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- I used to be bad with money, but the FIRE movement helped shift my focus to saving more.
- When I got a new boss who didn’t value me, I quit my job even though I was earning six figures.
- Thanks to FIRE, I have enough “FU Money” to last me two years while I pursue self-employment.
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In the fall of 2015, I pulled my credit report and took a look at my total debt: $30,000. At the time, I was living in New York City and mindlessly spending money under the false idea that I would deal with my debt at some undetermined point in the future when I was making more. Then I discovered the FIRE (financial independence/retire early) movement, and it completely changed my life.
I reoriented myself to value saving and investing over spending, which led me to dig out of that $30,000 of debt in 11 months. From there, I started saving 60% of my income and over the next five years, I was able to fund a two-month trip to walk the Camino de Santiago (a 500-mile trek across Spain), buy a house by myself, and fund my own business (the EconoMe Conference).
I settled into a plan to reach financial independence by 40, and it was going really well. Until it wasn’t.
I decided to quit my 6-figure job
A huge asset I had on my path to financial indepdence was my relationship with my employer. I saw my income more than double over nine years, I was granted a two-month leave of absence to go to Spain, and I was permitted to work remotely before this was the norm. When it comes to full-time employment, I felt that I hit the jackpot because I didn’t feel the kind of restriction on my time and energy that pushes many people to pursue FIRE and quit their jobs.
However, that all changed about a year ago when I got a new boss. The company culture and work dynamic shifted, and it was made very clear that I was no longer valued. The party was over for me, so I quit.
If I was solely focused on reaching financial independence as quickly as possible, I’d probably have kept my head down and tolerated this new environment in exchange for the six-figure salary that would have gotten me to financial indepedence in the next six years. I hear this theme in the FIRE movement a lot. It goes something like this: “I hate my job, but I’m only X years away from FI so I’ll just tolerate it for now.”