lower cost of living place). That’s the beautiful thing about life, nothing is static. We need to be fluid and flexible in life and adapt along the way.

  • Reply
    Tanya
    January 16, 2018 at 4:35 am

    Hi Bob this is such an incredible post. You are one of my favorites and I look forward to reading your blog because you take the time to provide tips on how others can achieve achieve financial independence and well being. Thanks for sharing Holly’s words

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      January 16, 2018 at 11:15 am

      Thank you Tanya, I appreciate your kind words.

  • Reply
    timeinthemarket
    January 16, 2018 at 5:08 am

    Good read Bob. I definitely agree that FIRE means different things for different people but the important thread we all share is that search for happiness. I think many people think that somehow things will magically change once their work life is over but it’s not often that simple. I do agree that if you’re not happy now then I think it’ll be difficult to find happiness once you’re done with work. After all, work is only a part of your life and most people have plenty of free time to find that happiness elsewhere. There are exceptions to this as some people do work in jobs that keep them there for 80 hours and are simply too tired to do anything afterwards and those people will likely do better in their post life work.

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      January 16, 2018 at 11:17 am

      Yup, search for true happiness is something every single one of us is doing every day. Rather than seeing FIRE as the ultimate way to achieve true happiness, practice being happier every single day. Work shouldn’t define who you are and dictate how you feel. Like you said, it’s only a small part of your life. 🙂

  • Reply
    Tom @ Dividends Diversify
    January 16, 2018 at 5:30 am

    I first came across the term FIRE reading the book “Work Less, Live More” in 2005. The book referenced a finance tool called FIREcalc that helped you understand if you had enough money to retire early. The book also helped address many of the issues you raise. It’s still a great read for anyone interested in the topic. Tom

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      January 16, 2018 at 11:17 am

      Hi Tom,

      I’ve not read that book but it sounds like a book I should read. 🙂

  • Reply
    Money Beagle
    January 16, 2018 at 7:47 am

    FIRE is definitely the current buzzword in the personal finance world. I’ve been around for nine years or so now, so I’ve seen a couple of others come and go. Eventually FIRE will settle down and the next new thing will come along. I know that people are passionate about it, but it’s never something I embraced. I happen to enjoy working!

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      January 16, 2018 at 11:18 am

      Haha yea, FIRE is the current buzzword in the personal finance world. I wonder what’s going to be the next buzzword.

  • Reply
    Mr. FWP
    January 16, 2018 at 9:23 am

    Bob, great post! I love the perspective in that letter at the end. You really nailed it: people have very low job satisfaction, and that drives a lot of the negative energy. And that’s something people should focus on and do something about whether they’re contemplating FIRE or nowhere near it. That’s the kind of thing I enjoy writing about and helping people with.

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      January 16, 2018 at 11:19 am

      I actually read that letter a few times to really reflect on life. It’s such a powerful letter.

  • Reply
    DividendFamilyGuy
    January 16, 2018 at 9:46 am

    Wow never thought of things that way. You a right. I want to be financially independent to do what I want. If it makes money great but even greater is if it helps the world.
    Peace,
    DFG

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      January 16, 2018 at 11:20 am

      Glad that I got you thinking a different way about FIRE. 🙂

  • Reply
    The Scientist
    January 16, 2018 at 12:51 pm

    I agree. I’m finding in my journey that it’s all about being happy. In the end I think it’s all about connections and experiences. I’m not too focused on the RE portion of FIRE as the FI portion. I too have found myself blogging more about my growth as a person (e.g. focus, discipline, giving, etc) as opposed to the financial aspects of my FI path (though I blog about that too). Great to see others feel the same. Thanks for sharing.

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      January 17, 2018 at 8:10 am

      It’s a daily practice on being happy. Some days this is an easy process, some days, this is a tougher process. That’s great you’ve been blogging more about your growth as a person. Those are the kind of posts I really enjoy reading. 🙂

  • Reply
    Financial Orchid
    January 16, 2018 at 1:44 pm

    Similarly growing up in van to Asian immigrant parents who whether by choice or not had to retire after the inability to assimilate into the western work environment at middle age I had the privilege to go home for a hot lunch when everyone else was stuck with their pb&j while a lot of parents had day jobs.
    My mom would deliver homework that I forgot at home. They totally put my success in school as the highest priority but of course there are trade offs to early retirement and full time parenting . Things like watching mortgage rates fall and not being able to qualify for a mortgage during a declining rate opportunity and watching those GIC returns shrink from those healthy risk free 6-9% to paltry 2% is just one of many. Other Chinese classmates had parents who lived in tony neigbbourboods but sat around at home all day resisting to spend and having too much daytime to worry about running out of money are also real downsides to early retirement .

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      January 17, 2018 at 8:13 am

      Very interesting to hear someone that had a similar background as me. My parents certainly put my and my brother’s success in school as one of the high priorities in their lives. But don’t recall them delivering homework if we forgot them though. They definitely wanted us to be responsible for ourselves. 🙂

      Yea there are definitely tough things that immigrants face for sure.

      • Reply
        weenie
        January 17, 2018 at 2:52 pm

        Ha, my mum was an ‘Asian Tiger Mom’ and we weren’t allowed to underachieve at school! I am grateful for how hard she pushed us though. Both my folks retired early but I inexplicably didn’t follow their example and got caught in the consumer debt trap for most of my adult life, until I sorted myself out.

        Anyway, thanks for sharing this thought-provoking post. I have a 25 year career under my belt so when I reach FI, it’s highly likely that RE will follow pretty quickly, although I guess it’s not RE when compared to those ‘retiring’ in their 30s and 40s.

        Also, I’ve never hated any of the jobs I’ve had but I’ve always looked forward to the weekends and going on holiday!

        Holly’s letter was beautiful and I’m glad to say, I already practice much of what she writes and I am indeed a happier person than I used to be.

        • Reply
          Tawcan
          January 18, 2018 at 12:09 pm

          That’s awesome both of your parents retired early. Haha love that “Asian Tiger Mom” term, I didn’t know there’s actually a term. :p

          I think FI and RE aren’t mutually inclusive. Just because you are FI, you can decide to continue working.

  • Reply
    Accidental FIRE
    January 16, 2018 at 6:02 pm

    Too many people do indeed hate their jobs, but as much as it would be great to see that change in the future I’m not sure it can. There are just too many jobs that have to be done in our economy that suck. And many of the ones that don’t start sucking once you put a managerial structure on them and all the associated human/personality/drama-type things that come along with it.

    Great post

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      January 17, 2018 at 8:15 am

      The key is to be able to treat jobs as jobs rather than having them affecting other areas in your life. Easier said than done for sure.

  • Reply
    Paul
    January 17, 2018 at 7:28 am

    Excellent post. I agree FIRE has spun a little out of control – there’s an ongoing hyperbole / limbo contest (I’m banking on the hunter-gatherer lad who “retired” at the age of 10 after he learned everything he needed to know to survive), and I think you’ve raised the level of the discussion here back to where it needs to be – thank you!

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      January 17, 2018 at 8:15 am

      FIRE is probably the current personal finance fad… just like hygge is overtaking all these lifestyle blogs.

  • Reply
    Weekend Reading – How to build fat RRSPs, beating Buffett, unaffordable U.S. cities and more - My Own Advisor
    January 18, 2018 at 5:30 pm

    […] Tawcan put an end to his pursuit for FIRE. I really enjoyed his article including the referenced letter at the end from a 20-something that is sadly no longer with us.  Here is my article about FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early).  Upon further reflection, I’m not obsessed with an early retirement to run away from something.  Rather, I want to be working towards something; something greater while enjoying the journey. […]

  • Reply
    Mike
    January 19, 2018 at 10:20 am

    You hit the nail on the head,I achieved FIRE and just keep on trucking,haven’t quit work because I love what I do.What FIRE gives me is the ability to step away from the stress of work.It is pretty hard to be stressed when my investments pay more than my gross wage.When the bosses are losing it and trying to make my life hell I just laugh,work is fun,my coworkers who live payday to payday though are stressed.There is power in FIRE and that is financial confidence which allows you to take risks.
    My bosses at work have bungled a big project and I refuse to work all the extra time to cover for their mismanagement,the threat of no promotion or bonus doesn’t work on me I just putter along and say “oh well”
    When I was younger a got a job over a lot of other more qualified guys because my new boss said”you have a wife and kids, own a house so you will show up for work for the next thirty years because of your monetary obligations “basically I bought my way into slavery.Now I am free!

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      January 19, 2018 at 12:54 pm

      Awesome to hear someone that has achieved FIRE and continued working. You definitely get a different perspective. 🙂

  • Reply
    Joe
    January 19, 2018 at 12:28 pm

    I’m going to respectfully disagree. Maybe it’s just me.
    Life got better the instant I quit my job. Yes, I hated it with a passion.
    The job was making me an angry unhappy depressed dude. Once I cut that out of my life, I’m back to being my happy go lucky self again. FIRE is awesome and I love it.
    My last 2 years at work was horrible, though. It would have been better if I found a better situation elsewhere. Now, I advise people to avoid being miserable for too long. You can push through one or two years, but don’t do it for too long.
    FI is better than not FI any day of the week.

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      January 19, 2018 at 12:56 pm

      Hi Joe,

      The entire premise of the article is that you need to be happy now, FIRE doesn’t magically make you happy. I suppose in your case it did. But sounds like your job was the root cause of you feeling miserable. What if you switched your job? Would you be happier?

      • Reply
        Joe
        January 24, 2018 at 12:11 pm

        I changed job in 2003 and felt better for a few years. By 2008, I knew I had to get out. Changing career might have been a better choice. However, I think being self employed and having that freedom really made the huge difference.

  • Reply
    Frankie
    January 19, 2018 at 7:24 pm

    Very nice post Bob, resonates very strongly with me. I’m very much on your wavelength here. I see too many people obsessing over hitting FI and retiring early at the expense of everything else in life today. Easy for me to say when I enjoy what I do for work (like you), but it wasn’t always that way. I was completely obsessed about escaping life though FIRE in my earlier days, but once I actually found a great place to work, and more balance in my day-to-day life, FIRE has certainly faded to the background.

    I think everyone should still ultimately work towards FI, but if your days are miserable today you need to change something today – just as you said, FIRE won’t necessarily make life a fairytale.

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      January 22, 2018 at 11:07 am

      Thanks Frankie. We shouldn’t be so obsessed with hitting FI and retiring early. Better to enjoy your life now and prepare for the future. 🙂

  • Reply
    Lloyd
    January 20, 2018 at 6:14 am

    Having recently lost my 27 year old daughter Jenn, I can say without equivocation that after losing a child, all that crap we thought was important really wasn’t.

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      January 22, 2018 at 11:08 am

      Very sorry to hear about your loss. 🙁

  • Reply
    MissSaraBee
    January 20, 2018 at 1:22 pm

    Absolutely beautiful. So inspiring. Thank you for sharing. You have made my day a bit brighter by sharing this.

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      January 22, 2018 at 11:23 am

      Thank you MissSaraBee.

  • Reply
    Keisha Blair
    January 21, 2018 at 11:57 am

    Very, very true!! I never really thought of these articles as click bait but you raise a very good point! Life isn’t simply about some finish line or retirement goal. I thought I would have been one of those to retire very early too – as my husband passed away at 34, and I thought there’s no way I’m going to spend my life in a cubicle. Now that I’ve found my passion, I don’t obsess about retirement anymore. I took a sabbatical after my husband passed away and realized that its your passion that matters, not a finish line. More on the sabbatical here:
    http://www.keishablair.com/life-lessons/my-husband-died-at-age-34-here-are-40-life-lessons-ive-learned-from-it/

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      January 22, 2018 at 11:25 am

      Sorry about your husband passing away. That was a fantastic article that you wrote.

  • Reply
    Drew @FIIntrovert.com
    January 25, 2018 at 1:00 pm

    “…no matter where you go, you will always bring yourself. So if you are not in a happy place while pursuing FIRE, you sure won’t be happy once you reach it.”

    This is a great post, especially the preceding line. It should be required reading for those pursuing FI.

    I want to make my blog into a resource for introverts to better enjoy their working careers. If they are more joyful, they will also likely get to FI quicker, which may bring more joy and/or space for creativity and flexibility.

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      January 25, 2018 at 4:10 pm

      Thank you Drew. You’ll be surprised how many PF bloggers are introverts. 🙂

  • Reply
    Steven
    January 25, 2018 at 1:09 pm

    The article from Holly has tears in my eyes. She is such a brave, brave young lady, to be able to inspire so many of us whilst going through so much pain.

    I’m genuinely in tears as I type, such was the power of her writing.

    My heart goes out to her family. For the first time in my life, I will be donating blood tomorrow.

    Thank you Holly. God bless you.

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      January 25, 2018 at 4:11 pm

      It was very brave of her to write that letter, shortly before her death. Made me reflect on life a lot.

  • Reply
    Wealthy Doc
    January 25, 2018 at 2:09 pm

    We need more thoughtful posts like this out there. I started out gunning for FIRE after my first “big person” job in 1998. There weren’t a lot of resources but there were a few obscure books and role models even then. Once I reached FI I had no interest in RE. I loved my work even more after becoming FI. I felt more empowered to shape my work around what I liked and what I was good at. I now am well-passed FI and continuing part-time. The work brings a lot of rewards, but it is great to know if things change I can renegotiate terms or simply walk away. Having options rock. Everyone should know about FI (and maybe strive for it?) but RE isn’t for everyone.

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      January 25, 2018 at 4:12 pm

      Thank you Wealthy Doc. That’s awesome you loved your work even before reaching FI and loved your work more after becoming FI. Being empowered is exactly what it’d be like.

  • Reply
    Mark
    January 26, 2018 at 11:15 pm

    Holy hell, thank you. I started following FIRE blogs a few years back, primarily to keep me on track for my planned early-ish retirement. I drank the Kool Aid, and soon early retirement became the end in itself. Where I had been relatively content at work in the past, I came to resent my ongoing commitments. I could tell you on any day how many days until my retirement.
    It took me a full year after I realized the trap that I had fallen into to reverse direction and reconnect with my purpose. I ask myself and my colleagues frequently, “why do you come to work?” It’s not just to make enough to retire. It can’t be.

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      January 29, 2018 at 11:16 am

      I’m happy to hear that you have realized that you have fallen the trap and have reconnected with your purpose. 🙂

  • Reply
    The Sunday Best (1/28/2018) - Physician on FIRE
    January 28, 2018 at 1:57 am

    […] The FIRE is dead. Long live the FIRE! For one person named Bob, the FIRE is dead. From Tawcan, FIRE. RIP. 2014 – 2018. […]

  • Reply
    Jacq
    January 28, 2018 at 9:57 am

    My parents saved well, and we’re both able to retire early (under 60). I used them as my original inspiration. JL Collins post about being able to say, fine I’ll just walk, made me realize the power of FI. I dislike long commutes, and the environmental impact. While I enjoy some of my coworkers, some of them gossip all day I wonder how they get work done, and I’m not great at office politics. I know there are ways, once I have more experience, to become an independent contractor, with remote work. That is where FI will help me negotiate on my terms.
    The ability to do more of what I want instead of squeezing it in around the job and on weekends. Lunch with friends, time with my parents & family, honoring my body’s rhythm for sleeping eating and exercise. Mrs. Groovy’s post about being boring resonated with me because it sounds like a great way to spend my time.
    But I am squeezing my ideal life in evenings and weekends for now, not delaying happiness, having a healthy dash of gratitude that I can have theses goals and a really good chance to make them happen.
    Thank you for your thoughtfullness, and sharing your insight.

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      January 29, 2018 at 11:18 am

      Thank you for the comment. I don’t like long commutes and the office politics too. They are, unfortunately, the unnecessary evils.

      This post is more about learning to enjoy your life now and finding ways to improve it today, rather than waiting till FIRE until you become happy. 🙂

  • Reply
    Lazy Man and Money
    January 28, 2018 at 2:44 pm

    I liked this article, but it felt a little absolute. I feel that it can be 96% true, but maybe there’s the other 4% like Joe in the comments above that FI made all the difference. Sure, maybe he could have changed jobs, but that’s kind of what he ended up doing by being FI.

    It sounds cool to just say be happy, but sometimes it really isn’t that easy. It’s true that most of it is just sweating the small stuff, but I don’t know how to simply turn on happy switch. I’m still trying to figure it most of the time. I think if we had FI and my wife retired that would be great. The military pension kicks in next year, so maybe everything will change then.

    One thing that makes me happy is giving my kids the best education possible. Unfortunately, it’s very expensive and delays FI.

    I think it’s kind of what you said about happiness coming from the inside. Maybe I still practice with that :-).

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      January 29, 2018 at 11:19 am

      I realized it’s not true for everyone, and that’s exactly what Joe pointed out. I do think FIRE will lead to higher quality of life and more happiness for most people. But the thing is, you can’t see FIRE as the end point… like you’ll not be happy until you reach FIRE. That might be the wrong approach to life. That’s like saying you won’t be happy until you get that Porsche 911. 🙂

  • Reply
    aGoodLifeMD
    January 29, 2018 at 7:11 pm

    Well said. FI = options, and options = Awesome.

    We Reached FI and celebrated one weekend. Then we woke up the next morning and life was basically the same. But I’ve got that FI card in my hand now and can play it whenever.

    That might mean harder negotiation for what we want at work, cutting back, changing careers or full on FIRE.

    I found your blog through Physician on Fire Sunday Best. I just started my own blog and really dig your message. Keep on!

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      January 30, 2018 at 10:43 am

      Congrats on reaching FI and thank you for your kind words.

      You’re right, most of the time, FI doesn’t really change your day to day life.

  • Reply
    30 Times and Then You're Dead. Unless...How to Get Rich With Exercise
    January 30, 2018 at 7:36 pm

    […] “…no matter where you go, you will always bring yourself. So if you are not in a happy place while pursuing FIRE, you sure won’t be happy once you reach it.” Tawcan in FIRE. RIP. 2014-2018 […]

  • Reply
    Is the FIRE Movement Dying? (plus an intro to Better) » The Stacking Benjamins Network
    February 2, 2018 at 12:02 am

    […] FIRE. RIP. 2014-2018 (Tawcan) […]

  • Reply
    Andrew
    February 5, 2018 at 1:35 pm

    This is one of my favourite posts from any FI blog. So good!

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      February 5, 2018 at 3:34 pm

      Thank you Andrew.

  • Reply
    Wealthy Content
    February 7, 2018 at 4:04 am

    Amazing post, this is something worth bookmarking and returning to. It is a constant daily practice and not something to loose sight off in the FIRE journey. Thanks a lot!

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      February 7, 2018 at 10:25 am

      Thank you Wealthy Content for the kind comment.

  • Reply
    Wendy
    February 11, 2018 at 2:29 am

    This post resonates with me so much! I am walking away from my corporate life this month, and I am nowhere near that FIRE status, and I’m totally happy with it. I am joining a coding camp to pick up new skills, and pursue life at my own terms. Thanks for the focus on inner happiness and the meaning of freedom!

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      February 13, 2018 at 10:10 am

      Thank you Wendy.

  • Reply
    Options vs Choices - Wealthy Content
    February 19, 2018 at 7:39 am

    […] be even more so in other parts of personal finance especially FIRE. A recent very well written and thought-provoking article by Tawcan reminded me of this subject […]

  • Reply
    Why I’m Obsessed With Cemeteries – No Comment Diary
    February 23, 2018 at 3:04 am

    […] leave you with one last passage I caught over on Tawcan.com the other month, who shared the last words of a young woman struggling against cancer… It’s one […]

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    Why I’m Obsessed With Cemeteries – Business Updates
    February 23, 2018 at 7:14 am

    […] leave you with one last passage I caught over on Tawcan.com the other month, who shared the last words of a young woman struggling against cancer… It’s one […]

  • Reply
    Why I’m Obsessed With Cemeteries – Hoory Folina – Blog
    February 23, 2018 at 8:33 am

    […] leave you with one last passage I caught over on Tawcan.com the other month, who shared the last words of a young woman struggling against cancer… […]

  • Reply
    Why I’m Obsessed With Cemeteries – Allen May – Blog
    February 23, 2018 at 9:33 am

    […] leave you with one last passage I caught over on Tawcan.com the other month, who shared the last words of a young woman struggling against cancer… […]

  • Reply
    Kate
    February 26, 2018 at 6:39 am

    This post hits at the heart of the true goals of FI and not just to be able to sit around and do nothing for the rest of one’s life. I would like to reach FI so that I can be freer to give of my time and energy to causes I believe in. Thank you for the good reminder of the “why” and not just the “what” of my goals.

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      February 26, 2018 at 7:17 pm

      Glad to hear that you enjoyed reading the post. 🙂

  • Reply
    Dr. MB
    April 1, 2018 at 10:23 pm

    Money is a tool. Nothing more. My goal was always to live on less enjoyably and easily. I prefer efficiency and effectiveness rather than busyness and clutter. FI was inevitable for my lifestyle no matter what career I would have chosen. It’s simply my habits that dictate that.

    Everyone needs to decide what FI means to them. There is certainly no one size fits all. That is what makes each individual’s journey interesting.

    No matter the end game after FI, being a master of your finances rather than being a slave to money can only be a good thing.

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      April 2, 2018 at 9:59 am

      Exactly, money is one of the tools that can help you in life. FI has different meanings to each person and we need to figure out that meaning ourselves.

  • Reply
    Simple Life With Less : A Mindful Happy Healthy Lifestyle • Mindful Explorer
    April 9, 2018 at 4:06 am

    […] me, retire early or not is not critical. The more important aspect is becoming financial independence to gain freedom and power in life. […]

  • Reply
    Jon Mohatt
    May 21, 2018 at 1:05 pm

    Well said and often missed by many. I just discovered your website, but know that I will be back. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and knowledge with all of us. I, for one, want you to know that it is appreciated and much enjoyed.

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      May 22, 2018 at 11:24 am

      Thanks Jon. Hope to see you more back here.

  • Reply
    FIRE. RIP. 2014-2018 - Rockstar Finance :: Curating the best of money and personal finance
    May 30, 2018 at 3:02 am

    […] Reprinted with the permission of Tawcan.com. […]

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