≡ Menu

Does FIRE Mean A Lifetime of Deprivation?

{ 56 comments }

Does FIRE Means A Lifetime of Deprivation_350Financial Independence is like a superpower. FI will enable you to do all kinds of things that you couldn’t before. You can find work you like better even if it pays less. You can negotiate to work part-time or ask for a pay raise. FI gives you the power to stand up to your employer. When money isn’t the primary consideration, you have a lot more options. For me, I retired early from my engineering career to become a SAHD/blogger. RE is even more amazing. The last 8 years have been fantastic, a dream come true. I can take care of my family, work whenever I want, and live a low-stress lifestyle. In my opinion, FIRE is one of the best things in life. However, there are some critics out there. They say FIRE is not the right goal. To them, FIRE means living in deprivation. Are those people right?

Recently, I saw something on twitter. One guy said something like this.

FIRE = live in deprivation for 15 years so you can retire to deprivation for 40 years.

I didn’t interact with the tweet so I don’t have the exact quote. At first glance, he has a point. Why save 50% of your income when you can enjoy life to the fullest now? Spend 90% to 110% like everyone else and live it up. Nobody wants to live in deprivation all their life, right? Why worry about the future?

What is deprivation?

First of all, this dude doesn’t know what he’s talking about. It’s like trying to put down Coca Cola if you never tasted it. He only heard about the FIRE lifestyle and he doesn’t understand it. He enjoys his life the way it is and can’t imagine an alternative. To him, FIRE means depriving yourself and your family. Deprivation sounds bad, but what does it really mean?

News flash, we’re all living in some form of deprivation compared to someone else. There is always somebody who lives a more luxurious lifestyle than you. Your lifestyle is downright torturous to the Kardashians and P. Diddy. If you compare your lifestyle to those  celebrities, you’ll never win. They make their living by showing off.

On the other hand, most regular millionaires are quite frugal. The most famous is probably Warren Buffett, one of the richest men in the world. He lives in a $31,500 house (purchased in 1957), drives a 2006 Cadillac, and eats at McDonald’s almost every day. I’m sure that’s living in deprivation according to the not-billionaire Twitter dude.

Am I living in deprivation?

I don’t think I’m living in deprivation. Life could be more luxurious, but I’m already very happy with our lifestyle. Have I been living in deprivation for all these years? Let me share a bit of my lifestyle and you be the judge.

  • Home – We live in a small house that was converted into a duplex. One unit is rented out. Our unit is about 1,000 sq ft, which is relatively small for 2 adults and 1 kid. A more modern house would be spacious and have a nicer kitchen. The biggest problem is we only have 1 bathroom. It’s a source of conflict occasionally. However, our home is located in an awesome walkable neighborhood. There are shops, restaurants, and a lot of life in the area. The house next door is much nicer/bigger and cost over $1,000,000.
  • Car – We share one car, a 2010 Mazda 5. I think I paid about $18,000 for it. It works flawlessly for 10 years now. Our previous car was a BMW convertible. It was a lot cooler, but maintenance cost a ridiculous amount every year. We don’t drive that much anyway so we don’t need a fancy car. Mrs. RB40 takes the streetcar or bus for moderate distances (like when she went to work pre-covid).
  • Food – We eat out (takeout these days) a few times per month. However, we eat very well. I cook all kinds of Asian dishes and they are awesome. (Check out our cooking videos on YouTube.) Mrs. RB40 is a good cook, too. Her food wasn’t that great when we met in 1993, but she improved a ton over the years and her meals are delicious now. I don’t think we are depriving ourselves at all. A lot of times, our home cooking is better than restaurant food.
  • Travel – This one we don’t skimp on. We travel internationally at least once per year. Well, I try to keep the hotel cost around $100/night, but that can be luxurious or downright motel-like depending on the location. Over the last few years, we’ve been to Iceland, Cancun, Thailand, Costa Rica, and more. 2020 is another story because of you-know-what.
  • Clothes – Okay, I admit I’m pretty bad with this one. These days, I only wear t-shirts and shorts/workout pants. And they are all falling apart. I really need to buy some new clothes. In my defense, I never liked fancy clothes. They are always uncomfortable. I don’t see the point of spending a lot of money on them.

Those are our biggest expenses. It might look like deprivation to Twitter dude, but this is a lot better than most people on Earth. Sure, I’m a little envious when I visit my friends’ big fancy house, but I’m a lot less stressed out than they are. I have a lot more time than they do. It’s a tradeoff.

I’m already pretty happy with our life. The only really big issue is the 1 bathroom for 3 people, but it’s a low usage room. For 99% of the time, it works just fine. I am planning to refinish our basement at some point and add a bathroom. That would help a ton. So what do you think? Am I living in deprivation? I don’t think so. My son’s living conditions are a lot better than mine when I was his age.

FIRE isn’t deprivation

Anyway, FIRE isn’t about deprivation. It’s about having the freedom to do what you want. I will never work for someone else again as long as we can maintain our modest lifestyle. No matter how luxurious Twitter dude lives, he is still at his boss’ beck and call. Luxury is just a trap unless you can pay for it with passive income like Warren Buffett. Conspicuous consumption is not worth it to me. I value autonomy much more than luxury. It’s not even close.

Alright, what do you think? Does FIRE mean a lifetime of deprivation? Which do you prefer – a modest lifestyle with more autonomy or a luxurious lifestyle with a boss?

The following two tabs change content below.
Joe started Retire by 40 in 2010 to figure out how to retire early. He spent 16 years working in computer design and enjoyed the technical work immensely. However, the job became too stressful and Joe retired from his engineering career to become a stay-at-home dad/blogger at 38. Today, he blogs about financial independence, early retirement, investing, and living a frugal lifestyle.

Passive income is the key to early retirement. This year, Joe is increasing his investment in real estate with CrowdStreet. He can invest in projects across the U.S. and diversify his real estate portfolio. There are many interesting projects available so sign up and check them out.

Joe also highly recommends Personal Capital for DIY investors. He logs on to Personal Capital almost daily to check his cash flow and net worth. They have many useful tools that will help DIY investors analyze their portfolio and plan for retirement.

Latest posts by retirebyforty (see all)

Get update via email:
Sign up to receive new articles via email
We hate spam just as much as you
{ 56 comments… add one }
  • TPC October 25, 2020, 6:28 pm

    Having saved my way from ~0 to six figures, I think someone without FI to fallback can rarely understand the confidence and stability one has until they reach there.

  • Tara Red August 24, 2020, 9:55 am

    I have been surprised recently by the contempt some people express toward FIRE adherents. Lean FIRE is derided as voluntary poverty while FatFIRE is insensitive when so many people are suffering. In other words, we can’t win. Those of us who buck social norms should expect criticism. Our actions make those who follow norms uncritically question their own choices. My hypothesis is uncertainty feels bad, so folks get mad at those they blame for triggering doubt.

    • retirebyforty August 25, 2020, 7:28 am

      Most people have a hard time imagining a different way of life. That’s okay. We need most people to be productive and prop up the economy. FIRE wouldn’t be possible if everyone strives for it.

  • Truth August 23, 2020, 6:39 pm

    Obviously he can afford it because he is not a millionaire, he’s a billionaire, but some of the Warren Buffett frugal lifestyle stuff is overdone – especially what you say in your post, so I’m fact checking it a bit. His house cost $31,500 but is now worth around $700K. He also had a vacation house in California, he sold for $7.5 million. He proudly flies around in a private jet (for business, paid for by his company presumably). He now drives a 2014 Cadillac. Etc.

  • gofi August 22, 2020, 8:25 am

    Not at all deprivation. You have everything you need, and a bit more. I loved how your life mirrors ours (except we’re a few years away to FI) – one car, small home, and one child. It make me feel like we’re doing the right thing.

    We just need to learn to cook better food. On that note, may be a post on your favorite / must have sauces for Asian dishes would really help. When I visit Asian stores, there are so many different brands and kinds, I’m not sure if I’m buying the right kind (or if I could even consume some safely).

  • David @iretiredyoung August 19, 2020, 5:29 am

    Obviously we need a certain amount of money to cover the necessities, and a little bit extra for a few treats or special things is nice too. But after that, money really does seem to become less important – I know people may say that’s easy for me to say as my finances are working out, but I really think it’s true.
    In fact, I find that managing with a little less money means I think more about what I spend it on, what I do, how I entertain myself etc, and I’m convinced I’m doing more things that I appreciate and value because of this. I do believe in balance, working on an extremely tight budget isn’t really for me, nor is being overly extravagant. As far as my FIRE life goes, I’m finding it very rewarding, I ‘m definitely not feeling that I’m depriving myself – and if I was, then I don’t have to keep doing it, I have a choice.

  • GYM August 18, 2020, 11:38 pm

    Yeah I saw that tweet too. To each their own, I think most FIRE bloggers or people who retire early find contentment in the simple things and hence don’t need to spend a lot of money on the next gadget or new clothes or new fancy purses to impress others.

    We have a Mazda too and have been very pleased with it.

    Similar to the inner scorecard outer scorecard thing from Warren Buffett.

  • Katie Camel August 18, 2020, 5:58 pm

    If you’re like me and hate spending money on clothing, then get a Banana Republic credit card and take advantage of their awesome points programs. Seriously, I spend next to nothing on clothing because it kills me. Sometimes I’ll replace my exercise clothing at Marshall’s or TJ Maxx, but I also just cashed out a bunch of rewards bucks to buy 2 pairs very nice Gap yoga pants that were on sale. They cost me a whole $3.20! The quality is far superior to anything I have from Marshall’s or TJ Maxx too. I’ve written about it because I think it’s such a great deal!

    But, yeah, for some people, not spending nearly everything you earn is deprivation. I feel sorry for those folks. I live very well and have a high savings rate, but it’s because I don’t need a ton of things to be happy. And I agree that most of my homemade meals are better than most restaurant meals. One of the docs I work with says the same and refuses to go out to eat.

  • OneOuts August 18, 2020, 10:48 am

    Great post, Joe. Five years ago, before I knew about FIRE, I spent about $6-7k per month, I wasn’t depriving myself then (and actually, I still had pretty good savings rate). After learning about FIRE, I began trying to limit my monthly outlay to $5k per month. Then, I realized lately that I have been spending less than $4k per month since the corona crisis started.

    As I have like $1.5 million in savings, I guess I can FIRE anytime now. I am kind of depriving myself now compared to five years ago, but it’s not intolerable at all.

    • retirebyforty August 18, 2020, 11:15 am

      Now you have a lot more power. If something happens at work, you can assert yourself and not just take it.
      You can try to find work that you enjoy more or take a year off. FIRE gives you tons of options. Good luck!

  • drplastickpicker August 18, 2020, 9:13 am

    $30 for an Ebook? No thanks. I could plant 3000 trees in Nepal for that amount.

  • SP August 18, 2020, 8:33 am

    I think that FIRE means a lifetime of opportunity. The closer you are to fire, the more freedom you have in your choices.

    There are brands of fire that are a lot leaner than the more middle of the road style many in the community follow.

  • [email protected] August 17, 2020, 4:05 pm

    Haha, I have a similar post in drafts right now just waiting to be published and it was sparked by that very same …er, Twitter Dude. It was definitely making the rounds.

    I’m inclined to agree with you, perhaps even more forcefully. It’s all relative.

    Ultimately, I think it comes down if you’re avoiding spending in a miserly, misery inducing way when you *could* otherwise spend.

    Just like you all, we’re quite happy with our life and would continue it on at this level in perpetuity happy as a pair of clams. And it really doesn’t take much ($40-45K/year), and even then, it’s a ton of money compared to much of the world.

    We’re fortunate to not really want for more.

    Thanks for helping right Twitter Dude.

    • retirebyforty August 18, 2020, 11:06 am

      Heh heh. Sorry, I posted before you. Let me know when you publish it. I’d like to see your take.
      We are very happy with our lives too. It could be nicer, but that’s even better. It gives us something to look forward to.

  • FITrailHiker August 17, 2020, 3:14 pm

    This twitter dude is probably like my neighbour. They by tons of stuffs and every 2/3 months sell those at one tenth of price in garage sale.
    I don’t by stuffs but I eat , travel and live well. I don’t think that’s deprivation.

    • retirebyforty August 18, 2020, 11:12 am

      I enjoy food and travel much more too. Those things are a higher priority for me than buying stuff.

  • Don't Wanna Be Deprived August 17, 2020, 2:02 pm

    Agree with many of the comments above. Living expenses is a personal thing. It’s all relative between how our parents live and how we live now. My parents were immigrants and even though they live in a house now while I rent in Silicon Valley, my buying ability is far greater than theirs was when they were the same age. Pre-Covid, I could afford to travel way more than they could, and I could also afford fancy new electronics if I chose to buy them. On the flipside, buying a house now is much more expensive than it used to be. Can’t have it all. And within my own generation, I’d say I’m somewhere in the middle.

    I definitely agree that having to balance long working hours / answering to a boss v. making do with less money is a very personal choice. I used to be one of those people who had to eat at fancy restaurants and go on expensive luxury vacations, until I quit my stressful day job and had to pare back my lifestyle. I realized that I enjoyed those expensive experiences but don’t need to keep it up to be happy; having experienced it once was enough. I’m happy now living on less and figuring out my next career. I saved enough money to buy myself time and we are frugal enough that it’s been alright, without feeling deprived. Some of my peers would think that we’re “poor” and it’s sad that we can’t afford the things we used to, but I feel that the choice I have in how to live my life is priceless. I can still afford the things I need in life (car, good apartment, good quality food, some entertainment), and I have to think harder about spending on other things, but that hasn’t been as depressing as I was afraid it would be. Sure, I’d love to go shopping more, travel more, etc., but with Covid, now’s been a great time to save, anyway. Some people are also more naturally frugal than others, and don’t feel deprived in spending less. I personally am a bit more on the spendy side naturally (and being in one of the most expensive areas of the US doesn’t help) but I’ve have really enjoyed paring back the last 2-3 years as I figure out my next career.

    There truly is no replacement for living on your own terms. It’s also not something most of our parents ever highlighted as a worthwhile experience.

    Best of luck to you! I don’t think I could manage 1 bathroom with a partner and a kid, so the basement addition sounds amazing.

    • retirebyforty August 18, 2020, 11:11 am

      Thanks for sharing! I enjoy luxury experiences too, but not too often. Then you’ll get used to it.
      Enjoying luxuries once in a while is way better.
      Good luck with the future. This recession might drag on for a few years. I suggest staying conservative with your spending as long as you can. Once you have income again, you can relax. Best wishes.
      I should write a post about sharing 1 bathroom. That seems to be a big issue. 🙂

  • Jim @ Route to Retire August 17, 2020, 10:19 am

    You already know that we’re retired and living a happy life. We don’t live extravagantly but we don’t feel we’re wanting for anything. Right now, we’re road tripping for a couple of months just because we can… life is good.

    My brother on the other hand thought similarly to your Twitter friend you talked about. However, after he’s seen how much our life has changed, him and his wife are in. They live a lot more extravagantly than we do and don’t plan to cut back either. So they’re happy to work a little longer to be able to enjoy the best of both worlds. They’re going to work for another decade, keep pushing their savings and investments, and then live a fatFIRE life.

    In other words, it’s possible to FIRE and live modestly but it’s also possible to live a life of luxury as well. I don’t think either one of our families will ever feel a pinch of deprivation with the freedom that FIRE gives.

    • retirebyforty August 17, 2020, 11:50 pm

      It’s great that your brother is saving more. Hopefully, they can minimize lifestyle inflation. That’s the killer.
      On the other hand, your brother is trading 10 more years of time. Now that I know how good FIRE is, I wouldn’t be able to do that. It’d feel like going to jail.

  • jim August 17, 2020, 9:59 am

    Your 1000 sq ft home would probably be considered a lot by most of the world.
    1+ billion Chinese people live in homes that average 25% smaller.
    Only Australians have bigger homes than Americans on average.
    Sometimes it helps to put things into perspective by remembering that America is only one nation in a very large world.

    Joe I think your standard of living is pretty high. The reaction to ‘deprivation’ may have been aimed at some of the more miserly FIRE adherents. People who live in a shack and haul their family of 5 on a bicycle everywhere because a car is too expensive.

    • retirebyforty August 17, 2020, 11:47 pm

      I agree. My mom had 8 siblings and they live in about 1,500 sq ft with one bathroom. Now that’s tight.
      And some of that space was for business use.

  • Tawcan August 17, 2020, 8:44 am

    For me it’s finding that personal balance that’d work for you. It might look like deprivation to some people but if it’s not to you, who cares?

    People may think it’s deprivation to travel and stay in a 4 star hotel because they always stayed at 5 star hotels. But to some that usually stay at 3 star hotels, staying at a 4 star hotel is luxury. 🙂

    • retirebyforty August 17, 2020, 11:45 pm

      Exactly, that’s why I don’t pay any attention to what other people think.

  • Jason Hull, CFP August 17, 2020, 8:27 am

    Maggieandsara has a good point: if someone tries to get by FIRE via the ERE route and winds up miserable, then that’s not a good long-term solution.

    Then again, if you do that (I mistyped fi the first time…Freudian slip), it’s not like you can’t go back to work, earn more, save more, and up the lifestyle.

    If you’re living a lifestyle you enjoy before you retire, and then you retire, you’re set up for success (assuming you can float the bumps in the road).

    • retirebyforty August 17, 2020, 11:43 pm

      I agree. You have to find the point where life is pretty comfortable. Cutting down to the minimum is too difficult to maintain.
      The key is to minimize lifestyle inflation after you find the sweet spot.

  • Done by Forty August 17, 2020, 8:08 am

    I know the tweet you’re referring to and, yeah, I agree with this sentiment:

    “First of all, this dude doesn’t know what he’s talking about. It’s like trying to put down Coca Cola if you never tasted it.”

    I don’t think someone needs to have hit FI to have an opinion on it: but you should at least try living a lifestyle of so-called deprivation if you’re going to frame it as such. Compared to our old, spendy lives, yeah, we might seem like we’re depriving ourselves from a superficial level. But having lived it for the better part of a decade, I can say it’s been the best decade of my life so far. It feels downright luxurious.

    • retirebyforty August 17, 2020, 11:42 pm

      My Coke correlation isn’t quite right. 🙂
      We also lived in a big house, drove a nice car, and ate out all the time when we were young.
      It was fun, but our current lifestyle is so much better. Those things aren’t as important to me as time.

  • Steveark August 17, 2020, 6:34 am

    You are the other end of the spectrum from me. I’ve got four cars sitting on our driveways right now for the two of us, but I am planning on selling one of them since I just bought a newer model. Plus we’ve got a fishing boat and trailer, an off road vehicle and trailer, a several thousand dollar lawn mower for our two acres and a 3,000 sq ft two story house with four full bathrooms. Our kids are grown and gone and I haven’t had to work for years, although I do consult a little for entertainment. I’m sitting at our breakfast table watching a deer browse in our backyard. There are 800 acres of wooded wetlands surrounding my property full of critters of all kinds and we have entertainment while we dine most of the time. Our lives are different but they both sound pretty good to me. Most guys my age are back at work on this Monday morning, I’m still in a bathrobe in the kitchen trying to decide if I want to play tennis this morning or clean up the car I’m going to sell. That’s a low stress decision for sure.

    • retirebyforty August 17, 2020, 11:39 pm

      For now, we enjoy living in the city. At some point, we may move to a more rural area. Then, we could buy a much bigger home for the same price as our current home.
      So you have the best of both worlds. You’re living a great lifestyle and you have a lot of time.
      If you had to pick just one, which would be more important to you? Just curious.

  • The Crusher August 17, 2020, 6:27 am

    Two points:

    No, you are not leading a life of deprivation by my standards and most importantly not by your family’s standards. As someone above stated, Personal Finance is PERSONAL. Heck, life itself is personal. We decided to have 3 kids (all boys, my wife is a saint). Did doing so impact are finances negatively? – Absolutely! Would I change that decision? – Never! Heck, if I could go back in time I might have 4 kids. 🙂

    Tweets like you read suffer from two failings: the 1st is lack of knowledge – that this person clearly does not understand the FIRE movement. I am 54 years young and have not yet decided to FIRE (soon) but I still feel a part of the movement and I get it. I am just taking a longer FIRE path than many. Again, a personal decision. This person has not done their homework or opened their mind to the possibilities. The 2nd failing is the Twitter format – Twitter is made for a small, witty soundbite. You cannot post in a meaningful way in just a few characters. It just doesn’t work.

    I admire your choices. Personally, we have not arrived at the level of frugality that you have attained but I admire you for doing so.

    • retirebyforty August 17, 2020, 11:36 pm

      Thanks for your input. Usually, I compare my son’s life to myself at the same age. He’s living a much more comfortable lifestyle that I did. I don’t remember much from when I was 9, but I think we had 5 people in about 1,000 sq ft. But no indoor bathroom. We had to go to the outhouse and there was only 1…

  • TPM August 17, 2020, 6:20 am

    We feel no way deprived, even as we dropped to a single income. We are still saving a substantial portion of our cash flow directed to our FI. But, we live in a low cost of living location.

    • retirebyforty August 17, 2020, 11:33 pm

      That’s great! You’re at a comfortable point so keep at it.

  • Felipe August 17, 2020, 6:19 am

    Maybe FIRE isn’t for everyone. Some call my life deprived – that’s the friends stuck on status and labels. For me, I’m only in month six of FIRE. That money I don’t make now has bought time. I spent the month of May with my aging mom and aunt. I did chores, cooked, read, and fished with them. All leisurely covid-safe activities. I could never have that time with them whole working. Even when I asked to work remote from their place I was told no by my employer. So i did try. Funny now with covid everyone is remote, but I’d already quit.
    Then I went to work on the family farm for two weeks. That’s not something that pays, just something I’ve wanted to do my whole adult life. Clearing a pecan grove my grandpa had planted, so many find memories came back to me.
    If retiring early means less money, so be it. On my deathbed I’ll be wanting more time. Once I had enough money it became up to me to find the courage to jump ship. FIRE is about not caring what society or friends think and going on your own path of freedom.

    • retirebyforty August 17, 2020, 11:31 pm

      Time is the ultimate luxury. Most people have no time to do anything these days. I’m glad you can spend more time with families. It looks like early retirement is paying off. That’s great!

  • nicoleandmaggie August 17, 2020, 5:59 am

    I mean, if your salary is high enough, living on 50% of your income doesn’t feel particularly deprived. But the tweeter has a point for Early Retirement Extreme styles of FIRE. #notallFIRE

    • retirebyforty August 17, 2020, 11:30 pm

      You got a point. ERE is a bit too extreme for me as well. I wouldn’t want to live in a trailer and eat very frugally.

  • Mr. Nomad Numbers (@ nomadnumbers.com) August 17, 2020, 5:37 am

    Well for us FIRE is definitely not a life of deprevation since we’ve combintedi it to geo-arbitrage to turbocharge our nomadic lifestyle and enjoy amazing experience arround the world! We prefer the modest lifestyle instead of going luxurious. That being said, we like to be modest in our spending with the occasional splurge!

    • retirebyforty August 17, 2020, 11:29 pm

      We’ll join you guys in a few years. Geo-arbitrage is a great way to improve your lifestyle.

  • Xrayvsn August 17, 2020, 4:59 am

    Just like any any concept you can take things to the extreme (and those are the people that get the most attention on social media and thus paint a biased picture over everyone else lumped into the same category.)

    There are the extremely frugal minimalists who basically relegate them to lean FIRE (Mr Money Mustache is a prime example). They take pride in how little they can live on. It works for them but it is easy to see how people could view them as severely depriving themselves.

    Physicians can certainly live on half their income and still have a luxurious lifestyle and retire early if they want to and at a fat FIRE level so it is possible (I certainly am in this cohort)

    • retirebyforty August 17, 2020, 11:28 pm

      I think MMM takes things a little too far as well. It helps a lot if you have a high income. That makes saving and FIRE much easier.

  • Lazy Man and Money August 17, 2020, 4:20 am

    I saw the Tweet. My favorite response was the alternative of working a bunch of years for a limited 5-10 year retirement before being too old to enjoy it.

    I firmly believe in FIRE, but I can understand Tweet Dude’s thought. First, it’s Twitter, so you have to recognize that many people exaggerate to get noticed. Second, a lot of FIRE is retiring on a low income for a long time. That’s not everyone’s idea of a successful life, which is why there’s a fatFIRE movement.

    You’ve designed your lifestyle in a way that doesn’t feel like deprivation. I feel like we need two cars, the extra bathroom, and a little more space. However, for me, I can eat instant ramen noodles all the time… I just don’t have the taste buds for some of the great food that you cook. Maybe I have some Buffett in me, where McDonalds’ is fine.

    You touched on an important point that everything is relative. I have more tolerance on Twitter now that I understand this.

    • retirebyforty August 17, 2020, 11:25 pm

      I think you’re right about Twitter. The guy is trying to funnel traffic to his product.
      Everyone has to design the lifestyle that’s best for them. You have to prioritize.
      Someday, we’ll go for more space. For now, 1,000 sq ft is okay.

  • Dave @ Accidental FIRE August 17, 2020, 1:47 am

    “Your lifestyle is downright torturous to the Kardashians and P. Diddy. If you compare your lifestyle to those celebrities, you’ll never win.”

    Actually Joe it’s the exact opposite. Their lives look like medieval torture to me. I’m living like a king to them, and they’re just superficial paupers. I win, hands down.

    The premise of the argument of folks like that tweeter is that spending more and having more stuff, or “living it up”, makes you happier. I’ve found that to simply not be true. The whole premise is just false.

    • retirebyforty August 17, 2020, 11:21 pm

      I’m with you. Autonomy is the best. I wouldn’t go back to work for anyone unless I have no choice.
      My life right now is so much better than when I was an engineer.

  • Backpack Finance August 17, 2020, 1:25 am

    I saw that tweet. Mainly felt sad for people reading these type of things. It must give them an affirmation that living paycheck to paycheck and spending every dime they make is ok. I have always lived modestly and never once felt deprived. If that’s how feel you aren’t doing it right.

    You get to choose. Either live a life of luxury in a cage or a simple one with freedom.

    Obviously you guys took the freedom path 🙂

    • retirebyforty August 17, 2020, 11:20 pm

      Living paycheck to paycheck is terrible. Many low-income workers have to do that because they have no other choice. Middle and high-income workers have more choices than that.

  • Kenny August 17, 2020, 12:53 am

    Life is all about ‘sacrifices’ that involve Give and Take. The rich guys are in mountain of debt, but living a good life. The poor guys are dreaming high and spending to keep up. Both are stretching themselves thin in many ways, and feeling ‘incomplete’.

    So, deprivation, if it exists in one, exists in all, although deprivation might have different definitions.

    I manage many apartments and have rents that are $3500 per month for 1 bedroom to $615 for 1 bedroom depending on area, and own all of these properties (and everything in between). It allows me to watch lifestyles of a lot lot lot of people, ask all sorts of personal questions, and all I see is that ‘humans stretching beyond their current capacity’.

    Satisfaction is in very few humans, and the ones that are satisfied are the ones that are older in age (generally 40 to 60 range) and have gotten to a realization that this is ‘as good as it is going to get’. My oldest tenant is 72 years old, and youngest is 19 years old.

    So, deprivation. Yes. It is called ‘sacrifices’ of not having the newest Tesla or not signing up for going up on SpaceX for a few, and for others, it is renting a $99 phone for a monthly payment plan on a credit card.

    Today I had a couple ‘walk’ from their basement apartment to one of my empty units and were at least 61 and 67 years (approx), but did not have ANY jobs. All their deprivation was that their current landlord does not give them a very functional stove/range/refrigerator and having to live in a basement apartment! Think about that, that most of us reading this would NOT even comprehend as ‘deprivation’. If I would give them this apartment (which I will not due to lack of income), it would be ‘satisfaction’ for them.

    Of course, I have diverged a bit from the main topic, but not really. Giving you examples that you might not have exposure to, to define, deprivation has many definitions in a stage of working, retirement, millenial-stage, and in poverty/richness.

    Hope this was somewhat valuable and put some perspective to the definition of deprivation as a form of sacrifice……

    Kenny

    • retirebyforty August 17, 2020, 11:19 pm

      Thank you for sharing your experience. Some people really need to control their spending better.
      As for the older couple with no income, how do they support themselves? I would hesitate to rent to them too.

  • Big-D August 16, 2020, 10:44 pm

    FIRE, like everything in personal finance is, PERSONAL. Some people can, and some people cannot live without certain things. I know people who cannot live without their daily uber eats takeout, bi-annual iPhone upgrade, and $200 a month on cable on their $6k 75″ TV. That is them. People don’t have to see things as a sacrifice if they want to do something differently. I hate cooking every day, and I live alone. I spend more on food than I should but that is my think. I don’t own a TV (I have 4 computer monitors and 6 laptops which act as my media displays).

    I bet twitter dude is just looking at several of the general recommendations and going “WTF – why would I want to live like that when I have money”. I have family members like this. Their savings is Nil and they are expecting a big payday when my parents die sometime in the next decade. I lived in a GM town and saw it all the time with people who worked in the plants. New cars every few years, boats, a couple Harleys then they retired and boom they were living paycheck to paycheck on Social Security and a pension wondering what happened to all the money and sitting doing nothing since they have no savings.

    I personally save so I am not at living at the whim of someone/some entity. I can survive losing my job, I can do a lot of things I want to do because I have saved, and haven’t bought a boat, and a couple Harleys, and new cars every couple years. Security is about the mitigation of risk, and the more risk you mitigate (money in the bank) the more options you have.

    • retirebyforty August 17, 2020, 7:24 am

      You’re right. Everyone has to find their own path. Living on Social Security checks doesn’t sound good to me, though. That kind of retirement is tough. Good job thinking about the future and saving.

  • Sam August 16, 2020, 10:31 pm

    One bathroom between 3 would be a little too tough for me. But I admire that you are happy with what you have. The basement will be a great addition.

    I’ve been proactively trying to spend more money to improve our family’s life. The pandemic has really been a catalyst to not save so much anymore and to spend.

    Sam

    • retirebyforty August 17, 2020, 7:20 am

      It will take a while to remodel the basement. There are too many things to do before that. It would be really nice to have 2 bathrooms when our son is older. It’s not a big deal right now, but it will become a problem.

  • Financial Freedom Countdown August 16, 2020, 10:25 pm

    I saw that quote but more importantly looked at that individual’s profile.
    And you notice that individual is selling an ebook for $30 🙁

    Sadly twitter has now a number of people who make outrageous quotes to get viral and drive engagement.

    Bottom line, it is a great sales tactic to grab attention.

    • retirebyforty August 17, 2020, 7:18 am

      Ahhh… I see. The guy just wanted to funnel traffic to his ebook. Thanks for letting me know.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.