Should I Quit My Job To Follow My Passion Before I Hit Financial Independence?

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FIRECracker

FIRECracker is a world-travelling early retiree. She used to live in one of the most expensive cities in Canada, but instead of drowning in debt, she rejected home ownership. What resulted was a 7-figure portfolio, which has allowed her and her husband to retire at 31 and travel the world. Their story has been featured on CBC, the Huffington Post, CNBC, BNN, Business Insider, and Yahoo Finance. To date, it is the most shared story in CBC history and their viral video on CBC's On the Money has garnered 4.5 Million views.
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Phew, what a crazy couple of weeks it’s been. I kinda knew that launching a book would be a lot of work, but I was NOT expecting this! That being said, it’s the most wonderful kind of craziness I’ve ever been through, and we’ll write about what that experience has been like in a future post.

The other day in between giving a radio interview and going on TV, Wanderer turned to me and said “Hey, remember when we used to be bloggers?” I was like “Oh yeah. Those were simpler times.”

So I’m going to TRY to kind of return to our normal posting schedule. We’re not going to be as consistent until the craziness dies down (if it ever does), but a reader recently wrote into us posing an interesting question, which I wanted to share with you all. Here goes!

Hello!

I’m a relatively new reader, but I love your blog and your content, and I can’t wait to crack open the new book and give it a read.

I do have a question that I would love to hear your insight about. You often talk about the all of the burnout, health, and anxiety issues that came with your job back in the day, and when I went back and listened to your interview on the BiggerPockets Money Podcast, you guys talk about how you took on an engineering career for the finances and security, while Bryce chose it more because he actually liked it. Looking back on it now, if you could change things, would you have still spent those full 8 years of your life working in a high-stress engineering job?

Since both you and Bryce had relatively high incomes, having two high-income jobs definitely helps in fast-tracking the retirement timeline if you save and invest correctly. But did you ever consider taking a lower-paying job or pursuing your writing passions before hitting FI to save yourself from all of the health issues and stress? Since you guys already had a high savings rate and a solid investment strategy, while a reduction in household income would slow the FI timeline, I’m guessing you guys would have still hit FI pretty early.

It’s been something I’ve been wondering because I draw a lot of similarities between our situation and yours: my fiance and I are both millennial engineers – I chose engineering purely for financial and practical reasons, while my fiance actually likes engineering (but not necessarily the corporate cubicle life). I’ve consistently hated every job I’ve worked and find myself with a lot of mental and physical health issues in my current high-stress work environment. My fiance has been encouraging me to quit engineering and go for my passions, which would likely be much less lucrative than my current engineering job (assuming that I can successfully do a 180 on my career path in the first place).

We’ve done the math and it would definitely slow our FI timeline down, adding at least a few extra years onto the FI outlook, but we would still maintain around a 50% savings rate assuming we only lived off of his engineering income and I make $0 at worst case. After working towards FI for the past couple of years, we’re now facing the question of the tradeoff between accelerating the FI timeline and still enjoying life and staying healthy and sane along the way.

Sorry for the long question, and no worries if you can’t respond! You guys are a huge inspiration, and I hope one day for me and my fiance to live life fully on our terms like you guys. Thanks so much for sharing your stories, strategies, and helping the rest of us along the journey to financial independence.

Well, first of all, wecome to the blog, and thanks for buying our book 🙂 We certainly appreciate it.

Now, you pose an interesting question: Would I have done anything differently on my journey to FIRE?

Absolutely not. Look what my life looks like now! I get to travel the world, do what I love, and never have to worry about money again. I wouldn’t change anything. And the reason is…

It Takes Time To Build A New Identity

Quitting your job and working on your passion is not the gum drops and rainbows people think it is. Making it in a brand new field (unless it’s closely related to your old field) takes time, effort, and sometimes money. Doing something as a hobby is one thing, doing it professionally is another thing completely. And during that period in which you’re starting a new career up, you’re not going to get paid.

You may have to spend money on training or courses, and you’re going to be stressed. This book we have out now is our 4th fully completed manuscript. The first 2 sucked and went nowhere, our 3rd became Little Miss Evil (and was never commercially successful), and only now does writing earn enough money to be considered a proper career. It’s fun to be a successful writer, but it’s stressful as hell when you’re not.

So if I had quit my engineering job to try to be a writer, I would have simply traded one stressful job for another, only my new stressful job pays me no money.

So what I did was I worked on being a writer in parallel to my engineering job. Every evening/weekend was devoted to writing, learning how to write, attending conferences about writing, etc. That way I could put in the time and the work it takes to get better at writing while still being paid my engineering salary. By the time I hit FIRE and was ready to step into my new identity as a writer, I had already been writing for 5 years. What you’re seeing now with Quit Like a Millionaire is a result of 9 years of writing!

Don’t jump out of one identity that pays well just because you don’t like it. You have to work on your new identity, and that’s going to take time.

Your Passion May Not Be Your Passion

And also, there’s the very real and scary danger of finding out that what you thought was your passion really isn’t.

It’s easy to confuse something you’re passionate about with something you enjoy.

Imagine going out with a friend to a nice pizza restaurant. As you’re eating, your friend is raving about how much they love pizza, how they would eat it every day if they could, and that their passionate about pizza. Then you ask whether they’d ever open up a pizza restaurant themselves. Oh God no, they reply. That’s too much work.

This person is not passionate about pizza. They enjoy it, and that’s fine, but there’s a very big difference between those words.

The theory behind the whole “Follow Your Passion” movement is that someone who’s truly passionate about something will do it day and night, work a bajillion hours following that passion, but because it’s their passion it won’t feel like work to them. That means that they will naturally outwork other people who are in that field, and therefore rise to the top of that field.

The problem is, lots of people think they’re passionate about something until they actually do it. Every identity has things that are fun about it, and things that suck. Take our pizza enthusiast. It’s fun to eat great pizza, sure. It might even be fun running a beloved pizza restaurant. But is it fun slaving away in a hot kitchen? Is it fun running a team of kitchen staff? Is it fun doing tax returns for a pizza business? Probably not. But a person truly passionate about pizza will do it anyway because for them the good parts outweigh the bad.

That’s how I am with writing. I was willing to sacrifice my evenings and weekend for years on end, writing into a black hole with no idea if anything I wrote would ever see the light of day because I love it. I would do it for free, and for many years I did do it for free. I was willing to push through the hundreds of rejection letters, the tedious monotony of editing and re-editing, the negotiating contracts with lawyers and agents because for me, the good outweighed the bad. I was even willing to learn a completely new skill, which was how to market a book, a skill I have ZERO interest in because if I did, then meant maybe this book would succeed where the last one failed. And if this book succeeded, that would mean I’d get to keep writing as a career.

Now, can you imagine how terrifying it would be if you quit your job to follow your passion and you found out you actually didn’t like it? That would be an existential nightmare, because you’ve just left your old identity behind when you quit! If it turns out your new identity wasn’t all that it was cracked up to be, then what are you?

Working on your passion NOW, while you’re still working, will tell you. If that’s really your passion, you should enjoy doing it even if you don’t get paid, even if it means giving up your free time. So try doing exactly that. You’ll find out super fast.

Find Your Passion, FIRE With Confidence

The only caveat to all of this is if your career is starting to cause serious health issues. We know a couple who’s stress level was so high that he wound up in the hospital. They were most of the way to their FI number (I’d say 85%) and they were asking whether they should pull the trigger early and to them I said yes. If your health is in danger, absolutely get out now and figure the money situation out later. Money’s no good to you if you’re dead.

But if you’re not in that situation, don’t quit your job to follow your passion. Follow your passion NOW.

Before you’re fully FI, all paths are stressful to some extent because you need the money to live, and if you’re relying on your passion to fund your path to FI, that’s a surefire path to stress. In your old job, yes you were stressed, but at least you’ve already put in the hard work of turning it into a well-paying career. If the choice was stress + money, or stress + no money, then choose stress + money.

But it’s crucial to start working on your passion before you hit FIRE. If you find out it’s not really your passion, then great. At least now you know and you won’t be jumping into a dangerous situation with rose-coloured glasses. And if you find out it IS your passion, even better! You’ll be able to start working towards building that passion into an identity strong enough for you to step into once you retire.

We talk to a lot of couples who are approaching FIRE and are worried about what they’re going to do afterwards. Mr. Money Mustache calls this “The Wall of Fear,” and it comes from being worried about letting go of one identity without knowing what new identity to step into.

And the great thing about FIRE is that once you hit your FI number, money is no longer a concern for you. It doesn’t matter that it may take a few years to explore your passions, you now have the time and the money to do it.

But as I like to tell people, don’t wait until you FIRE to explore your passions. Do it now, because if you manage to find your passion early, and put in the time and energy it takes to get good enough at that passion while you’re still working, then when you FIRE, you’ll be able to step directly from one identity into another. There will be no Wall of Fear because you’ll be able to FIRE with Confidence.

What do you guys think? Do you think it makes sense to quit your job to follow your passion? I have some opinions, let’s hear yours!


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41 thoughts on “Should I Quit My Job To Follow My Passion Before I Hit Financial Independence?”

  1. Hi FC,

    My take is that there is a chicken and egg issue. No one knows how long he/she will live in this world. Life is unpredictable. If one assumes that he/she needs to go for the passion and yet does not go for it, it will be a pity if he/she passes away all of the sudden.

    You are also right to state that it is better not to quit the good paying job for the passion. This is in particularly in which one realises that the passion in which he/she is going after, is not really the true things he/she wants.

    Some people are too busy in their full-time employment to the extent that he/she does not have the time to get the sufficient rest and lest seek to explore the passion.

    I believe that this is the matter of making the appropriate decision based on prevailing circumstance. If one does not feel right on the decision, it is better to stick to the status quo.

    My two cents worth of views.

    1. the status quo no longer pays the bills effectively and you can be fired for no reason in today’s world of employment uncertainty.

  2. When we’ve gone on vacation to places like Freiburg or Berlin or Prague, for a euro or two you can get an ice cream cone pretty much every five blocks; it’s idyllic AF on a summer afternoon. Our fun little walkable city, with breweries and a distillery and fun places to eat and FANTASTIC neighbors, doesn’t have an ice cream shop. It’s got a froyo place (ugh.) and the coffee roastery will serve a cup of gelato if you ask… but that’s it.

    As of this morning, we’re 40.1% of the way to FI.

    I worked at a Baskin-Robbins for two summers in high school, so I’m not completely without experience, but I may as well be. My wife makes enough that I could theoretically quit and we’d be fine. When we get to maybe 75% in probably four or five years, I’m really tempted to ditch my cushy corporate gig and find somewhere walkable where I could still nominally contribute to the household finances but also learn how to succeed at small biz in our city.

    Got some time to figure it out. In the meantime, cushy corporate job is absolutely the way to go!

    1. My passion is music and flying, but if I were to make it an occupation? I would hate it. What I like doing is helping people, writing for the sake of it, both music and fiction, learning new languages and things, and travel.

      I am 4 years away from FIRE, did the same job for 15 years and hated it, but what was holding me back, was my own attitude. Once i started “Playing the Game” it got easier.

      Blood pressure dropped, stress level, and after about 2 years, I applied for and won the position I have now, which is low stress, and well paid.

      You don’t have to slam the door behind you and walk out, and in fact, that will not do you any good, as you wear your attitude on your sleeve, and everybody will notice it.

      Get some help with Changing your attitude, learn how the game is played, then develop a side line, or skill set that is lucrative. I learned how to invest, and how to save.

      cheers

      1. When you are stressed, you tend to see things in black and white and the choice seem to be being keeping the stressfull job or fille your passion.

        But like many things in life, the answer is perhaps in a gray area. You have money in the bank and a flexible and in demand engineering expertise, perhaps a lateral move to a less paid but les stressful engineering job is what you need right now.

        It will allow the anxiety to cool off a bit and let yourself envision the future more clearly.

        And I remember reading a BBC capital article saying many rich people made lateral move to broaden their expertise. It might even allow you to go farther with your career.

        1. Well, since you asked, its the title of my next (first) book, and the story of my successful transition.

          The workplace, is very much a game, where the rules are always changing. But what I have noticed of 30 years of working is how some navigate to success and others wallow in despair. Just a few key elements as there are too many to list…
          – getting people to like you
          – staying motivated
          – learning what battles to fight, and what to let go
          – preservation of self
          – learning how to navigate Competencies…

          one day… when I become FI

  3. Definitely an important post! Something I’m struggling with is getting VERY high-paying jobs that allow for very fast FIRE, but as a result of work expectations and fitness goals not having the time for much else.

    I’ve been toying with a little extra of the ridiculous pay for extra cushion for a “sabbatical” to explore things. After that maybe I’ll have more direction.

    Any thoughts from others that didn’t have the time for a side-thing before FIRE?

  4. I think it’s useless to be FI if you’re dead or you’re life is so unpleasant that you wish you were. Health and sanity are the foundation of happiness and while it’s worth it in some cases to trade a short period of unhappiness to be FIRED for the rest of your life, in other cases, you have to put happiness first. As commenters point out above, many high intensity careers don’t allow time or energy to pursue passions outside of work hours. It looks like this reader and her fiancé are willing to live on less–and still save 50% of their income so that she can quit a job that’s costing her her health and sanity.

    However, I think that being financially dependent on a working partner is extremely dangerous, especially when the partner is not (yet) a spouse. What happens if they call off the wedding? Can s/he get another engineering job easily if she has to? What if they get married, but divorce within a year or two? Will that leave him/her without an income? I hate to be Debbie Downer, but I’ve seen too many people–usually the woman–get screwed in divorce cases.

    So, in short, I think that in the abstract, putting off FI for a few years to save health and sanity is absolutely worth it. However, the reader better have a back-up plan in case the relationship doesn’t work out.

  5. It really depends on the level of stress and health. If you can take it, keep working for a year or two to shore up your finance. Also, work on negotiating your severance. It can take a while to do that. Don’t just quit and walk away with nothing. That was my big mistake when I retired.
    Of course, if you really can’t take it, then leave. You have a safety net with your spouse working. Good luck!

  6. My spouse and I jumped the gun early because we wanted to sell our place before the housing market crashed which meant moving and quitting our jobs. Luckily my employer allowed me to work from home so I support my spouse while he follows his passion as an artist. He has been drawing his whole life and it is definitely a passion for him but there were a lot of unexpected lessons that he had to learn over the past 2 years since he started focusing on it full time. He just recently released the first issue of his webcomic and is working on his 2nd.

  7. My passion is my little girl, and spending time taking care of elderly parents. I struggle with exhaustion and occasionally snap at those I love the most. I have asked for an exit package, but nothing good enough is available, hopefully in the fall something better will be proposed (organization is looking to reduce staff). I am not sure that caring for others will entirely satisfy me as a career professional with lots of degrees ; ) so there is some fear for me. I am looking to make good decisions, and like Joe said, not to leave money on the table.

      1. Excellent suggestion, however it is the time factor being part of the sandwich generation. I talk to people about it, but the day goes from 6 am to 9 pm, and then some brief downtime in a bid to get a restful sleep (not frequent, 2 year old wakes up at times and needs to be encouraged to go back to sleep, and not in my bed : )

  8. Hey FC 🙂

    Thanks as always for the thoughtful content!

    I agree with your assessment. I am currently still in the accumulation phase of my path to FIRE, and Mrs. Wallet and I are both pursuing what we believe to be our passions, so far. I started my blog not long ago (although I need to figure out how to market it!), Mrs. Wallet started writing recently and is exploring remodeling, and we are running a fledgling yoga business together.

    Things you really love doing don’t feel like work overall, even if it’s stressful along the way and you may not make any money at the beginning. If it’s more stressful than fun/satisfying you’ve learned something valuable and can move onto the next idea without having given up your valuable, established income stream(s).

    Good luck on getting back to posting and on life post-publication! Looking forward to reading your book.

    Cheers,
    Wallet

    1. If you get in the consistent mindset of creating quality Evergreen content for your blog Monday through Friday in excess of publishing 1500 words or more Monday through Friday and resting Saturday and Sunday before regrouping and publishing more content the following week and follow this pattern consistently for 2 to 3 years, your blog will have so much traffic and back links from search engines and social networks that shall be able to quit your day job, earn a full-time income working from home in transition from “employee to side hustle millionaire,” and never look back at working for the man ever again a day life. But you have to dedicate yourself to creating quality longform Evergreen content Monday through Friday. how do you feel about that? 🙂

  9. I found myself quitting my job 5 years ago and then going on a new career path to follow a passion while pursuing FI. My husband and I had been married for 10 years before I made this change, so our finances and relationship were at a stable enough point for this big life change. I originally planned to take a year off work to spend more time with our son and return to a similar job, probably part-time. (I did not leave a high paying job since I have always worked in education.) Instead I tried out elementary teaching as a substitute and decided to pursue a teaching credential. Now I really get to test out if this truly is my passion as a full-time teacher in 4th grade. Ultimately it is a personal decision, and being on an FI path gives us more flexibility.

        1. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. You could set a 12-month deadline and cut waaaay back just for the 12 months alone, investing every dime. Just knowing you only have 12 months left can completely change your outlook. Cutting way back can stress test your priorities and prepare you in the event your fiancée loses employment. The 12 months would give y’all time to tweak your plan. Good luck¡

  10. Time is a bigger factor when it comes to following your passion. I am passionate about playing tennis and have spent hours trying to perfect my game but am in my 30s now so becoming pro is out of the question. If I could do it again I would follow my passion first and FI later.

  11. Great post and great feedback, I don’t respond that often but this is a question that my wife and I have asked ourselves over and over. What we have decided on, for the time being, is to get to around 80% of our FI number and then take a year off to explore both of our passions. If things don’t work out or when we get back from a world trip with our daughters we will jump back in and work for another year or two until we are 100%. This came about because once we got everything automated and optomized we found ourselves in the slog between finding FI and being FI. This period of time is sooooooo long and hence we decided on the sabbatical close to FI. Being 80% to our FI gives us the confidence to take the sabbatical and not the stress of having to find something at our current incomes when we get back.

    1. This sounds like an interesting plan! World travel and 80% to an FI number sounds like a great way to explore more.

  12. 9 months ago I made the decision to leave my cushy and relax job for a higher paying job. Boy do I regret this decision right now.

    I’m stress as hell right now and I have no time at all to do anything, plus all the overtime I am doing is free overtime… Only bright side is when I look at my portfolio and see the contribution I put in every month, which does make it a bit happier, but overall I regret my decision to take the higher paying job right now.

  13. Nothing to do with the actual story. Just a suggestion that you consider adding your new book to the intro along with the CBC etc. It’s quite an achievement.

  14. Great post! The timing it’s incredible for me. I started a new project/hobby that I hope eventually may make money with however I would not think in quitting my job before being FI (I am a bit more than half way there now).

    I work a very stressful job as en engineer and from this I know not to add additional (and sometimes unnecessary) stress to it in order to be productive and successful. The same would happen with a new identity/passion, I would not like to add any money stress in order to focus in getting it right.

    Thanks for the inspiration.

  15. Depending on the person and their current strength of finance, it’s a self decision if they should quit their job or not in the moment. If you personally is to me, I don’t think a person should quit their job before achieving “side hustle millionaire” status from starting an online side hustle such as “affiliate marketing and blogging.” Today’s employment is slowly but surely, in my personal opinion, starting to be, null and void simply because there is no such thing anymore as “traditional job security.” Even with a college degree, a person can be “wrongfully terminated from employment,” because I live there employer has it out for them, or a jealous coworker who doesn’t want to see that person prosper will say or do something to bring that person down. I’m a 100% supporter for a side hustle because starting an “online side hustle” is the true way to financial freedom and future status of [side hustle millionaire]. Starting a business online is a lot of work and I truly recommend that a person keep their day job and continue working before achieving financial independence.

  16. I just want to comment and say, I kind of think you should just quit and go for it. If you’re okay financially, you will be a hell of a lot happier, and you know what, worst case scenario, you can go back and get another job in engineering. This is the part of the FIRE community that I disagree with. Killing your self over a job you hate so that you can retire early – aka, putting your happiness in hold for a future which doesn’t yet exist, and, as another reader pointed out, you have no idea how long you’re going to be on this planet for anyway. If you were to die in a years time, how would you want to spend this next year. And I think if you know what your passion is, go for it. Don’t let other peoples fears over you following your passion scare you off. If you want to make it work, you’ll make it work. I quit my job that I hated a year ago, and have about £3,000 between my husband and I right now when we had £50,000 this time last year, which we’re spent on travelling and buying a campervan which we are now converting, and I turn 30 this week. And you know what, I’ve never felt happier, because I’m finally living a life that is true to who I am. I think a lot of the FIRE community want to retire early so that they then feel like they have to financial freedom to explore their passions, but if your partner enjoys his job, then you already have the financial freedom to explore your passions. So I suppose, I would get yourself to question why you want to achieve FIRE in the first place. The beat of luck, and at the end of the day, listen to your gut and do what feels right.

  17. Hey guys, hope you are well! Loved this post as this was the exact question I was asking myself in May 2017 when I was about 70% of the way to my FI number. I actually ended up quitting as the stress and anxiety just got too much. Funnily enough, after taking time out to think about what to do next (and sleep!) I’ve ended up back at my old place of work but now as a part-time freelancer. It’s bloomin’ awesome. I get time to do other things while still earning a decent salary. Yes FI date is further away but I am so much happier. So I guess my take on it is, staying in your job or quitting to follow your passion doesn’t have to be a binary choice. Asking to go part-time or finding freelance work could be a happy medium so you can explore other things without losing all of your income.

  18. Really interesting post.
    Actually funny because I recommend the same approach to anyone asking me “should I quite to do X?”

    In France, it is even better because we have a special company status (“auto entrepreneur”) that allow you to test business while still doing your job with no extra costs (no need to create an “official company” with all the paperwork and costs it implies).

    It is very easy to be passionate about something but hate the work related to it. I am following my passion (electronics and music) next to my job since a few years and have a lot of fun. I also make a bit of money out of it. But when someone ask me “Why don’t you quit your job to do it full time”, I make the exact same answer as you. Electronics is fun, but soldering and designing circuits at an industrial scale all day is not!

  19. I was in a similar place at the beginning of this year! I am ~60% FI. My job was cushy and paid decently, but every day felt like I was wasting my purpose on this earth. Instead of quitting outright I negotiated dropping back to 20hrs/week and going fully remote. Huge relief! I spent the last few months trying out a side hustle in my spare time that I ended up hating… and gratefully quit. Finding a way to learn these things without heartbreaking financial risk is enormously valuable.

    I’d still like to transition into a different career field eventually, but for now, keeping the remote gig is allowing me to try things out. I’m traveling around the US in my van for the next 5-6 months — a balance of keeping FI goals and adventure.

    I’d highly recommend reading the Montana Money Adventures blog as a resource (in addition to this one, of course!). She writes extensively about exactly this process — transitioning into FI, testing and scaling your passions on the side, and sometimes taking breaks called “mini-retirements” to feel out your next moves. It helped me immensely in figuring out how to not jump recklessly into a new career path (even though I was burnt out and VERY tempted at the time).

    Best of luck!!

  20. I have a bizarre reaction to the word “passion” when combined with the concept of paid work. It means “indentured servitude” to me.

    I spent too long in graduate school where you were supposed to be “passionate!!!” about science and your project. That seemed to be code (on the professor’s end) for “if you’re dedicated enough you’ll sacrifice all your time to this poorly paid job which involves you doing what I want at any hour of the day.”

    Give me a good salary on exchange for a day’s work any day, thanks . I’ll pursue my passions on my own time.

  21. Sometimes your passion lies where you never expected it to. As an accountant, people ALWAYS ask if I’ll ever start my own private practice. And, I’m always like, “Hell, no! That sounds boring AF.” And I’ve always associated owning your own business as too much work to be worth it.

    Lately though, as my spouse and I travel the country to see bands and go to festivals (our favorite vacation), I realize there’s not a quality music venue in our area. And putting one there would give me more purpose to stay in the city I grew up. And I really wouldn’t mind doing the financials for something that important.

    So, now that’s what we’re looking into for our post-FIRE plan. Thanks for the great read!

  22. This is a tough question and although your answer is sufficient, I feel like there needs to be more. If you follow your passion, and it turns out to just be an “enjoy,” you might be SOL if you stepped away from a lucrative but stressful job. BUT, if you think it’s your passion and you DON’T follow it, you could end up living with regret which could be more painful than needing money. And if a person takes a path of never following through on any potential passion than there could be a mountain of regret. Regret is awful. Having started an investment journey late in life, I’m familiar with this and I’m not even that old.

    Some facts:

    – It’s a messed up world that people have to work so hard just to be alive.

    – If everyone followed their “passion” instead of working, there wouldn’t be much world for others to experience.

    – It’s like we need to find balance as a society.

    Maybe taxing the cost of a birth to start and automatic life-long investment account for all babies that they can add to and begins paying a minimum wage at like age 25?

  23. I think the question should be whether the individual is ready for a lifestyle change.

    I pulled the trigger a couple of years ago going from engineering to pastry cook. I had to move from my clean single room downtown apartment in Calgary to multiple shared accommodations in Montreal (i moved 3 times) that has ant, pantry moth, and mice problems depending on the season. I also sold my sports car and kept a close eye on my expenses cause I wanted to stay invested.

    A lifestyle change involves trade-offs, sacrifices in our habits, and it really tests our tolerance.

    For me, it was worth it cause I’m learning so much about myself and acquiring new skills. My mind is always active, thinking of new ideas and recipes as I learn new tricks in the kitchen.

  24. Dear FC,

    Well I definitely agreed to your opinion as I build up my REAL passion earlier, I believe it helps me to get into FIRE earlier. Once my real passion reach a stage that helps me to earn some side hustle, I can reduce my FIRE amount (the yearly expenses x 25 years) and it sure can get me FIRE maybe few years earlier than planned!

    Now apart from saving money I got an extra mission, which is build up my real passion!

    Thanks for the true heart sharing!

  25. In the past decade, when the dollar appreciated, a large influx of dollars into the U.S. market (stock and bond markets) led to a surge in equity bonds, that would be good for your 60/40 portfolio of course! But in the future, if the dollar depreciates, it will kill both stocks and debts! How does this affect your portfolio and what strategies do you have to deal with it?

  26. As was often said when I was into riding sport motorcycles: You have to ride your own ride. For Wanderer and FIRECracker, working their asses off early in the lucrative and difficult engineering field let them reach their objectives. I have nothing but respect for that, because I tried twice and had neither the intelligence nor the dedication necessary to get through the first semester of Mech Eng.

    I won’t ever see the kind of early financial success that they and others have – I’m 35 now and nowhere near FI – but I’m ok with that. I settled into a lower stress life that will stretch my time to retirement much, much longer, but I can still follow some of the same principles and be happy while feeling like I have some control over my life.

    So far I’ve worked six days this month (three of which were layovers in Frankfurt and Vienna), took a few dips in my girlfriend’s and my pool, drove my old convertible, did some gardening, and yet had enough time and money left over to spend a significant sum on my current hobby/future profession – piloting a plane.

    In my case, building my finances hasn’t been a linear activity. I banked up to 45% of my take-home for a few years, which allowed me and my girlfriend to put 20% down on a reasonably-priced home, and now I’m dipping into savings to take flying lessons, which can eventually yield me a lucrative, exciting career, after first draining away all my savings through training costs and reduced salary in the first few years. Throughout it all I’m hanging on to the job which has made all this possible in the first place, for as long as I can. I won’t leave it until my success as a pilot is a near-certainty. The way I see it, I’m stretching out the pain of reaching FI over a much longer time period. It’ll take me much longer to get there, but I’m also enjoying the journey.

    I’m not saying that this is the right path for everyone, but for me, with my l0w-stress, relatively secure job with DB pension and the safety net of parents who plan to eventually (hopefully in a very, very long time) pass down some of their wealth to me, I feel it’s the right move right now.

  27. OMG! There is a name to what I have been doing for 9 years? And there is also a name for the fear I have since March this year (that’s when FI was achieved for us).

    This has to be the most unbelievable thing I have read cause I am currently in the middle of the wall of fear as I have achieved FI (as you call it) but don’t really know how to quit without knowing ‘what next’.

    I am just constantly adding to the investments pot even though it’s become self managing to the point where it adds to itself every quarter. So now I already have 115% of FI and every 3 months this increases by 3-5%.

    The point you mention of how to know whether I simply enjoy something or it’s a passion is where I am stuck. I actually enjoyed programming a lot when I started, but I really don’t enjoy the politics and the management levels (I moved up the levels unfortunately). So I feel like if I take another of my hobbies or passions, and convert this to anything generating money, I will start hating it completely.

    This blog brought new hope to me somehow, just knowing I am not alone in this, and many people face the wall of fear helps somehow.

    I still don’t know how to get over my wall of fear, as my child self feels like the job thing equals security, while my current self feels like the job thing equals slavery (as at the end of the day all jobs are simply filling the pockets of the owner or CEO or whoever). It defies logic as I don’t need the job thing anymore, but am clutching it tightly like a childhood toy which has zero utility value, but makes one feel secure.

    I also came to the conclusion that I need to try out things while still in a job. It’s just hard to make a start though. I got so focused on FI that now I feel like FI is my passion than other things, if that makes any sense!

    It also does not help that the world travel for me started before the FI planning so I am already on country number 48 🙂 So I haven’t really waited for FI to do anything I really wanted to do, so what next is proving extra hard….

    Well, thanks for this website though, which I am now hoping to frequent to just get unstuck from the position I am stuck in…

  28. Very timely post as a lot of people are reconsidering career choices given that today’s job market provides very little long-term security (AI will hit engineering jobs as well). Agree 100% to work on the passion on the side — David Bach wrote his first finance best-seller while working full-time at Morgan Stanley, so it is doable. That said, there is a risk of putting off making the leap for too long — tomorrow always is later. That right choice of jump now or later is different for everyone.

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