I Planned To Be Financially Independent At Age 30 – I Didn’t Make It

Didn't become financially independent at age 30

Since I was a kid, I have told my mom I don’t want to work for the rest of my life.

I think it was because my granddad told me on his deathbed that he regretted having worked too much.

Somehow that has always stuck with me.

When I was 18, I told my mom I would stop working at the age of 30.

Back then I didn’t know anything about financial independence.

When I first read an article about Jakob Lund Fisker and Early Retirement Extreme, I was instantly hooked. I had read other books before that which changed my perspective on how life could be lived (e.g. The 4-Hour Work Week and Rich Dad, Poor Dad).

Even though those books resonated well with me, it wasn’t until I found the FIRE community I was hooked.

I won’t be financially independent at age 30

I know now that my bold goal of being FI at age 30 is not going to happen.

If I should have retired at age 30, I should have lived a different life with much lower expenses. I probably should have also won the lottery or sold a business.

However, I’m not sad I didn’t make it. I’m further on the path than most people and we have managed to build a net worth only a few people have.

I’m happy about the choices we have made since they give us lots of happiness:

  1. We got a daughter
  2. We live in a large city
  3. We live in a relatively large apartment in an expensive area
  4. We dine out often
  5. We travel a couple of times a year

All those choices make up our life. All those choices cost more money than their cheaper alternatives.

I don’t regret making those choices because we will rather be happy on the journey towards FI and postpone FI a bit. However, it’s, of course, important to understand when spending more money doesn’t increase happiness.

That’s why you need a FIRE strategy and realize it probably won’t turn out the way you expected it.

I’ll still be financially independent faster than most people

Even though I won’t be financially independent at age 30, I still feel lucky to be on the journey.

I’m so happy I discovered this alternative approach to life. I enjoy spreading the word on this blog and teaching my friends about it in “real life”.

Because we embarked on this journey in our 20s, I’m 100% sure I’ll become financially independent faster than most people. I still expect to become financially independent in roughly five years from now (used to be four years from now).

How can this be? We are already well underway, our savings rate will increase and our salaries will go up. Also, I’m more optimistic that we will earn money when we are FI to use the conservative 4% rule. Even though some costs will increase (more kids, getting a car, etc.), I’m confident we can still make it.

So, I didn’t become FI at age 30, but I did find FIRE before I turned 30. I’m extremely happy I did. We are on our way and I am proud of what we have achieved despite missing my childhood goal. Thanks for following our journey this far!



MagniFIMoney October 28, 2019 - 21:34


Good encouragement. I am in the same boat as far as perspective goes – I’m not going to be FI by 30, but I know that with the lifestyle I have cultivated and the diamond-like strategies and tools I have discovered and learned, I’m gonna be fine. I will make it there decades earlier than most as you pointed out, and the exact day doesn’t really matter.

It’s a lifestyle and a way of moving through life. I like to think I am becoming freer already!

Carl Jensen October 29, 2019 - 21:17

I think that’s an excellent point, MagniFIMoney! Once you start saving, the snowball starts rolling slowly. Also, you’ll become freer since you can afford to make life choices independent of needing money in the short term that you otherwise wouldn’t have been able to.

Peter October 17, 2019 - 23:00

Off topic a bit, but I meant for a while to mention Carl, that you can really write. Subscribing to a handfull of FI blogs, many updates pass unopened in my inbox I must admit – but I tend almost always to read yours the day it comes. This is important in bringing people to understand and benefit from FIRE I think. A bit like MMM, one thing is what he says, but almost more important is the way he says it. At least for me the FIRE journey probably hadn’t begun if he had not had such great style and able to put things in writing so well. So please continue your great posts 🙂

Carl Jensen October 18, 2019 - 19:36

Thanks a lot for the kind words, Peter. It means a lot to hear and is definitely a good motivation to keep going. I wish you the best on your FIRE journey 🙂

European Dividend Blog October 14, 2019 - 09:46

Hi Carl.
Such great attitude towards FIRE and life in general! I actually met, by coincidence, the girl who wrote that exact article, I guess you are referring to. I read the same article back then and it really stuck with me. I have suggesed to her, to make a follow-up to tell the story about how that article reallly opened a lot of young minds in Denmark when it was published.

Carl Jensen October 14, 2019 - 20:06

Thanks so much, EDB! That’s very interesting. I think she has influenced a lot of people with that article (also when you count all the readers who have then influenced even more people). Hope she follows up on it 🙂


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