There is a lot of stuff out on the internet around the FIRE community about frugality and saving hard for your retirement and being able to kill the day job and have all the time in the world to do what you want. Sounds idyllic – it’s something I dream of being able to do, and my journey is taking a lot longer than most of the people you read out there striving for (or having achieved) FI. You can see people who hit FI in their 30’s – a seriously major achievement. For me however, FI is not the be all and end all utopia.
Whilst I am definitely not one of the You Only Live Once (YOLO) crowd, I do believe it’s as much the journey as the destination that counts. I have been very fortunate over the years and traveled a huge amount, something that I have loved doing and would want to continue to do when I finally pull the trigger. The downside is that this costs money and so that drives up the final cost of the retirement pot, if I wish to choose to do it.
I can look back and I know that what I have done in the past, some of these I would struggle to do now, let alone when I am in my 60s. There are also some experiences that you will never be able to get again, and as times change it won’t matter, you will not be able to repeat them – one reason I like to travel to more remote places.
I can’t ski for as long as I did 10 years ago, nor can I do moguls as well as I used to – if I had waited until I was FI I would never have experienced this, nor had views like below for eating my lunch.
The other month we also went to see Nigel Kennedy in concert at the Royal Albert Hall. Whilst there is no doubt about his genius for music and interpretation (and ignoring the disregard for the audience with his timekeeping!) that made for a superb evening, it was not that cheap. The difference is I haven’t seen him play for many years, and, at the age of 60 (him, not me!), who knows how much longer he will be able to keep this up. On the plus side, his clear enjoyment at doing what he was, and his level of energy he has makes me wonder if he will ever stop! I could have put the money into investments and watched it grow over the next X years and see it to be generating £Y a year, but I couldn’t buy the experience.
For this reason, whilst FI is the end goal, it’s the steps to get there, and the potential missing of opportunities that stands out for me. I could have hit FI I guess a couple of years ago, but I look at what I wouldn’t have seen and done, and I would regret it.
Having said that, everyone is different. If you hate flying / cruises / circuses / foreign food etc. then actually you may be happy to not do those things, and live an equally fulfilling life somewhere in the UK (thinking along the lines of Last of the Summer Wine!). I have no problem with that at all, nor am I judging, after all if we all wanted to do the same thing and liked the same thing it would be dull. The challenge is figuring out what is right for you.
Just make sure that you don’t spend your life chasing FI at the cost of your time and health on this planet. Having known a few people who died early (30’s and 40’s), you need to strike the right balance. Spend some time enjoying the here and now, but just make sure you do it in an informed way of the impact, not blow it all on Cristal Champagne in clubs on a credit card!
What are some of your guilty pleasures that are delaying your FI?