I Just Postponed My FIRE Journey

I Just Postponed My FIRE Journey

Last month, I decided to quit my job and find a new one.

I worked as a management consultant for a large international consulting company.

The job was fun and the colleagues awesome. However, being a good management consultant does not go hand in hand with being the good father, husband, and friend I want to be.

As a management consultant, you have very clear career paths from being an associate to becoming a partner. I was well underway to becoming a partner.

The career progression offers insane salary increases. Often 50-100% for each promotion.

I could have doubled my savings rate in a year’s time if I had continued working as a management consultant.

That means I could’ve probably shortened my FIRE journey significantly.

In fact, using a financial independence calculator, I would’ve cut my FIRE journey by more than 50% if I had stayed in consulting.

Why didn’t I do it?

Because you need to be happy on the journey too. The sacrifices of a faster FIRE journey were too great.

I will rather postpone my FIRE journey and be healthier, and a better father, husband, and friend on the way. What is financial independence worth if you have lost your family and friends on the way?

The moral of the story

I guess my point is that a high savings rate isn’t the only goal. You need to take care of yourself and the people around you happiness at all stages in life.

If you don’t like your job, try to change it and ignore your savings rate for a while.

If you don’t like living frugally, then don’t.

If you don’t like living in a small town compared to a large city, then try to move closer to the city.

You get the point. It’s all about being happy, now, tomorrow AND in the future 🙂

Your turn: Have you ever postponed your FIRE journey and why (not)?



Nick @ TotalBalance November 22, 2019 - 22:55

I know compared to you, 45-50 hours per week of work is nothing, but that’s what I used to work, and I loved it – for a while.
I now work closer to 35 hours, and I hate it 😛
But, I didn’t have a family back when I worked 50 hours per week to come home to, so I don’t plan on going back to working those hours again.

You still rack up quite a decent salary in that new job of yours as far as I can tell? So, it’s not all bad 🙂

I don’t think there’s any shame in making new plans, as your life’s priorities shift. That’s only natural. I’m anxiously awaiting the “OK, we’re moving out of the City”-post 😛
My realistic full-FIRE goal is still 10 years ahead of me, so I bet a lot of “swivels” will be required in the coming years for me too 🙂

Carl Jensen November 24, 2019 - 15:01

Working many hours is not always the hard thing – it’s when it comes to the work not being meaningful, and your schedule not being flexible or predictable that things come crashing, at least for me. The meaningfulness is why I think a lot of people are not happy in their jobs. If they can’t see the greater purpose or are appreciated for their efforts, then you hate working 🙂

Yes, the salary is good at my new job, but the NPV is far worse since I won’t be getting those 50-100% raises.

Haha, I’m not sure you’ll get that post anytime soon. We still enjoy being in the city a lot and our friends haven’t started moving out yet, but eventually that might happen 😉

Thomas November 18, 2019 - 10:07

Are you still planning to become FI by 35 years, or what is your new goal?

Carl Jensen November 19, 2019 - 17:17

I’m revisiting the goals at the moment and will know more when I conclude 2019, but it’s not going to be far off if markets deliver in the coming years (which is definitely not certain). Remember, I expect to still get some income from this blog and other part-/full-time work once I reach “FI”, so the expenses I need to cover using the traditional 4% SWR calculation are not as large as my current spending.

Anthony @ dividendyieldlive.com November 18, 2019 - 09:04

That’s not an easy decision to make. All careers come with bumps and turns in the road. Funny thing is you hardly ever hear people talk about them, most people only ever speak of an ever ascending curve of success. Trust me, no one ever experiences an ever ascending curve of success, life intervenes. The more interesting stories however are where people did something brave, changed something radically. Well done for talking about about your change Carl.

Carl Jensen November 19, 2019 - 17:14

Thanks, Anthony. Yes, I also often overestimate how well people are doing in their jobs and life in general, but there’s always more to it when you scratch the surface.

Omar November 18, 2019 - 00:53

Great post !
Yep, let’s live the now, here.
Off course, keeping in mind the future 🙂

Carl Jensen November 19, 2019 - 17:12

Thanks, Omar! Exactly, it’s a balance 🙂

Loui November 15, 2019 - 01:23

Good for you!

The journey is more important than the goal. I would have done the same.

Carl Jensen November 17, 2019 - 10:49

Thanks, Loui! Yes, I highly agree. Looking forward to hearing about your mini-retirement 🙂

Sterling November 15, 2019 - 00:02

Near the opposite end of the spectrum, I have enough to FIRE but am not ready to stop working. Not yet.

For better or worse our work often ends up defining us, and it has certainly done with me. I guess I need to find a more normal life balance and let work slow down naturally before thinking about a FIRE hard stop. Maybe FIRE by 40 is a good target.

Scrappy is a management consultant in London (well on his way to Partner level) so I know of those trials and tribulations through his experience. It isn’t a job I would want to have with a young family – kudos Carl, kudos for making the hard but necessary choice.


Carl Jensen November 17, 2019 - 10:47

Thanks, Sterling. Yes, it’s hard to combine management consulting and family life – some people make it work, but I don’t think I could.

I’m not sure I will stop working either, but I do want to be FI still. I might go part-time or even continue working full-time if it makes sense with all the other priorities in life 🙂

Jørgen Wolf November 14, 2019 - 22:02

I hear you Carl. Happiness, health and family means everything. The rest is just luxury. That’s also why I decided to quit my job and FIRE even though I have not reached FIRE in the tranditional sense (25x annual expenses). However, the passive income I’ve created is enough to cover our expenses now and then I’d rather prioritize my family than going for FATfire. Who needs expensive material things after all? Happiness comes from the inside.

Carl Jensen November 17, 2019 - 10:43

You are exactly right. It’s really cool what you have done, and I admire people who have those priorities in life.

Omar November 18, 2019 - 00:54

Nice to hear from you, Jorgen !!!
(we exchanged some mails, some time ago)


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