I was wondering, at what point of an “oh-shit” disaster could/would cause me to go back to full-time work? Is there a part-time-work crisis level? What about the “I found some cool working opportunity that I like” to do instead of owning ALL of my time?
Let’s back up before this moment of FIRE extinguishing. Those of us consuming FI content are acutely aware of Financial Independence. We are also very involved in the overall life Independence concept. The majority of us probably believe in being self-sufficient. We are the kind of people that look at issues/problems/goals and formulate plans—with contingency plans—to move along our amazing path.
It’s these planning abilities we have, which should warn us LONG before the FIRE goes out. We will see the FIRE dimming in relation to our planned spend. We will see the FI number shrinking, we may even see the RE excitement and its valuation lessening. Our driven energy may start to propel us towards new and exciting work-ish related challenges. That may just be inherent in our nature.
However, some of us may fall into an autopilot mode. I mean, why not? We’re able to live a life that day after day we can lounge on a beach somewhere just reading books and playing in the sand/surf or hiking/camping in the mountains week after week just oblivious to what’s happening in the common-folk world. We can lose touch with the normalness of most people’s daily reality. Note: planning zebras don’t change their stripes; they just run a lot less with the pack.
What would I do if the FIRE went out without me watching it and I had to panic to implement a survival plan? Whew, I don’t know.
- I have to believe I have skills that would adapt to many working situations at a good/professional salary range if necessary.
- I keep developing my people skills. I now have a much more positive attitude towards the day, and combined with my ability to set and meet goals, there is no doubt that I could sell those skills to an employer. Believe me, working is “selling” your skills to an employer.
- I think it would be smart to have work-related activities underway while living in FIRE. We are all driven and passionate about things, think about the income those things may generate. While working, these activities were called “side hustles.” Maybe in FIRE they are called “passive income streams.”
- It may be possible to keep active and earn money while in FIRE with your career skills, especially at the beginning of FIRE when you are still somewhat fresh from work and may not be totally used to your 100% free lifestyle. Waiting until after your FIRE honeymoon is also a great idea. There are plenty of studies that show the first five years after retirement are the biggest risk for your long-term financial success. My wife and I have done small-scale work/consulting activities just to allow for playchecks.
Thinking through this post, and spending 4+ years monitoring our FIRE, and continually learning—I don’t think we could be taken by surprise with the FIRE going out.
Who knows what can/will happen over the next 40-50+ years. I just have to believe we will continue to monitor, plan, learn and adjust through the waves of life. Just as we have done for the past 25+ years.
I was finishing up my thoughts on this post and then in comes this great post from Jeremy (I say Jeremy like he’s my bud. He’s not my bud, he’s just cool) Read: GoCurryCracker being ruined. After reading his post, he’s right. When you’re a strong and powerful person and have taken full control of your destiny, you probably can’t become a wage slave again. Thanks for slamming the door on my post.
*** Nothing in this article is to be construed as financial advice. I am not a financial planner, nor do I pretend to be. You should always consult your own professional when seeking advice.