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Comments (85)

Sep 6, 2021 - 6:36pm


FIRE = Financial Independence / Retire Early 

Let's hear your thoughts / stories / impressions on this topic… 

I am partly on it because I do not ever want to retire, more of doing other things as I get older.

SafariJoe, wins again!
  • 1
  • VP in IB-M&A
Sep 7, 2021 - 5:12pm

Early retirement sounds nice but most of us would probably be bored out of our minds. I know of more than a few friends' parents who were very successful and retired early-ish and eventually went back to working in some capacity. 

Sep 8, 2021 - 9:52pm

Not sure why you got the MS as this is true. Especially for people in high finance, the structure which the work environment offers is really crucial. Retirement, especially early, is perceived as a very rosy outlook but anecdotally people feel lost if they are fortunate enough to enter it and will seek out at least some kind of role so they have something to do.

  • 2
  • Incoming Analyst in IB - Gen
Sep 6, 2021 - 8:08pm

Me! Not necessarily sure I'm going to retire but I'll probably leave the us and go to Austria, Czech Republic, Eastern Europe, Mexico, or South America. Not because I hate the US, but more because I enjoy the slower pace of life and I've enjoyed my time living in those countries and the people I've met.

Even if I don't retire early, I think I'm doing incredibly well financially for a first year analyst and I'm super fortune to be in my current position. I've got a couple of financial milestones I'm working towards and it's put me in a position to be financially stable for the rest of my life. Idk what my next big move is but it's nice that I don't that money won't need to be the driving factor.

(Finally, this point might be super controversial on this forum but for me, I always want to be in a position financially to walk away from a relationship/marriage if for some reason it doesn't work out)

Sep 6, 2021 - 8:22pm


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Sep 6, 2021 - 11:02pm

Analyst 1 in IB - Gen

Absolutely me. I don't know about you all, but this shit is fucking miserable. Slogging away at the desk day after day while millions are made overnight in crypto. WFH made things bearable a bit by giving some privacy and freedom in the few down moments. Now my ass will be glued once again on top of all the work fuck this life.

I currently work for a company that I do not own but one day I plan to have my own company, when you love what you do, you do not see it as work.

SafariJoe, wins again!
Sep 6, 2021 - 8:27pm

Absolute on the FI track part of it (although far from my end goal), but I don't ever imagine myself not being productive in some capacity.  The way I see it at least, is that the FI part of the equation just gives you the freedom to explore and find how you want to contribute to our society and effectively buys your freedom.  I think if I were a lazy sod all day every day I'd probably start contemplating death.

  • Intern in IB - Cov
Sep 6, 2021 - 9:24pm

Had some lucky trading through college and currently a first year with about $60k invested and $10k student loans. Want to get somewhere in the $100-200k range while in banking in the next 1-2 years and I should be in coastFIRE range. Don't want to grind for most of my working career and have no plans on living in a VHCOL area, but saw the value in creating somewhat of a nest egg (at least in terms of present value) as early as possible to make money a less important factor later in my life. 

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Sep 6, 2021 - 9:29pm

In a little similar situation. Do you have that money just sitting invested in VOO or some ETF now? I haven't paid the taxes on mine yet (since we technically don't until next year) and have been letting it grow tax-deferred the rest of the year in a S&P 500 index fund is this safe? Assuming you can no longer pick out single equity names and restrictions.

  • Intern in IB - Cov
Sep 6, 2021 - 9:37pm

Most of mine was actually in 2020 so taxes are paid. Index funds should be fine, but if you really want some more peace of mind you could hold a bit of it in cash til taxes are sorted out. Mine is split basically a third each in my checkings, regular brokerage, and Roth IRA. Brokerage and IRA are mostly in indexes. Checkings account is actually what I'm living off now so I can contribute the max towards a roth 401k since we only have half a year of income this year it'll be a very valuable time to contribute post-tax and get tax free growth. This may not apply to you if your trading gains were a significant amount in this calendar year though.

Sep 9, 2021 - 11:05am

 Want to get somewhere in the $100-200k range while in banking in the next 1-2 years and I should be in coastFIRE range. 

Yeah you should be able to get to 200k pretty easily.  you have already show great discipline.  I am trying to hit 150k next year from 65K on a A2 salary.  then have 250k with A3.

  • Intern in IB - Cov
Sep 10, 2021 - 3:54pm

Hopefully, $200k by 24 would be huge just in terms of financial stability moving forward. Its nowhere near retirement obviously, but the coastFIRE mentality gives a lot of peace of mind having a sizable nest egg that'll grow into a substantial amount on its own with my time horizon. Just hoping lifestyle creep doesn't take over by then. The goal is to be able to make future decisions without money being as big of a factor.

Most Helpful
  • Investment Manager in HF - Other
Sep 6, 2021 - 9:35pm

I think the financial independence part is very important, retiring early is a personal thing. 

One thing that stands out from these (and other) posts is that those who normally want to retire early also hate the job/industry. That makes it very hard to succeed in this job and to make enough to really have independence. That doesn't mean it won't happen, I've seen a few people who have hated their jobs and retired in their late 30's/early 40's it is just less likely that you'll make a ton in a job you hate. 

So, yes, I'm big on having the ability to walk away, but I also love what I do and have been lucky to make enough to enjoy life and have the freedom to leave if needed. I also know I can live off of very little (been there, done that) so I'm fine, but I do enjoy many of the opportunities and luxuries this work affords. 

Sep 10, 2021 - 7:01pm

This makes a lot of sense to me. The other consideration for people that do end up FI and RE is that peak earnings is typically when people are in their 50s. So that is probably the time you get to earn the most and probably have to make the least effort - having perfected your craft over 20-30 years. 

So if you do like your job then I think there is a pretty attractive pay off. Mentally as thebrofessor said you can walk away because of being FI already. 

Sep 6, 2021 - 9:41pm

I have a lot of fun working and could probably essentially "retire" down to 5 - 8 hours a week of work if I wanted but there's a lot I want to try yet. Will probably switch to a less stressful form of "work" once I'm in my 50s but until then, I want to max out risk as I have no dependents so no real downside.

  • 2
Sep 6, 2021 - 9:56pm

FIRE doesn't make much sense to me.  They spend their prime grinding and grinding and for what?  A really frugal retirement?  I don't get what people who decide to go down this path intend on doing the rest of their lives.  Almost none of them have families, and most are single because kids are expensive and most people of the opposite sex are not a part of this lifestyle.  Since expensive hobbies are out of the picture its gonna be video games and Netflix until the grave I guess.

Personally, the old folks I know who do things in their retirement seem much much more fulfilled than the ones who just sit in front of a TV all day.  If I really hated my job I'd look for a more fulfilling but lower paying line of work

  • Intern in IB - Cov
Sep 6, 2021 - 10:05pm

Part of FIRE is how having a certain level of financial independence allows freedom in making those career decisions. I'd say FIRE is more about "financially independent" than the "retire early" part anyways. If you hate your job, but your financial situation isn't that great, then you might have to keep chugging along. Being in a solid spot financially lets you take that risk in pursuing lower paying jobs or more broadly just making decisions that you want to make without having money being the primary factor - which is a luxury most people don't have. 

Sep 6, 2021 - 10:24pm

It's more of a concept / philosophy toward savings and spending than anything else. The basic concept is that you can withdraw 3-4% of your savings indefinitely. So it follows that once your savings reach 25x to 33x of your annual spend, you are financially independent / can retire early. Annual spend is obviously the largest variable here as it will vary widely by lifestyle. 

Whatever you choose to do after that is simply a personal decision and doesn't have much to do with the FIRE concept. Some people continue to work, some quit, some volunteer, some travel 9 months a year etc. 

Annual Savings:spend ratio is the key concept. Ignoring interest, inflation, etc, having a 1:1 ratio "buys" you one year of financial freedom by definition. 2:1 buys you two and so on and so forth. Putting this framework out there is what got me interested in it and is a simple but powerful idea to internalize. 

  • 4
Sep 6, 2021 - 11:26pm


FIRE doesn't make much sense to me.  They spend their prime grinding and grinding and for what?  A really frugal retirement?  I don't get what people who decide to go down this path intend on doing the rest of their lives.  Almost none of them have families, and most are single because kids are expensive and most people of the opposite sex are not a part of this lifestyle.  Since expensive hobbies are out of the picture its gonna be video games and Netflix until the grave I guess.

Agreed on the base FIRE crowd. Check out FatFIRE or CoastFIRE on Reddit. Much different approach to live well, but under your means, so that you can retire early (late 40s/early 50s, not 28). My family is effectively at CoastFIRE, where the nest egg is large enough that we'll be able to achieve our financial goals when we retire, and can afford not to save a penny between now and then. Really allows for more career/non-profit flexibility where you can prioritize your time/purpose over your wages, because you're no longer trying to save for the future.

you didn't make good choices; you had good choices

  • 4
Sep 6, 2021 - 11:48pm

I get the idea and the math of it, but I think its gaining traction as the bull market goes on. FIRE seems to make theory in sense, but it also seems like one big medical expense or emergency could throw the whole thing off. I know some people don't "fully" retire when doing it because they write blogs or do or jobs for some side cash, but it will be interesting to see how it continues once the market turns down. 

Sep 8, 2021 - 5:57pm

I tend to agree with this POV, especially in finance. We grind to secure the bag. Ok bag is secure, now you are going to go straight up Dave Ramsey and live off rice and beans? Only so you can work as little as possible to retire early and continue to eat rice and beans? Doesn't fly with me. There is a big difference between being prudent and being the cheapest guy in every room who never spends time to enjoy life or enjoy the fruits (I acknowledge there is also the guy who spends every last dollar he has). I used to be frantically obsessed with saving every dime - it's a miserable existence and frankly unnecessary for high earners who live and save sensibly. 

Finally - your 20s and 30s are literally the prime of your life - S/DINK, great friends still abound, true adversity is a rarity, and you can invest your money aggressively. Maximize life, not just your savings account. 

Life is more than dollars
  • 4
Sep 8, 2021 - 7:23pm

I don't think there's a single person here suggesting to eat rice and beans. Either literally or figuratively lol. 

Again - it is formulaic. If you are only saving 10% of your salary you are not approaching FI. If you are saving 50-60% you are. 

Working long hours + weak savings is the worst option. It's the personal equivalent of a corporation needing to spend lots of cash to maintain revenue. Once you are in that position it becomes extremely painful to exit. 

The people saying go low and slow, ie find something you enjoy and do it for a while are in a much better position IMO. That's a sustainable position. 

Hard and fast is another option as you can make a lot of money, invest early and aggressively, and set yourself up for a sustainable exit. 

Being 40 and staring down at another 20 years of stressful work because your savings are weak and your lifestyle expensive sounds awful. 

  • 6
  • PM in HF - Other
Sep 6, 2021 - 10:56pm

Pretty much there. But wife/kid slows it down now hah. So can't go get that new sportscar or splurge lots. But basically set my own hours at this point and my own "level of stress". Truly enjoy what I do and fits me so would be hard to just leave as well.

Know a guy who is late 30s single who did it this year. Came out of school with no debt and bought property at a young age and spends rest of his money on just wine/golf.

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Sep 6, 2021 - 11:21pm

Must have been nice to be able to buy a property after the 08 financial crisis when in many markets, the home prices still hadn't rebounded. I was planning on buying property, but since home values are at virtually an all-time high right now, looks like I'll have to wait. Maybe Evergrande will shake things up a bit.

  • PM in HF - Other
Sep 6, 2021 - 11:26pm

No doubt lots of those dudes go lucky. Myself I didnt buy till was married since did not know where I would live longterm not wisest decision. Lots of us in 2009 had ptsd the market would crash again.

Think the new grads of today will have same struggle with "crypto/nft/etc" big upside but risky proposition.

  • Associate 1 in S&T - Other
Sep 7, 2021 - 8:49am

I probably fit what most consider FIRE but I don't really consider myself part of the movement. 

I save really aggressively (~1/2 of paychecks and all of my bonus). Students loans are paid off, nice chunk in retirement accounts, and nicer chunk in brokerage. 

I think the early years are so critical due to compounding.. Even if you work in finance for <5 years and save up a few 100k, you could probably go be a ski instructor the rest of your life (as long as income simply meets your expenses so you don't have to touch nest egg) and retire with $10mm+. 

I don't really like the idea of taking distributions of 3-4%, rather I like the idea of only living off income generated. Call it 1.5-2.0%. So it takes twice as much but seems much more sustainable to me. Really a recipe for real generational wealth

Sep 7, 2021 - 8:56am

I am. I'm just waiting for my crypto to be worth $20M before I pull the trigger. Already in the low 7 figs. Can pay off my house and retire if I want to, but I've experienced being extremely poor growing up. To me there is a significant difference in 3M vs 20M. So I keep grinding. I make a good salary now in Oklahoma, so I'm in no rush, but I 100% will retire soon and teach math for fun as my "job." Can't wait to gift my parents some retirement money in the next year. They deserve it!!

Sep 7, 2021 - 11:46am

My initial investment into Crypto in 2017 was ~5k or so in Ethereum. I went up to ~900k during the ICO craze of 2018 and saw it dwindle to ~75k after. It sure is a bitch not having exit liquidity. Lesson learned. ICOs can 100x or go to zero. I had a lot go to zero. I put in ~20k into Fantom in 2018 and have held since. I've sold multiple times. I once sold 500k Fantom the day before it 6x from 2 cents to 12... That felt bad. I still hold a bunch from that initial investment. Most of my crypto holdings are ETH gains and Fantom gains. Still have a few ICOs sending me tokens from a year ago lol. Most arent worth anything.

Yeah. I still have a 401k, brokerage account, HSA, mortgage, etc.

Sep 7, 2021 - 2:12pm

I'm currently giving up an almost guaranteed path to FIRE for the sake of career development.

Have been working as an expat in an almost no-tax country for a few years. Comp is decent but nothing like banker money, and CoL is far lower than NYC/London etc. As a result was able to save 50% of gross salary right after I started and after being promoted this is now 60-70%, despite living pretty lavishly. Even using conservative assumptions, such as accounting for children but no income from a potential spouse, a very conservative pay trajectory, no inheritance, and a 4% ROI, I estimated I'd be able to retire somewhere between 45 and 55 even if I just stayed in my current company for the next 20 years. 

Just got an offer in AM in another country which happens to have one of the highest tax burdens in the world. Gross salary will be pretty much the same as what I'm currently making but after tax it'll be a major cut. Will probably cut my savings rate to about 20-25%, assuming a similar lifestyle. That said, the company has a great reputation and the role is exactly what I've been aiming for, so I think it'll be worth it. 

Sep 7, 2021 - 3:05pm

More FI than RE for me. For better or for worse, I do enjoy working to some extent and at the very least enjoy solving problems. The main motivation for me to get FI is because I feel like I'm constantly choosing the safer, but boring/less fulfilling, option career-wise because I'm afraid of being behind on my finances or compensation in a few years if things go wrong. To be more clear, I'm choosing the much higher-salary, but more bureaucratic/boring consulting gig, at the Big 4 instead of choosing the startup that will pay me a lot less in salary upfront but could have equity that's worth a lot more if it does well. I feel if I already have solid savings, I can start to do the later in a few years because I'll already be generating some solid dividends/passive income from my investments to supplement a potentially lower wage. I'd still need to be doing something with my time and could never just completely retire and do nothing, but having extra savings gives me optionality, which is huge and why I do it.

Sep 8, 2021 - 2:51am

Me. I'm investing in RE right now and hoping I can do that full time. Have a fuckload of dreams I want to pursue and life is too short to be working a job you don't love. 

Money is a constraint unless you have X number. X is variable depending on the person and that's the beauty of it. 

Sep 9, 2021 - 7:25am

I originally pursued banking to accomplish "FIRE".

Now that I am practically there I have no desire to "retire" anytime soon.

One thing you'll notice is how your perspective and views on things will change when you get older.

When I was 22 I was super gung ho that I could live on 35k/yr into perpetuity and have a moderate lifestyle and never work again.

As I've gotten older (27 now) I now enjoy much nicer things and my lifestyle has inflated. I could no longer live the way I did when I was 22. And that's OK as long as you're living within your means. It's ok to spend on things that make you happy as long as you genuinely can afford to.

It's ok not to save every last dollar you can. This was hard for me to accept but I'm getting there day by day.

Sep 9, 2021 - 12:41pm

I think the biggest benefit to putting yourself in a FIRE position, is not what could happen 20 years down the road, but how you'd feel if something happens today. With a nest egg of 24+ months of personal expenses, you don't need to panic if you unexpectedly lose your job, and/or can walk away from an unhealthy work situation because you don't need the paycheck. That has given me far more happiness the last few years, then thinking about becoming a full-time (bad) golfer when I retire at 50.

you didn't make good choices; you had good choices

  • 1
Sep 9, 2021 - 12:53pm

Similar to what someone else said, I am aiming for the FI over the RE. That being said being able to have the option to retire at 50 would be nice. Currently 25 with around ~375-400k in the market. I did consulting projects during college/during grad school that gave me a big chunk of change while living at home and continued to take on more projects while working FT (cleared with old employer). I am just going to continue to contribute to my retirement and keep working until I think its time to take on some passion projects/take a break.

Sep 9, 2021 - 2:05pm

My version of FIRE = create something that allows your to own your time.

Goal isn't wealth. It's to own your time. Money will follow by following this path.

Route that works = entrepreneurial route

Preference = none. Whatever gets me there

Sep 10, 2021 - 4:10pm

100%, start saving and planning your exit soon. Work-From-Home, means Work-From-India, get ready for the Thunder-Dome boys, the world you used to know is gone. Corporate is loving the cost savings, and don't think you're too good to be off-shored, plenty of my friends in Engineering are already feeling that pain as companies continue ramp up their off-shoring plans. Get in, make as much cash as you can and save it, and plan your exit strategy. 'Build Back Better" doesn't include you. Plan accordingly. 

  • Quant in AM - Other
Sep 11, 2021 - 8:06pm

Idk man. Retirement for me is probably working 30 hours a week on a passion project. So I'll probably still be working. 

Life feels more meaningful that way. Butbwhateber happens, I plan on getting rich as soon as possible.

Sep 21, 2021 - 11:38am

We sort of backed into it. (Background - late 30's, married, kids, house, principal at a merchant bank.) My wife and I never sat down and said "ok if we budget aggressively, then we could retire by the time we're 32," and we've allowed our lifestyle to creep as we've gotten older, so we aren't really hardcore FIRE-ers. But we were always in the habit of doing a lot of automatic saving (controlling living costs, maxing out retirement accounts, automatic transfers out of the checking account into savings/brokerage accounts) and never stopped as our income increased.

By this point, we're easily coastFIRE (i.e. if we bring in enough income to cover our annual costs then our nest egg is plenty as it keeps growing) and we're not that far from true FIRE if we never wanted to work another day in our lives.

It just kind of happened. Being a finance guy, I've always had a lot of my comp tied up in bonus or carry, and we've always treated that as unreliable and a true "bonus." We've also constrained our housing budget to fit within one or the other of our incomes, which gave us the freedom to switch jobs or leave an unhealthy situation or gave us a margin of safety if something happened to one of us and we couldn't work for a while. On discretionary spending, it's never felt like we're trying to pinch pennies or tighten our belts - we live very comfortably and are generally interested in buying things once that last. We just don't need that much stuff.

I don't envision retiring per se - the "never work anymore" idea. But I will echo the comments of many here when I say that the freedom the FI part affords is incredibly valuable on a day-to-day basis. When we realized that we had that freedom, there was a ton of career stress that almost instantly melted away.

Someone else may look at our journey and say "ugh no thanks," that our level of spending would feel restrictive, and that's okay - I'm not advocating as a particular pathway. Our situation is a product of spending and saving patterns that made us comfortable with our lifestyle and risk level, as opposed to being the original goal that we designed our spending and saving patterns around.

"Son, life is hard. But it's harder if you're stupid." - my dad
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  • Managing Director in PE - Other
Sep 21, 2021 - 11:53am

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  • Intern in IB - Gen
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