What will NOT happen when you reach FI

On weekend mornings I like to lay on the couch and watch early morning TV. (sometimes Merry joins me).  Often, I’m watching real estate shows that feature multi-million dollar NYC apartments.  Over the years, I’ve slowly realized…”that’s probably not going to happen.”

This particular post has taken on many titles in my mind:

“What do you do when your dream dies?”
“Being stopped on the one yard line.”
etc., etc.

For me, it’s more about having some time to reflect.

When I see people striving for “Financial independence”, I’m not exactly sure what they’re envisioning.  Since me and my wife recently passed the $1M Net worth mark (all in including retirement and equity) and own our apartment outright, it’s allowed me to take off a few years, and us to be a one income household.

I do, kind of get the feeling that people that are serious about FIRE, are managing their expectations toward having the freedom to do more enjoyable work and travel a bit.  That’s great, but I don’t think that’s everyone. Mainly, I think that because I fell into this later category.

Heck, I’m still not convinced that I’m cured of “wanting more”.

After I get my new hip in January 2019, (if I’m feeling more normal, like I can sit in an office chair for a full day), I think I’m going to head back to some type of full time employment.  It hasn’t been what I though it would be, this next year will be the “make or break” year for what FIRE looks like for us.

Travel is limited when you have one spouse working.

You’re not going to be tossing around piles of cash, or all of sudden driving your dream car.

If you’re building a portfolio on a “draw down” model, you’re not going to be simply able to grab $300K and buy your dream cabin in the woods.  If you’re anticipating a sizable inheritance from parents or others…then that’s different.  If you’re not, it’s going to be a continual balancing act.

When we were 30 and moved to NYC, and our salaries were on a serious upward trajectory, the sky was the limit. At 50, it’s not the same. Things change. Shit happens. Health problems pop up. Stock markets crash. You’re dealing with age discrimination.  The list goes on and on.

The other thing that really struck me this morning while watching that show, that featured an expensive apartment while the owner was providing tips on hosting a dinner party.  The reality is…”Rich people think differently.”  I’m not talking about money or obtaining it, or hoarding it.  I’m talking about social norms and moving in wealthy circles.  I always want people to feel “good enough”, but the reality is, if you don’t come from wealth, there might be significant challenges to “fitting in”.  That’s a pretty bold statement, but I don’t think people shooting for financial independence think about often enough.

So when you catch yourself watching TV, or secretly longing after that Prada handbag, ask yourself, honestly.  What is this going to look like in the future? and can I truly withstand FIRE?

You may also like

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *