I’ve got a confession to make

I’ve got a confession to make… I didn’t really FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early). I didn’t quit my job because I thought I was Financially Independent. Nor because I wanted to retire. In fact, I wasn’t even sure I wanted to quit. It was Mrs YFG who talked me into it.

Why I quit my job

I actually enjoy the work I do. As you can probably tell from lots of my posts – I really enjoy finance. But I had stopped enjoying my job in the corporate finance world. I was really struggling to sleep during the week. For as long as I can remember I have suffered from bouts of depression and anxiety. The 9 to 5 (or really the 9 until I had got all my work done) was taking a physical and emotional toll on me.

I wasn’t in corporate finance for the long game. I didn’t want to become a partner or work until I was 50. But I did want to work hard, do interesting work, learn lots of cool stuff and get paid a fair whack at the end of it. I had hoped to work until I was in my 30s maybe 40s and then call it a day – perhaps winding down as I got closer to retiring early.

But over time I started to dislike the ‘job’.

Reason 1: Admin

I really disliked the admin and bureaucracy. Paperwork and compliance was becoming about a third to half of my daily ‘work’. It’s boring and, if I’m being frank, I didn’t like charging my clients so much for ticking boxes. Over time, the regulatory burden was becoming more time-consuming. It’s only going to get worse. I looked at my bosses who spent even more (the majority) of their time jumping through hoops. I was fine with sacrificing some of my happiness to work I enjoyed. But not for filling in forms.

Reason 2: The clients

I had also started to dislike a lot of the clients I worked for. I worked in a niche part of the finance world where you are more pre-disposed to working with some shady characters. Over the years I’ve worked for some of the most unpopular people and companies in the world. But I didn’t mind that so much, because I was performing a valuable service. I was helping people, and society (yeah I know that sounds like a load of tosh, but I still believe it true).

Things turned when I had a string of cases where, even the ‘good guys’, were just acting difficult and – being frank – not very nice. These were people and companies I was helping, but they couldn’t help themselves from being ‘bad dudes’.

I’m a reasonably smart guy, and I had lots of experience and skills. I wanted to help people who needed it. Rather than adding zeros to a company’s balance sheet or a billionaire’s net worth.

Reason 3: Health

As I mentioned up top, I suffer from depression. I was very fortunate in my last job that I had great bosses who really supported me. But there’s only so much they can do. I just wasn’t myself, and I was deeply unhappy at work. The culture and environment of The City/Wall Street just wasn’t conducive to me. I had avoided banking out of university precisely because it was a terrible fit for my personality. The work I did – deeply methodically, requiring lots of patience, thinking and planning – was very suited to me.

But the companies I worked for wouldn’t just let me do the job I was good at. There was the politics, the annual appraisals, the ‘networking’. All a load of rubbish that I was forced to endure. And it ground me down. I had spoken to my boss earlier in the year around my career and asked him for his most important career advice. He said: “Number 1 you must look after your health. Everything else is secondary. If you are unwell, your career and your life will suffer.” His advice (inadvertently) led me to leaving – but I am so grateful for it!

Making the jump

The thing is, I was still going to slog it out. One day Mrs YFG saw that I was particularly glum and asked me what was up. I told her that I was thinking how many years I should keep doing the job before I quit. She responded by calling me an idiot. “If you are unhappy, and want to leave your job, then leave. Working more years isn’t going to make it better.” She was (as always) right. So I quit.

There was no plan – other than what I was doing wasn’t what I wanted to do. I was candid with my bosses and colleagues. There was no new job lined up; I wasn’t leaving to a competitor. Most of my colleagues knew that I saved and invested a lot (I didn’t go as far as to say ‘technically’ I was FI). I was just going to take time to think about things.

The reaction

I got two types of reaction.

The first was very supportive. Particularly from wiser old heads. I spoke to about half a dozen partners and they understood why I was doing what I was doing. Some wished they could do the same – if only they had the financial capabilities to do so (…) Others commended me for making a decision most people are unable to do, because they get trapped by the firm. Partners in other departments (and firms) offered me jobs. I joke to my old bosses that by quitting I ended up getting more jobs.

The second reaction was a mix of confusion, and perhaps jealousy. They get very confused at the idea that I can kind of do what I want. They were confused why I was giving up the chance of earning more money and why at such a young age I was quitting work. A common statement was: “Ohh you’re very brave…” or “I would never do something like that”. Almost as if they would never do something that made them happy?

Mrs YFG’s reaction

Most importantly, Mrs YFG was very happy. Not only because she’s the main breadwinner (she always has been anyway)! But she loves seeing how confused people get when she explains that her husband quit to be a “home-maker”. We unfortunately still live in a time where the woman (even if she earns many times what her husband does, or more importantly, enjoys her job far more!) is still thought to be the person who should be “at home”.

I’m not going to lie, it annoys the crap out of us. I doubt anyone would ask me these kind of questions if Mrs YFG, the female, had quit work. In any case, regardless of societal norms surely we should both be in it together?

You might be asking, quite rightly, why didn’t I wait until we reached FI together?

1. We want to do what we want to do

I enjoy being a lazy layabout. I get to do more things of what I enjoy doing, and less things I don’t enjoy doing.

Mrs YFG wants to not have to worry about certain things. She doesn’t have to worry about getting milk or putting the washing on or paying the bills. I do all that and it makes her life a hell of a lot easier. Being at home gives her the freedom to prioritise her work without having house jobs to contend with. If a task needs doing, I sort it.

We emotionally support each other.

2. It gives me the time to do things I want to do

I haven’t worked it all out yet. But I’ve done a number of things. I studied some professional qualifications that I’ve always wanted to do. Including the qualifications to become an IFA and/or Financial Planner if I wanted to. It’s also meant I could start reading and writing for enjoyment. Including this blog. Where I hope I can help other people with my experience and knowledge. It also gives me time to track our joint FI journey. And I can so in a more positive way: not crossing days off the calendar.

3. Mrs YFG earns more than me

And always has done. She also enjoys her job (most of the time). If one of us is going to stay at home it makes sense for it to be me. We quite frankly, have no time for this nonsense attitude that it should be the woman who gives up her career for caring for her family or home.

4. It reduces our expenses

I haven’t read “Your Money or Your Life” by Vicki Robin. Somehow I managed to stumble on lots of her conclusions. I was ‘making a dying’. I had already worked out that my Real Hourly Wage was much lower than my ‘take home pay’.

By not working I don’t have to buy a travel season ticket. There are no lunches, no work clothes or dry cleaning (thank the lord). No expensive nights in the City ‘networking’. Less delivery fees for postage or late delivery and fewer takeaways. We buy less stuff because we are stressed. Fewer meals paid for in central London because that’s the only chance we have to see our friends. Fewer holidays booked at inconvenient expensive times because that’s the only combined holiday we can get off work.

By my calculations, my expenses halved after quitting my job. (I would recommend listening to her appearance on the Choose FI podcast which was excellent.)

5. It improves our marriage

When we both worked I would come home about 7pm (and sometimes later). Mrs YFG would usually finish work later still. I’d eat some sort of processed food because I was too tired to cook and didn’t want to just for myself. Mrs YFG would drag me out of bed in the morning. And we’d spend a few exhausted hours in the evening together.

Mrs YFG is happier because she can dedicate herself to her job and not feel guilty that she’s not doing things at home. We can talk to each other during the day as I’ve got time to respond. She knows I’m safe at home and more relaxed. I can support Mrs YFG and can be there for her when wants to release her madness and ranting when she gets home from work. My work stress is lifted and I’m able to make our home more comfortable, tidy and clean. I can get a lie in. We’re both not just exhausted ships passing in the night.

So what have I done since quitting the job?

Firstly, I learned to ride a bike. I hadn’t ridden a bike since I was about 10 and had almost completely forgotten how to do it. That way Mr Money Mustache won’t face-punch me if I ever get the pleasure of meeting him.

As mentioned above, I also studied some professional qualifications. I thought for a time about becoming an IFA. But I’ve cooled on that idea for now due, mostly, to the regulatory hassle (I want less paperwork in my life!) In part, that lead me to starting this blog, after encouragement from Mrs YFG (see my post: “Why we write“).

Not too long after leaving, my old boss approached me to do some contracting work. The work was something a bit different. And I’ve really enjoyed doing it. I got to work to my own schedule, at home. Together, the end product we produced was really good. And I got paid a nice amount of money to cover my share of the bills. From time to time, there have been enquiries into other contracting roles – mostly full-time. But, for now, I enjoy the time-off too much to want to commit to working full-time.

A hat-tip

I was inspired to write this post after reading “The Fireman’s” guest post on The Escape Artist (Can you become a millionaire on a fireman’s salary?). I found his candour as well as his sanguine reflections on a life of ups and downs very touching and inspiring. So I’m immensely thankful to him for sharing his story. I feel that often the ‘numbers’ in a FI journey overshadow the story and the person behind them. That’s certainly how I felt when I previously shared (now deleted) my ‘numbers’ and ‘story’.

I hope you found my “confession” interesting! And hopefully an example that not all “FIREs” are clear-cut! I’m interested in hearing your thoughts. Particularly if you’ve quit your job: Why did you leave? Were you “FIREing”? What things have you learned since? For those who haven’t finished work yet: What’s holding you back? Do you have any particular worries or concerns?

All the best,

Young FI Guy

29 thoughts on “I’ve got a confession to make

  1. Hey Dude. Looking back, I was close to burning out, I didn’t realise it at the time, but when you’re the frog in the slowly heating water, you continually automatically adjust, albeit unhappily, to the increasing discomfort. I was hanging on, going thought the motions at work on autopilot; this is easy to do if you’re middle management, good at your job and your boss is too useless to know when you’re slacking. Things came to a crunch-point when a management reshuffle landed me with the ultimate psychopath boss who really really didn’t like my gender.

    Knowing the arcane rules of my corporation better than said psycho, I ducked and dived being managed out for a couple more years until I was able to surf out on the final wave when the UK branch was shut down; catching that decent redundancy gave me a sabbatical to breathe and reassess my life. Off the treadmill with time to think, a lot of things then became clear, I’d more money than ever before in my life, but was too stressed to sleep or concentrate for long, ate more than anyone I knew but didn’t have a gram of fat on me. Other quality of life revelations like not remembering when you last smiled even, let alone laughed. The problem was not having the energy to motivate myself to make a change without which nothing could improve. The final piece in the puzzle was at the GP’s trying to score sleeping pills that don’t addict you (they don’t exist apparently) I met a young one who still cared and gently asked me why a person would do a job they had to drug themself to stomach. (hint: at that point you’re probably mildly depressed at least; his words, not mine)

    At my corporate, people shrugged off the high rate of burnouts as ‘snowflake losers not coping with real life’ instead of equally asking if not seeing their children growing up was a sensible adult decision for a balanced happy life. To achieve what? Your pissant part in making our fat-cat directors and the wannabe little-dictator owner marginally richer? Is it really worth your youth, happiness and health? So I asked myself what kept me on the hamster wheel and the uncomfortable answers all seemed idiotic. If I give up I’ll be seen as weak. (ego, weak is caring what strangers think, or being sick because of bad work-life balance) I don’t know what else to do. I may be worse off, poor even, have to start again, the hassle of starting all over again on the snakes and ladders board in the game of life. My partner will think I’m not pulling my weight.

    And what made me stick it out? Every day of freedom with the cushion of the redundancy package made me happier, I remembered who I was, smiling changed to laughing again, I repaired friendships and family connections that had suffered neglect in the go-go years. So accidentally, I just fell into it, I thought that I’d try anything but go back to glorified, thinly-veiled, indentured labour. My background had bad times in it and frugality was hard-wired in us, so it was routine to batten down the hatches when luck turned. I slowly converted my entire lifestyle so I could live on what I passively made and by the time the redundancy money ran out, I finally broke even. The cost is a lot of disapproval from some in my life who know, (I don’t tell new people I meet, they can’t handle the truth) they want me to carry on suffering because in their minds that’s real life, the only way and to shirk it is refusing to take responsibility as a grown up. That is a price I will pay though, because I simply couldn’t go on living as someone else.

    1. Hi FI Warrior. Wow! – thank you for sharing. I’m not sure I can do much justice to your story! I’m just very glad that you are on a path that you are happier and more comfortable in. I understand that ‘disapproval’. Some people just don’t get it. I have to go through it every time with the in-laws. I’m very lucky in that Mrs YFG takes so much of the ‘flak’ for me in that respect. In a way, starting this blog has helped. Thanks to great comments by you and others, I don’t feel quite as alone in the FIRE life-goal.

      There was one part of your story I found interesting – where you took a sabbatical. One of the partners I spoke to before leaving had gone through Gardening Leave. They said their first few months on leave was a lot like yours. Without work, there was huge hole in their life. They came to realise that the work itself had created that hole. The justifications for giving their life to work were trivial. Their time away from work made them realise how important family was, and it changed their perspective on work. I was quite shocked at their candour and they were very supportive of my decision. I was very appreciative – its not often you see somebody who’s at the very top of their profession, in their 50s, telling someone, in their 20s, that the whole career thing is rather trifling (or maybe its more common than I think?).

      1. Hey, this comment is for both you and your partner. Being in sync is such an advantage, it’s difficult to overstate how massive an effect it has on your entire life, it’s like compound interest in resilience or hope/motivation on steroids. My then wife also earned more than me even though a few years younger, simply because she could stomach working for a more venal industry. When we got together she did challenge me with the ‘can your masculinity handle this?’ and I said I was fine because I don’t think money is everything.

        And anyway, I thought if we’re supposed to be together why should I think it’s a bad thing her bringing in more for the both of us? What I worried about though was her mental relationship with money, so as she got higher paid, would she come to resent or despise me for being ‘worth less’? Sadly that did turn out to be the case, in the beginning her pay was so bad she couldn’t afford to live without me bailing her out for years. But once she scored a director title and made noticeably more, she forgot so quickly that she was talking disparagingly when her parents visited about anyone in the UK earning less than £80K/pa. (7 years ago that was really not a bad wage; how fast people can get arrogant)

        I remember with shock her mother looking embarrassed for me at the time, but I had seen guys at work taking a promotion giving a bit more pay but with twice the pain in return and made a conscious choice that my life was worth more than that. (to me anyway) So I smiled and told her parents right there and then that before we met I’d done just fine for myself, owing nobody and nothing for 3 decades, so if it ended I’d just do the same again. Fast-forward, divorce, I chose life. If I marry again, I’m older now and can tell if someone wants you for who you are as opposed to how much easier you can make their life for them. Even with just girlfriends now, I never say I can afford to not work ever again, that way, if they’re still there, then it must be real.

        1. Thanks for sharing FI Warrior. You’ve mentioned a few times about your divorce. I hope you don’t find this too nosy (you call tell me to bugger off) but what happened? My inference is that there was a parting in the ways in terms of your financial and life philosophies. Was that because you and your ex-wife changed outlook over time or do you think there was always some inherent differences? I ask because so many people I speak to don’t have any financial planning around the two Ds (death and divorce). The first is inevitable, the second (given the statistics) quite possible.

          Just to add, Mrs YFG always enjoys reading your comments (as well as the others that people kindly shares). She chuckled at your second para because her parents are much the same. Very quick to judge others. Thankfully Mrs YFG and I have always batted as a team. I think a lot of that is because we were very good friends before we got together.

          1. No worries, if it was too personal, I’d just say so. We were always ill-suited in many ways but it wasn’t obvious to me in the beginning because I was blinded by the strong chemistry, which can be really, really addictive and simply awesome. The feel-good chemicals last for 6-18 months in couples who’re loved up and in that time, psychology shows that we see what we want to see, with a lot of mirroring going on.

            When that effect wears off and the mundanity of daily life becomes more obvious, then the relationship stands or falls depending mainly on whether your fundamental values are aligned. We turned out to be almost polar opposites on everything important, introvert/extrovert, consumer/frugal, with or against the stampeding herd; the list was too long.

            An irony actually was that her parents were cool and like me in attitude, I think she was attracted to me initially to please them (bad idea for the long-term) and when it was over they and I were sad to know we’d never enjoy each others’ company again. FWIW, the marriages I’ve known last are where the couples (very unromantically) lay their cards on the table and decide if they can accept each others’ faults on the basis that if people significantly change, that can cause resentment that will anyway torpedoe the relationship. If they can stomach the irritations, they go for it.

  2. I can relate to your story.

    I grew up in the 1950s in a small village just outside Doncaster, the main employer was the local coal mine which employed my uncle Jack and uncle Stan. They worked 2 weeks nights from 10pm to 6am followed by 2 weeks days, 6am to 2pm and finally 2 weeks ‘afters’ 2pm to 10pm. This was before mechanisation and involved hot, tough work at the coal face with a pickaxe one mile underground.The wages were not good – enough to pay the rent and bills and for the weekly shop and a pint or two on a Saturday night at the miner workers institute. No holidays abroad, at most a day out to Bridlington at wakes week and an hour or two down at the allotment. Life was hard but I think they took things in their stride as they probably did not have too many options.

    After 10 years my uncle Stan managed to get away from the coal mine to run his own pub and Jack stayed on but after another 10 years he ‘retired’ on health grounds with ‘black spot’ otherwise known as pneumoconiosis due to long exposure to coal dust and passed away 2 years later at the ripe old age of 61 having started work at the age of 15.

    I suppose growing up in such an environment/culture taught me a few lessons for which I am very grateful. I am sorry my uncle Jack could not have been born 50 years later – I am sure his life would be very different.

    Thanks for sharing some personal background. I will now go and read the ‘Firemen’s story’

    1. Hi DIY Investor. Thanks for sharing. I’m sorry to hear about your uncle. It is quite unbelievable how much better life is for so many of us now compared to only a few decades ago. I’m so grateful for the sacrifices my ancestors made (I talked about this in a post a while back). I can’t begin to imagine the struggles they went through.

      As you’ve probably seen from some of my other posts, losing my father (he passed away aged 53) at a young age had a big impact on my life. Were it not for that, I don’t think I would be anywhere near FI or perhaps on this journey at all. And for that I’m very grateful.

  3. Thank you for your post – I’m a recent follower but have found most of your contributions to be enjoyable and thought provoking.

    I write as somebody who has also suffered from depression (mild fortunately) and has a son who also suffers from more severe depression, anxiety and a mild learning disability but has fought his way to a good degree from Cambridge and is now again fighting his way through his various issues taking a Masters.

    I thank you for “coming out” and showing that people with these challenges can indeed be successful and contribute to society. And as I am approaching a more traditional retirement age I can say that bureaucracy and politics become more intolerable as you get older and would have burdened you even more had you stayed in corporate-world for a few more decades. You obviously don’t need me to say it, but I endorse your decision to employ yourself with more interesting pursuits.

    [EDITED by Young FI Guy to make it anonymous]

  4. Awesome post YFG. Some friends of mine went down the non-traditional route too with the man running the home while his wife had the city career. Worked very well for them and they are both happily retired now.

  5. Hi young fi.

    Really interesting reading your story and the human side us so important . Am i right that you dont share ‘the number’ that allows you to be fire?? I was just interested not out of jealousy or nosiness except that for me at the moment its AMoving feast.

    Its a difficult one this for me .Ive always been a saver(mainly pensions but also bank accounts
    but definitely wanted the nice house nice car etc. I got all that i wanted 5 years ago at the tender age of 32 when my salary doubled (and has since tripled) and i suddenly realised i didnt want to be in the game anymore.

    i too divorced amicably but because of being frugal i kept the house albeit with a large mortgage and used lodgers to pay it back down to less than 4 times salary

    I’m definitely going to get rid of the silly car next year but struggle with the idea of downsizing even though i could buy an adequate house and b almost mortgage free . This despite the fact i get stressed sometimes which is irrational as my net worth is already over 400k including equity so rationally I could down size tomorrow and be comfortabl.

    At the moment I’m aiming for a million outside property but suspect i actually need less than that given my bills outside of mortgage probably total 2000 including holidays etc mortgage is about 1100. Don’t buy stuff really it’s mostly travel i spend my money on

    Does your plans include retirement as well? Do you pay into pension or pay ni to get the state pension?

    Feel free to pm me or not to answer the question if its too personal.

    1. Hi again Brit Abroad! Thanks for sharing. Meant in the nicest possible way, it’s kinda funny how few FI blogs talk about death and divorce as if it doesn’t happen to people! The comments so far seem to be much more in line with the world I’m used to! That said, there are always positives to be found like in your story. That’s a lot of the reason I really enjoyed the post over on the Escape Artist.

      On numbers, I had posted my numbers along with an overview story. I got lots of positive reaction. But there were three things that made me change my mind.

      Firstly, there was a lot of focus on the numbers, how they were calculated, what was included or not etc. For me that detracted from the main aim, which is – its possible to achieve FI or your financial goals at a reasonably young or at a quick rate if you’ve got the right planning, outlook, strategy and of course luck. I want to help people on their journey to achieving their financial goals. I felt that the post might end up doing the opposite. By distracting or putting people off.

      Secondly, it put me in a bind for privacy reasons as I wanted to tell my friends about the blog. But I was reluctant with having the numbers featuring so prominently.

      Thirdly, there were a few (and only a few) negative comments. I expected it (I expected worse actually). But I still found even reading the comments a bit dis-heartening. I don’t mind people disagreeing with me, correcting me. In fact I really want to hear different points of view! But some really were just people looking to troll. I can’t be bothered with that. I want to spend more time doing what I enjoy and less doing stuff I don’t! (it’s also given me a huge amount of respect for people like Monevator, Ermine, DIY Investor, RIT: who have been posting for years!)

      In terms of pensions I’ve outlined some of my plans and thoughts in two earlier posts (pensions and ISAs the basics; and happy new tax year). I’ll add some links later (I’m on vacation so commenting on my phone, which I dislike doing!).

      I saved heavily into my occupational schemes when I was working because the tax relief and employer contribution are very hard to beat. Now that I’m out of work, ISAs are much more attractive to me.

      I’m pessimistic about the state pension. As I’ve touched on in a few posts, I fear that the state pension will be very different for me when I eventually get there. I’m hoping for the best but planning for the worst. I’ve probably earned enough through contracting during the last tax year (my first full year since quitting) to pay class 2 NIC. So I’ll probably keep contributing NI until the government change the rules again (likely to be next year).

  6. Hi YFG, great post.
    Do I understand correctly that you gave up your job for all the good reasons you’ve listed, but that you’re not FI and you yourself never will be? At least until Mrs YFG’s income gets you there as a couple?

    1. Hi Chris. Thanks for the feedback!

      When I quit my job I wasn’t thinking about Financial Independence or Retiring Early. I can’t remember the exact numbers, but I was roughly FI when I quit towards the end of 2016 (by the measures I use). Since then my net worth has grown quite a bit (2016 and 2017 were very good for my investments) and my expenses have fallen. In that respect, I never did the “trigger pull” that most of the FIRE bloggers write about.

      I never really intended to “retire early”. But since I’ve left the job, I see it more and more likely that I won’t work a standard corporate job again.

      Mrs YFG and I think about our net worth both separately and together. Individually I’m FI but she isn’t (we wrote about this in an earlier post). Together we are getting close to FI but not quite there (although we would be by a lot of measures I think are a bit too optimistic). Together, we would have been closer if I hadn’t quit the job.

      So it’s in those respects I’m not really your bog standard FIRE type. I’m in my 20s, and I don’t really intended to never do paid work again. In fact, I do paid work now (so the Internet Retirement Police are probably already working their way here now!). But the option is there to live a life free of paid work.

      1. Recently came across the blog and very interesting hearing your point of view. May I ask how you’ve found being FI and ‘work.’ We’re single income and think I’ve saved well, I’m 30 and probably still 20years off FI realistically.

        However, thinking of the long term I feel like I’ll always ‘work’, money is just the easiest yardstick, right? So how do you measure your work/contribution now?

        Would love to chat with you on skype or something if you were game. The work element is just something I cannot resolve

        Keep up the good work

        1. Hi shicky, welcome!

          It’s an interesting question. I’ve never been one for a ‘career’, I think a lot of that is because I got into FI at very young age. So work for me was very much something I had to do to get to my overall financial goal. Mrs YFG, on the other hand, has a love/hate relationship with work. She loves her job but does hate it sometimes. I think even if she reached FI she would want to keep working to some degree. She’s that kind of person.

          I took (and still take) a lot of pride in the work I did. I think I did some really good work (hopefully my ol’ bosses agree!) But my worth hasn’t been tied to my job. I measure my contribution as being a husband, a friend, a son and a brother. I like to help people and give back where I can. In one respect, this blog is a way of paying back for all the years of reading other great finance blogs for free.

          I’m always happy to chat to readers, drop me an email: yfg[at]youngfiguy.com

  7. Hell yeah, love this post – we need more men like you in the world. Mrs YFG is very lucky.

    Wishing you luck keeping on the right side of the IRP!

  8. Great post.

    As you say it’s not all about the money. I am currently reassessing the things in my life and exploring different options, both in terms of money and in living since discovering FI myself

    1. Thanks Mr Fu! One great thing about leaving the job is that its given me much more time and space to think about what’s important in life. It’s very easy to get caught in a “mind-bubble” whilst slogging through the work week!

  9. Hey YFG,
    Thank you for this post, you have my utmost appreciation and admiration. The more people who are open and honest about their experiences of stress and depression the better.
    One of my concerns about certain people who follow the FI mindset is that it’s actually a mental escape from work lives that they find depressing or unbearable. ‘Wouldn’t it be great if I could just retire and never do this horrible job’. Retiring early is great if the you’ve done the FI bit, but you shouldn’t be chasing down FI just so you can RE to escape your job. Your work should not be that terrible that it ruins your life. If it is, you need to rethink your work and it’s role in your life. Hopefully your post prompts others to think about this.
    Your friendly neighbourhood Shrink

    1. Hi FIREShrink! Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I’m grateful for you sharing your point of view given your field of expertise.

      I’ve found that leaving the job hasn’t necessarily made me ‘happier’. But I feel that it has improved my quality of life. I’d wholeheartedly agree that escaping work isn’t some sure-fire salve for happiness. I know that my mental health is going to be a life-long battle. I’m hopeful though, that living a content and fulfilled life will help me overcome a great deal of the struggle.

      p.s. I’ve been enjoying your blog 🙂

      1. I guess I use ‘happier’ but it’s not the right word for the job. Damn our vocabulary. I actually mean general well-being, mental state and quality of life. I despair for people who are run-down and downtrodden and aspire to leave work through FIRE as a way to fix their quality of life. Make those changes now!
        Certainly sounds like for you the financial world has the content to provide you with fulfillment, just maybe not in a classical job like your old one!
        Thank you! Likewise, I always look forward to your new posts. Find your summaries highly informative and approachable, so long may they continue!

        1. Thanks FIREShrink. I think I understand where you are coming from. Perhaps ‘core values’ or ‘fundamental principles’ is the right term? Going FIRE isn’t going to make things right if you haven’t got those core values in place or the ones that fit best for you.

          Anyway, I’m not going to pretend I’ve got all the answers. An underlying theme of the post was to try and convey that I’m still on this journey (along with Mrs YFG). The idea that it’s “FIRE and done” is a bit of a red herring. Perhaps it’s why we see many people struggle in retirement?

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