A recent article in Money Magazine pointed out that many Millennials are obsessed with retiring early. In fact, this growing movement of those in the 21 to 37 years of age are convinced they can do it now, and quietly disdain those who wait until Social Security. With dozens of FIRE (financial-independence/retire-early) links exploding on the web and on Reddit.com, this idea is drawing in fans like flies. Yet, even though I applaud their desire to get out of the rat race and free themselves from debt, I find myself questioning why so many are convinced that retirement is the ultimate solution. From my perspective, we don’t need to retire or be completely financially independent in order to live our best life now—but it’s essential we take the time to Rightsize.
For those of you new to this blog or the idea of Rightsizing, let me recap. Rightsizing is the conscious choice to hone in on everything in your life that you value and brings you joy—and eliminate the rest. It is letting go of actions and requirements that don’t serve you or those you love and pursuing full-out those things that fill you with passion and satisfaction. It is scaling back on “shoulds” and “have-tos” and giving yourself permission to live the life you have been called to live. And yes, part of rightsizing is reducing superficial material items in your life and refusing to get caught up in the rat-race of work and/or consumerism in the attempt to lull yourself asleep or to dull the pain. As opposed to “downsizing” by sacrificing anything, rightsizing is a forward motion toward your best life now.
Of course, if you haven’t heard of Rightsizing, I can see where FIRE might sound attractive. According to Money Magazine, many people in the FIRE movement are attracted to the book Your Money Or Your Life published nearly 25 years ago. That book explained a radical look at stepping away from debt, consumerism and the pursuit of “more” in our society. One of the more popular and important ideas in those pages was that each of us is only given so many hours a day—author Vicki Robin called them “hours of life energy.” She suggests that people ask themselves, “If you want to buy something, like a $300 coat, and it takes you one full day of work to pay for it, is that coat really worth spending one day of your precious life on planet earth to get it?”
From what I can tell, those in the FIRE groups spend a great deal of time on two pursuits. First, they scale back as much as possible in order to eliminate all costs. Going small, tiny or minimal is a fixation. The second preoccupation is saving absolutely as much as possible for a target date for retirement in the future. Some of the leaders in the movement are convinced that 50% of all income should be squirreled away. Others suggest that having 25 years worth of necessary living expenses saved is the perfect goal to reach. So, between never spending money on anything you don’t absolutely need and working to save as much as possible, those who follow FIRE to the extreme seem to be trading their “now” for some golden age in the future. That doesn’t seem balanced or Rightsized at all!
I get that financial freedom is attractive. When my husband Thom and I managed to become debt free at ages 56 and 54 it was amazing. The liberation we felt when we sold our bigger house and choose to scale back in terms of size, location, and impression, was undefinable. Suddenly we were free to step back from the daily grind that millions of others stick to day-in and day-out. From that point forward, we gave ourselves permission to make choices determined by our true needs and wants rather than the dictates of society, the judgment of others, or the rules of our environment.
But the thing is, we didn’t retire. We didn’t need to retire because we enjoyed our work. One of the biggest objections I have to the FIRE movement is that the fascination with retirement ignores the fact that so many people think they HAVE to work at jobs they mostly dislike in order to make money to save up so they can finally do what they want. What if instead, right from the beginning, people explored jobs and work environments that gave them purpose and satisfaction? What if we acknowledged that our time is more valuable than money? What if fulfillment and purpose on the job was more important than how much income it produced? What if people scaled back on expenses, lived frugally and then gave themselves permission to work at an occupation they felt good about rather than a job they felt paid the most?
In fact, what if we redefined what it means to be a success? What if people stopped competing with each other—trying to outdo one another with what they own and how they look—and instead focused on living happily with what they do have? The major reason the vast majority of people want to retire is because their jobs suck the life out of them and they can’t wait to escape. Instead of trying to escape, why not take the time to “Rightsize” your work so that it fits your personality, your physicality, and your sense of meaning and purpose?
Once Thom and I made the decision to rightsize our lifestyle by selling our big expensive home and getting rid of stuff we didn’t really use or need, the next step was rightsizing our finances. We just stopped trying to compare our lifestyle to anyone else’s and started aiming towards what it was that we enjoyed doing and being. Experiences rather than “stuff” became important. The less stuff we had the more time and freedom to do what we wanted. Time together with each other and loved ones became primary. Our income remained about the same and then we just began parking the excess into investments that brought us passive income for the future.
And yes, we continue to work. We can retire if we want, but we aren’t certain we ever will. I can’t emphasize enough the choice to find work that brings satisfaction and fulfillment into your life rather than picking a job based on how much it pays. I get that finding that kind of work isn’t always easy—especially if you have spent the majority of your life racking up bills and creating a lifestyle filled with stuff. But most of it is just that, a creation that evolved because we and our society, and even well-meaning friends and family, couldn’t imagine another way. We settle because we don’t realize we have options. The truth is that most of us don’t need a fraction of the stuff we think we do to be happy and thrive. Getting brutally honest about what is what is really most important to us is critical. From there, let’s remember what Vicki Robin asks: “Are the hours of your life energy really worth what you ask yourself to do every day just to own all that stuff?”
I am actually quite optimistic that so many younger people are drawn to FIRE because that shows me that many are recognizing that something is wrong with the current model of our society. After all, if our purpose as humans is just to grow up, buy as much stuff as we can, work until we can hopefully retire, and then die, is that really worth your one precious life? I don’t think so. FIRE is one option but I think there is a better one. Rightsizing gives each of us our own individual path toward living our best life right now today. The first and SMART choice is to recognize we have the choice.
Okay, your turn. Have you ever heard of FIRE before? How do YOU think it compares to rightsizing? What do you think is the best thing about rightsizing and how does it fit your life?
Dr Sock says
Kathy, I have been following several FIRE bloggers for a couple of years now. At the beginning, I had some of the same questions and concerns that you expressed. But I have come to see that there is a great deal of variation amongst the people pursuing FIRE. Many of them are not just seeking a life of endless leisure, or wishing to withdraw from society. Some have life passions that they have always wanted to pursue, but were not able to do so within their chosen career. Many realize, once they reach financial independence, that what they really wanted was not to stop working altogether, but to work on their own terms. With financial independence, they can now choose work (e.g., self employment, creative work, volunteer work) free from the financial requirement of HAVING to keep a job. In this way, they ARE right sizing, not so different from Thom and yourself after you reached financial independence.
Also, for many people, there may be little opportunity to choose work that they love. For so many people, getting a job of any type is a challenge, and they take what they can get. Even for people like me, who had the privilege of having a great education and the chance to pursue exactly the kind of career that they/I wanted, there are trade offs.
In my case, my chosen career, which I loved, came with the expectation of working extremely long hours. There was not an option of doing my type of job on a 40 hour a week basis. So I chose to throw myself into my work and meet the challenge of the responsible role I had taken on, and then, when I was ready, to retire at 60. Financially, I would not have been able to retire as early, or to the type of lifestyle that I have if I hadn’t taken the high powered, high paying job. But seeking a high salary so that I could retire early was never my motive. For me, it was about seeking challenges and making a useful contribution.
Kathy Gottberg says
Hi Jude! Thank you so much for sharing your personal experience with both FIRE and your own path of retirement and financial freedom. And yes, I completely agree that much of the FIRE path is similar to with I call rightsizing (I’m obviously just a little partial to calling it rightsizing!) And it certainly sounds like you too found the rightsized path yourself. I think it is so easy for us to look around and try and find the “rules” and a clear path out there to achieve what we hope to live and accomplish in our lives–so I get the attraction of FIRE by so many. But I tend to be more of a fan of Emerson who said, “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” Not necessarily better, but a nice version of rightsized! Thanks again for your addition to the conversation. ~Kathy
Terri Webster Schrandt says
As someone who educates college students in a field where money is not the reward, I’m not surprised to read that Millennials are wanting to retire early. My 33-year old brother in law works hard at three jobs (full-time marketing manager for a major hotel line, part-time realtor and business owner) he tells me all the time that he has the energy now to do this and save money (although his partner, my brother who is an older Gen Xer watches the finances like a hawk) so he can retire young and enjoy life young. He was impressed I retired at age 55, but I have to keep reminding him I’m working what feels like a full-time job as a lecturer…I just get summers and another month off each year which works for me. We had to buy a new-ish travel trailer recently to replace the old one and we use it every weekend 6 months a year at our windsurf camp. It will get well-used and be paid off quickly (and everything WORKS!). Rightsizing is a good option for us but with Hans working for another 9 years, and me teaching that long, we still have to buy a couple of big ticket items. But things will be paid off by that time. For me, it is time to scale back–still tempting to walk into a clothing store and get another item to wear (I only work on campus 1-2 days per week and I will NEVER wear everything I have now (even after donating quite a bit). The materialism of our culture is still rampant and as a Boomer with $$ the temptations are great. I hope we Boomers haven’t destroyed our Millennial kids too much! Great post, Kathy (as always)!
Kathy Gottberg says
Hi Terri! Thank you for speaking out about something that is so true…we Boomers do have a lot of $$$ and the “temptations are great”! Obviously many of us are an easy target for marketing companies who want to convince us that we can buy a certain kind of cream and shave 30 years off our looks, or with the right outfit, we will look so glamorous that no one will notice that we are older, or ???? I think marketers are also really good at telling us that the “ultimate” in life is just to indulge our fantasies and let the “younger” people take over. But I was moved by the tale of the Native American in the book that reminded me that both older and younger people need one another for so much more than just money. Surely if we valued our wisdom more, others would too? As an optimist, I am hopeful that we ALL (old, young and in between) start waking up to the value of every age. And as an educator, you have a lot of influence Terri! Please share it to help others wake up too! ~Kathy
Jan Wild says
I read Your Money or Your Life years ago and took some gems from it. Like you I think it is great that the Millennials are leading a move away from gross consumerism but I too don’t think retirement in the traditional sense of the word is the answer.
Kathy Gottberg says
Hi Jan! Thanks for checking in with your thoughts here. I think most of us who are into sustainability and/or frugal living learned things for Your Money Or Your Life. From what I understand the author is coming out with a newly revised version. It would be interesting to she what she has now has to say about what is going on in the world. And yes, I sincerely hope younger adults are getting the message that money and stuff is not the path to a happy life. But yeah, whether retirement is the answer is so individual IMHO too. ~Kathy
Gary Lange says
FIRE is one option but I agree Rightsizing is better. I had a relative who lost her marriage partly because they only worked and were so obsessed with being frugal that they had no fun. We have reduced our stress, I also love my work and LIVING!
Kathy Gottberg says
Hi Gary! Oh what a great point. You can just imagine how taking ANYTHING to an extreme can be problematic. And surely working to compromise with your partner is also very important. And yes I would agree that you and Robert are both excellent at rightsizing! ~Kathy
I forgot to click the bell again in order to get your reply. Hence, this comment.
Kathy Gottberg says
Here’s to let you know I responded. I wonder if there is a way for me to “click” that reply button for you???
I hadn’t heard of FIRE before, but I can totally see the appeal. Yesterday, Mark and I were actually talking about friends (same age as us) we have on a sailboat, who planned out their life a bit according to the FIRE method (without calling it that, I’m sure). It’s not that we envy them, but we think they did it right. The couple worked at high-paying jobs for ten years, didn’t have children, rented a small apartment, drove in an old car, and saved as much as they could. At 35, they “retired”, bought a comfortable sailing catamaran and have been exploring the Caribbean ever since. They’re not in a hurry and they enjoy life. They plan to be on the water in the tropics indefinitely.
To compare that to my life: I never made a lot of money, I never had any debt, I never had a car or a house. Time has always been more important than money for me, I’ve rightsized my life from the start, traveled the world and made a lot of memories. Like you, I’ll probably never retire, but because I don’t have the financial means. I will have lived a rich life, but I sometimes wonder about what’s better: work for a few years and save a bunch so you can travel free of money worries, or, live your whole life doing interesting and exciting things, but know that you always have to make ends meet and work along the way…
Kathy Gottberg says
Hi Liesbet! I think it is completely normal to wonder if we have picked the right “life-path” so I’m not surprised you wonder if you’ve made the right choices. But don’t you think it is funny that so very many people think you have the MOST AMAZING life as it is? I’ve heard your story and been reading your blog for a long time so I know some of your backstory and while it wouldn’t work for everyone, it is a life made up on your own terms. And in answer to your question about maybe it’s better to work “a few years and save a bunch,” I don’t think there’s an easy answer for that either. I think LOTS of people get stuck in that well-paying job because they don’t have the discipline to not get caught up in consumerism and keeping up with the neighbors. In fact, I’d bet most get “stuck” rather than break free. We all have to make life-choices as we go along and the beauty in rightsizing is that we are just very conscious of the choices we make and do our best to keep them in alignment with our highest intentions and values. Oh, and learning as we go and making adjustments along the way is just SMART 🙂 ~Kathy
If there is one thing I”m good at and don’t regret, it’s rightsizing, Kathy! And, sticking to my values and beliefs. 🙂
Tom Sightings says
LOL … the folly of youth! If this trend is really true, and not just a media thing, then the Millennials have it wrong. As you say, the key is to recognize that “we don’t need to retire or be completely financially independent in order to live our best life now.”
Kathy Gottberg says
Hi Tom! I think a number of the people who are into extreme FIRE are like a lot of those into extreme minimalism as well. In fact, I also read that FIRE tends to be a “high-class problem” because many people who struggle to make ends meet will never come close to having the option to retire early–if at all. Many of those attracted to it are single, and/or childfree, in high paying professions. So although I don’t see anything at all wrong with early retirement, I think it shifts the attention away from creating a happy and meaningful life right where we are with what we have. Thanks for checking in on this. ~Kathy
Mary ~ Reflections Around the Campfire says
Kathy, I’m a fairly new reader and first time commenter. I’m enjoying the many topics you cover so well. My husband and I embrace the satisfaction gleaned from both rightsizing and retiring early due to financial independence (FIRE). I don’t believe they’re mutually exclusive. In both movements, followers are scattered along the spectrum from conservative to extreme. It’s all about what’s right for you and not worrying about what the Joneses are doing. We have been married for more than 35 years and have lived frugally for every single one of them. This has allowed us to pursue our passions – raising our children and traveling – throughout our married life. Both kids have logged over 30,000 miles exploring America by RV. Our son has traveled to Alaska twice; our daughter once. But she enjoyed three cross country National Parks trips while he was able to go on only two (five year age spread). My husband and I retired early because we had projects and dreams that were more important to us than the jobs we held. I would say that our only regret was not leaving the workforce sooner but, truth be told, working a little longer allowed one of us to be at home with the kids while they were growing up and provided us with a most enjoyable, adventure-filled life together with them. So, two thumbs up from me – one for rightsizing and one for FIRE!
As for the strong interest many of today’s millennials are exhibiting in the FIRE movement, I can’t say that I blame them. Gone are many of the pensions that their grandparents enjoyed, replaced by uncertainty about Social Security and the very good possibility that benefits will not be available to them at the age their parents were able to obtain them. Today’s younger generations will have to fund much more of their retirements than we Baby Boomers ever had to and the wise individuals among them are making good use of retirement vehicles like 401K’s and Traditional or Roth IRA’s by starting early and saving as much as possible. Understanding that money (in the bank) is a tool that can buy options, security and freedom is a lesson that is beneficial to learn as early in life as possible and it seems like many millennials have caught on to it – good for them!
Kathy Gottberg says
Hi Mary! Thank you so much for offering your great example of an early retirement that is rightsized. That is a wonderful option and one that seems to have worked very well for you and your family. How awesome that you were able to both spend time with your children AND show them so much of the world at the same time. And yes, I agree that many younger people are quick to look at the world their elders created and seek a better way. I agree that money does expand options beyond a certain point–but I have also read far too much that says beyond a certain amount that ensures a comfortable like, more money makes little or no difference. I remain hopeful that younger generations can learn that critical message about money and make decisions beyond that. Thank you again for your addition to this conversation. ~Kathy
Lynne Spreen says
I’ve always believed one can be rich by either making a bunch of money or living more simply. When I moved from the Coachella Valley to Hemet, California, I became a rich person! But as to the young folks, if they reach their goal of retiring at, say, 50, they may get bored and start a business. And then they’ll have it all: work they love, a simple life, and money in the bank. One can hope!
Kathy Gottberg says
Hi Lynne! Yes, a lot of our awareness of “wealth” has to do with where we live and the lifestyle we embrace. When I talk rightsizing to people the first argument (against it) is that they can’t move from their neighborhood no matter how expensive it has become or how huge their house is. And while such a decision is always a personal choice, I think many people forget that they are the ones who are making the choice and will have to live with the repercussions of that choice. And yes, I’m not “against” retiring early–I sure hope I didn’t communicate that! But I want us all to start seeking that fulfilling life right now, where we are. ~Kathy
Hi, Kathy – Thank you for another thought-provoking post. I’ve followed Mr. FIREstation’s blog (https://mrfirestation.com) for a while now, so I am familiar with the FIRE concept. I completely respect individual early retirement choices.. As you said in a comment above, you can have both rightsizing and retirement (I think that they go together nicely). I do completely agree with your concern of “why the rush of so many to early retirement?” Retirement at any age is a very personal choice. I would hate to see it become a knee-jerk trend.
Kathy Gottberg says
Hi Donna! Thanks for sharing that link to mr FIREstation 🙂 That and Mr. Money Mustache are two big FIRE sites for sure. I agree that retiring when and how we want is wonderful and to me at least, that is rightsizing to perfection. I am just convinced that staying conscious about our choices and the trade-offs required are even more important in the long run. If a person doesn’t take the time to explore what brings them the most joy and meaning in life, but just follow trends, then chances are good they could end up disappointed. Of course, given enough time (and millennials usually do) they can change their course direction and eventually find the path. On the other hand, the experience of my sister who passed relatively young at 65, there are no guarantees. ~Kathy
Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond says
Hi Kathy, I totally agree with your philosophy of Rightsizing. I retired early to be with my husband who had already retired. I didn’t really have a plan other than spending time travelling – but that wasn’t for long periods of time. I soon realised that I felt lost and had lost my identity because for many years I had been defined through my work and family. I don’t think people realise the huge impact retiring has on our lives. Sometimes it isn’t as smooth sailing as we are led to believe. Rightsizing is the way to go.
Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond
Kathy Gottberg says
Hi Sue! Thank you so much for bringing up yet another point out this. Isn’t it wonderful in this day and age that we CAN go back and reinvent ourselves and our careers? I think that is likely what many of those millennials will do once they retire and milk that experience for a while. It doesn’t necessarily mean they go back to the same old job, only that they realize that life is often fun and exciting and ultimately most fulfilling when we are co-creating our future and helping others at the same time. While I don’t know if rightsizing works for everyone but because it is a DIY process, how can it not? 🙂 Thanks so much for your input. ~Kathy
Janis @ RetirementallyChallenged.com says
The only FIRE blog I follow (even though I’m happily retired AND semi-rightsized) is Mr. Money Mustache. I mostly appreciate his approach to reducing consumption of both stuff and our natural resources. Other than that, I agree with you that the focus of FIRE often seems to be less on today’s quality of life and more on future retirement. If more young people rightsized early in life, they would be more likely to find themselves in the position – like you did – of deciding whether to retire or keep on working because they love it.
Kathy Gottberg says
Hi Janis! I think you are both rightsized AND retired–they can certainly go hand-in-hand from my perspective. I think when you consciously choose to retire and know that your future will unfold perfectly for your circumstances and personality–then it can be awesome. You do so many of the same things I will do if/when I retire. I hope I didn’t come across like I think there is anything wrong with retirement? I just want to remind everyone (myself included) that we have more options than we usually consider before we get to that final choice. If a person needs to work for income regardless of their age, I sincerely hope they can find something that is fulfilling and satisfying rather than just doing it to grind out a living. I also realize that retirement doesn’t mean you are just sitting around doing nothing! May we all find ways to get out of bed in the morning and live a life of wellbeing–before and during retirement. ~Kathy
I enjoy reading many websites re: FIRE. I am 76. I retired at 62. I/we had plenty of money in the bank, even after sending 4 kids to private/expensive/top ranked universities where the kids each graduated with $25,000 of student debt. We wanted them to have “debt” to teach them some financial responsibility and to feel the “joy” from debt freedom when the bill was finally paid off. We send them a payment twice a year, one for their birthday present, one for their Christmas present.
I loved work. If I retired when we were financially FIRE’d, I would have missed meeting so many people/new friends/ideas/changes etcetcetc. To do what? Travel, play golf, etc? My passion is cars. I could do that when I worked. My wife’s passion is reading, traveling, lying in the sun. We could do both while I worked.
I am writing you now while traveling through Apalachicola, FL on our way to visit friends in St Augustine, FL. Great friends we made when I was 57. Had I retired earlier we would never have known these people. What a loss for us! And they are NOT the only couple we have met between 50-62.
FIRE is/was not for us.
Great commentary on your part.
Kathy Gottberg says
Hey Jack! Thanks for sharing your experience with us. And thank you for confirming in a personal way your own experience with continuing your occupation for as long as you did. You also point out how great it is to be able to enjoy our passions even when working, like you with cars and your wife with travel. My husband Thom and I do the same thing. When you find work that allows you to do the things you love–and have the money and time freedom to make them part of your life while working–then why quit any sooner than you want? Have a wonderful visit in Florida and continue to enjoy what sounds like a very rightsized life. ~Kathy
Thank you for understanding. I loved what I did for a living. I had the ultimate aphrodisiac— smart people working with smart people! Yes, over the years I met “butts” but never had worked with an SOB. In toto everyone was heading in the same direction and improving medicine for everyone, patients and doctors and medical school education.
Kathy Gottberg says
Hi Jack! Yes isn’t it wonderful to be surrounded with other people who are bright and interesting and also LOVING what they do? It sounds like you had a wonderful experience and now have just transitioned into a new wonderful experience. May we all be so fortunate! ~Kathy
Karen Hume says
Hi Kathy. I have heard of FIRE and have read the book Your Money or Your Life. In fact, I tried to read it for a second time just a couple of years ago, after I’d retired, and I had the same problems with it that I had when I first read it a couple of decades ago.
My problem with the philosophy is exactly as you’ve described. I loved my work, which I saw not as a career but a vocation, and I was more than happy to expend my life energy in that direction even for the many, many hours for which I was not paid.
The book bothered me with its assumption that everyone’s end goal was a life of leisure. I agree with you that such a life can be highly overrated and wonder what happens when the travel is finished, the new experiences had, and the thrill of open days wears off.
I remember when I was taking courses to become a school principal, our instructor cautioned some of the younger members of the class against moving too quickly into a principalship. He said that after principal, the only place to go was superintendent and if you were 30 years old, you had to recognize that you would be a principal or a superintendent for 25+ years. Unless Millennials who take this route of early retirement ultimately decide to start home businesses or follow creative pursuits, I would imagine that an absence of a sense of meaningful purpose would soon weigh heavily.
Thank you for another thoughtful and well-reasoned post, Kathy. I find the topic of rightsizing and your definition of very inspiring, regardless of what stage of life I am in.
Kathy Gottberg says
Hi Karen! Thank you so much for pointing out that “issue” with “Your Money Or Your Life.” I have also generally agreed with her thoughts in the book, but completely agree with you that a focus on leisure isn’t the answer either IMHO! And your example of what your instructor shared with you is such an important point. We all think we want it ALL right now and then we will be happy…but just like thinking we could eat everything at a sumptuous buffet…we’d make ourselves ill by trying to consume it all. Far better to enjoy the journey and “discover” and uncover the things that bring our heart joy along the way. And thank you for recognizing that at least for me, rightsizing is all of that! ~Kathy
Lizzie Lau says
This is the first time I’ve heard of FIRE, and I agree that it’s a step in the right direction to get a generation out of the fierce consumerism they have been programmed for. I should figure out a fun acronym for my lifestyle!
Kathy Gottberg says
Hi Lizzie! Yes to anything that makes us question the “fierce consumerism they have been programmed for.” And I highly recommend a fun acronym for your lifestyle—that’s why I like SMART so much! 🙂 ~Kathy
This is very interesting Kathy. Why would these folks work at a job just to feed their end dream of retiring early and miss out on life in front of them? So many opportunities for fulfillment from careers, family and life seem to be less than a top priority is mind blowing to me! What if you die, have an accident, develop an illness or loved one, than all your scheming is for not! I have a BIL who is the cheapest SOB you would ever meet and he prescribes to this philosophy and now that he retired he is the dullest person you could ever meet and still is cheap cheap cheap!
Kathy Gottberg says
Hi Haralee! Thanks for sharing your experience of BIL in a way that shows a “darkside” to a singular focus like FIRE. I think a big part of the problem IMHO is that so many parents want the “best” and safest route for their children so unconsciously they continue to push toward an education that allows for a high-paying professional job. And while I’m certain their intentions are loving, what ends up happening is that the child spends all those years studying something that they may or may not like, sometimes going into enormous debt just to achieve it, and then feel obligated to stick it out in that profession because of everything it took to get it. None of us likes to think we made a mistake or “wasted” time or energy so we put in our years rather than just walk away and try something new. Not easy–not by a long shot! But think that explains why so many are stuck in work they don’t love. So much better IMHO to explore options when you are young but I also don’t think it is ever too late to change. ~Kathy
Laura Lee Carter says
I have never been into buying much stuff. I stumbled into my best life ever at 49, but I had saved carefully before that. I had always envied those who did what they loved and also got paid well for it. That is what we should all focus on from the very beginning. It is possible to do both, you just need to respect yourself and your own needs. Helping others believe this is essential. I hope the younger generations can do just that!
Kathy Gottberg says
Hi Laura Lee! Good for you for starting out frugal and knowing that wasn’t the key to your happiness. And I also agree that it would be awesome to be raised believing that finding happiness and purpose was a better life-course than just getting educated in a high paying job. Of course, my parents were entrepreneurs and started several businesses so maybe in some ways they did pass that on to me. I also agree that holding the intention that our work is a benefit to others is also critical. That’s why having a purpose to our work is so fulfilling. Thanks for your comment.
Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au says
I wonder if FIRE is the reaction to the over indulgence of the “Me” generation who have to have it all and have it NOW. I haven’t seen any sign of it happening here in Australia but we always seem to follow on the heels of the US and sooner or later the tiny house movement etc will arrive. We’ve always lived within our means and have been debt free for years – no masterplan, just whittling away at the mortgage and making sensible choices. Now we both work part-time and have money to spare – retirement is still a fair way off and not something that we think about like these people seem to do fixatedly.
Kathy Gottberg says
Hi Leanne! It could be a reaction. I tend to think of many of the global situations as a pendulum that swings back and forth (often at extremes) and FIRE could be one of them. I’ll bet it will eventually catch on in Australia even if it’s just underground for a while now. Have you ever read the blog by Mr. Money Mustache? He is one of their gurus and much of his stuff does make sense. I just think that if we focus solely on income and money we are missing out on the most valuable things in life so that’s why I keep coming back to the rightsizing idea. It sounds to me that you and your husband have rightsized your lives and that is probably why your blog is so filled with creating a happy life. Thanks for your thoughts on this! ~Kathy