Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Show HN: Retire 35 (retire35.com)
34 points by paradite on Dec 24, 2021 | hide | past | favorite | 55 comments

I just can't imagine why someone would waste such a high proportion of their youth, only to realize they're probably exclusively driven by arbitrary work in the first place. Wew lads, I'm retired at 35, guess I'll find a hobby for the first time. Oh wait tho, I'm fat and depressed from selling all of my life so far, and have to spend the next 5 - 10 years undoing that while everyone else I meet has developed their life with some kind of balance. All those hobbies I could have done while I had energy, health, and friends, are kind of out the window, and the only people in my dating pool are divorcees with kids!

I've heard the FIRE movement described as living miserably for the first half of your life so you can live miserably in the second half.

Thanks for the feedback. I am more optimistic on the hypothetical case construction.

Regarding depression, I believe that working towards a goal, such as retiring early, would actually help combat depression because it gives purpose to work otherwise meaningless or monotonous. Also, I don't think early retirement planning is correlated to depression, i.e. they are orthogonal.

Regarding fat, the same argument, planning to retire early is not going to cause you to become fat. It is more of a lifestyle choice unrelated to when you want to retire.

Curious on why you would think they are linked to early retirement.

Regarding hobby, I have specifically talked about this in the website. If you already have a hobby, you shouldn't give it up just to retire early. However, if your current work is interfering your capacity on practicing your hobby, then maybe early retirement offers a "faster track" to be able to go back to your hobby than the traditional retirement route.

I wasn't really intending to provide feedback to you on your list, I was more just a little dismayed with the premise of working backwards from the goal of retiring that early and living your easiest years in what I believe to be a waste to get there, as most people probably would need to. There's nothing wrong with the concept of retiring early, if that doesn't cost too much in terms of how you spent your time to get there.

I've had a very volatile career, but I'm actually quite thankful that I've been forced to work at least 2 or 3 years less then your average person, even though I have no money to show for it. In retrospect, while it would be nice to have that money, I have memories of aimlessly travelling, hanging out with friends for hours a day in summer, and if I were to have waited till my late 30s, I'd have worked those memories away. I'm also im great shape and have a good relationship with staying in great shape, such that work will always be secondary. I also have some good friends that I've spent a lot of time with already. I know that won't always be possible, but I've established them and am decent at establishing new ones. These are things that careerist people end up losing out on entirely, a lot of the time.

By contrast, if I were to not only have worked regular hours for those missing years, but probably worked extra by even oke more hour every day, a bit on weekends, and saved a higher proportion than I already was, all I'd have to show for it is money, and that's pretty hollow. Thinking about retirement doesn't make you fat, lack of spending $ and time on physical hobbies does. Spending most of your time in a chair and eating cheap/quick food does too, none of this is a stretch to reach depression.

Can't speak for everyone, but my personal reason for following parts of the "FIRE" movement is not the "retire early" part, but the "financial independence" part. I don't want to retire at 35, but I want to be able to do whatever I want at 35. If that means take a few years off to raise my children, or dive into a new career nothing to do with tech, or maybe try something I am passionate about that is low paying. Retiring doesn't mean stop working and sit on the couch until I die, it means opening up lots of other doors that were locked to me, and dropping out of the rat race. Also, it's entirely possible to accomplish FIRE by 35 without selling out your health and family...

This is flawed. Early retirement and balance are not mutually exclusive.

Early retirement requires doing things a little differently than the average. Luck is always a factor, but you want to stack the cards in your favor.

My comment was somewhat flippant, but I don't believe this to be true, unless luck is very in your favor. It means you have to be rather miserly, and misers have a negative vibe about them for a reason.

> I'm fat and depressed from selling all of my life so far, and have to spend the next 5 - 10 years undoing that while everyone else I meet has developed their life with some kind of balance

I didn't take the FIRE route, but I don't recognize this picture in friends I know who did. Some have kids, most have multiple hobbies, plenty of friends, and take regular vacations.

They mainly did two things early and consistently:

1. Were incredibly intentional about their careers. They always maximized for both pay and potential career growth and were absolutely ruthless about leaving a job if they began to stagnate on either metric.

2. Identified expenses that didn't make them happy enough per dollar and cut them. No fancy car, decent but not incredible living space, adequate furniture, vacations that aren't $1000+ a day (camping is great for this if you're into it).

Remember that if you're a knowledge worker putting in 60 hour weeks into your career is almost certainly an anti-pattern. The best data available says you're probably going to be do way better somewhere in the 30-50 hour a week range. That leaves an awful lot of time for the rest of life.

Once you hit financial independence it's not like you stop working, you just no longer have to ask the question "will my work let me pay the bills?" You can find the exact balance you find most fulfilling.

I think there's a lot of luck involved in being able to do the very first step of that, which is why I really haven't concerned myself with it. It seems to me like the people who seek this are also hyper anxious about their careers and money.

In contrast to what you describe, I find that with the intention to do this sort of thing, you end up predicating your interests based on the price of them entirely, rather than being frugal within them. Camping requires a tent, but if you're not willing to buy one and maybe a backpack and some shoes, you're just dull. I did do this for a period of time, and I look back on it largely with thanks that I didn't continue.

Sometimes this is sensible, sometimes it's not. Getting into car racing or mountaineering is just inherently very very costly, so I'd not blame someone for avoiding them even if they did have the cash. There is just a certain amount of unpleasentness involved in not excessively not spending coupled with excessively working.

This comment resonated with me so viscerally that I've been struggling to comment for almost an hour now. I dunno if you are projecting but it's a bad hot take.

I'm on track to be able to retire early. To be able to do that, it requires a deep personal understanding of what I want. Sure, there are SV engineers who could retire early and do it only to flounder because they haven't answered those questions, but I'm also sure there are many many people who learn very quickly that the question of what do I want is the only one that needs to be answered.

personal curiosity: are you <35 or >35? I've been curious as I drafted this.

I'm <35, but not by that much, and don't think my comment is all that hot of a take either, but given the amount of people who were inspired to comment, maybe it is. The question of what do I want is probably one of the looming questions on anyone's mind who hasn't figured that out by 25, regardless of whether they're an engineer or not. I guess I'm half projecting, and half not. I didn't intend it to be some savage take down of capitalist pigs, but after trying to reflect on the question of "what do I want" for years, the answer is decisively not to try and earn so much money by the time I'm 35-45 that I can retire, because it would cost me a lot of personal value that I've learned is a greater value than surplus cash. Perhaps there's also a difference between how someone reads this who's making doctor money, and who's making less than doctor money. One requires a bit of frugality, one requires literally being some sort of miser, and in my impression that's not an admirable quality. The other aspect of how I'm projecting, because you're curious, would perhaps similarly be because I've reflected on having carried myself in the way that I feel someone would need to in order to accomplish this, and don't think it would be in their best interest because I don't feel like it was in mine. I've met enough people who haven't done this, who actually do approximate the description of someone for who hasn't developed any hobbies, and who otherwise relentlessly prioritize their career, and it does leave me genuinely a bit baffled, as my somewhat off-handed initial comment would hopefully suggest. That said, I also feel like many people who find themselves on the track to retire early, haven't ever really had to contend with whether there's anything different they'd do. They've never been fired, they've never really been out of work, or maybe they've never had to re-consider whether they're company or their money will be there for them when they stop being able to get up in the morning and bang out some code. Or maybe they have had to contend with this, and that's exactly what causes this drive. Who knows, but I have thought about this, and asked myself the meme question of whether or not my plan is good if it's brought me to complete burnout with no meaningful connections.

I guess a much better summation of this idea is the stereotypical mid-life crisis.

Agree. Live life as you go. You could be dead tomorrow. Be in the moment, don't live for a future goal that will a) probably never happen anyway and b) is likely to kill you from stress and overwork along the way

I don't think FIRE and having a fulfilling life (everything you list) is mutually exclusive. You don't have to work 60 hours per week to make $300k/yr nor do you need to spend your entire paycheck.

The odds of being able to make 300k a year at all, never mind without working 60 hrs a week, that it's not even worth discussing. Even the people on this forum are going to be in the minority if not extreme minority of people bringing in that kind of cash for less than 60 hrs.

That said, of course you don't need to spend your whole paycheck, but for the vast majority of people, I think you would have to spend so little that you'd really be sacrificing too much.

It's the other way around. The people making enough money to retire early also have fewer working hours.

It's people who make the least money and can't retire who work the most hours.

i agree completely. i retired at 26 from software engineering. and partied and learned a variety of skills between 26-33. i took on a variety of hobbies as well as several low level jobs in new fields to acquire skills outside of software. machining. carpentry. barn building. cryogenics. heavy equipment operator. blacksmithing. farming. welding. animal husbandry. investing and trading. electronics. chemistry. i learn fast, and ask a lot of questions. i couldve never done all those things if i had just kept working in software.

at 33 i bought a farm. and this year at 35 i started a framing business. using skills i acquired in the interim. i couldve never made the transition if i hadnt the interim period. i still code for fun, and leverage my engineering skills to write software and build hardware to automate my farm.

talk to the mods -- I vouched for this comment as I don't think you are trolling but I think your early comments have you with negative karma which I think defaults you to dead.

returns on investments such as stocks, bonds and real estate have been incredibly high over the past decade - the ultra low interest rate environment that central banks around the world have created is a big contributor to this performance.

It would be deeply naive to think that starting to invest today, at historically high valuations will yield the same annual returns in the next decade. Stocks are very expensive, bonds are super-crazy expensive (given that you have a contractual guarantee that upside is impossible and that real yields are negative). Extrapolating from the recent past is a dangerous game. Reversion to the mean is a law of the universe and we cannot keep going like this.

If you quit your job expecting to be able to live off of your portfolio, you should have enough to still be comfortable after a 50%+ loss.

Inflation is flaring up, historically this meant raised interest rates, which in turn translates to lower asset prices.

I completely agree that investments have inherent risks, which is why investors usually transition into lower risk portfolio nearing retirement age. And I believe you already know that.

The point of Retire 35 is therefore, not doing precise financial modelling. I am not qualified for that.

Instead, what I propose is a change of mindset and how we view retirement. It should be a more of a "mid point" in life, rather than the "last lap", if that makes sense.

Retirement is generally towards the end because most professions aren’t like tech to earn enough to retire early. Retiring early is a luxury of a very privileged minority.

Of course you can retire early while making less money but you are definitely wasting your youth if you have to keep spending to the bare minimum.

It’s not this way that it is because of “mindset” — it’s because of practicality.

And personally speaking, I enjoy my job, I never work more than 40 hours, and I have time for my hobbies. I think this is a way more practical “mindset” for most people.

the traditional "lower risk" portfolio as a function of age is to decrease allocation from stocks in favor of bonds. As previously mentioned, extremely high prices for bonds coupled with substantial inflation means that bonds are no longer less risky. What's risky isn't so much a question of the asset class, but more about the price paid. Trillions of dollars are reaching for yield and it is not clear what a low risk asset might be in late 2021.

I see where you are coming from. I didn't know about the bond situation. Is that US specific?

The idea is to go for whatever that is currently accepted as low risk. For example, if bonds are considered risky, maybe high interest saving accounts are the next best option. And you can adjust your retirement goals accordingly.

No, low interest rates are a global phenomenon. It has to be, because otherwise massive arbitrage opportunities would exist.

interest saving accounts produce negative real returns, you cannot put enough money into one to generate the passive income you need to retire.

The whole retire early idea is predicated on substantial investment returns and the ability to outpace inflation. Savings accounts won't cut it.

I have a saying. Retiring is dying. Yeah I know it has some flaws, but personally I don't intend to retire but to continue working. Yeah the work will change, and frequency band duration, but I plan to keep active.

You got downvoted, but there is a very strong correlation between retirement and death. Some people may be well prepared psychologically for independence, but many are not. My plan is to keep working, but to hone my work to make it valuable to me personally. Lots of positive things people can do are also reasonably profitable. Immersion in the corporate rat race is not an inevitable result of being productive.

Correlation is not causation

It seems that you are equating retirement with cessation of work. Many do not interpret it that way, myself included. Retirement is a stage where one can choose to work as much or as less as one pleases without jeopardizing current and future standard of living for self (and loved ones)

If you like your job, there isn’t much reason to stop doing it as you age out, as long as your health holds out of course (and why retirement seems to cause death, they probably retired due to health reasons). But there are a few reasons retirements occur:

1. Not happy with career stuff at that point anyways, so why keep doing it? My dad liked his job but didn’t like where his job was (nuclear power is bad like that), so he retired a bit early.

2. Your niche ages out (eg a mainframe programmer before they were back in demand again).

3. You simply want to do something else.

4. You are in an industry that pushes out older workers regardless of their desire to keep working.

>> personally I don't intend to retire but to continue working

The majority of people retire when they are forced to, not when they plan to. Everyone has a plan until life punches them in the mouth. The question is what does your life look like after that?

Majority based on what and where. I would say that varies greatly globally depending on culture, social structures, government policies etc etc

Hi, thanks for the feedback.

My definition of retirement does not mean stop working. In fact working is encouraged as long as you enjoy it.

I have actually addressed the issue of work on the website, in "What to do after retirement?" section.

I plan to keep working after FI, but I really only need a couple of days a week. I've always felt 40hrs for 48-50 weeks per year is way too much.

I always liked the idea of FIRE, but I don't want to deprive my family of a decent lifestyle, so we can "retire" a bit sooner. All my friends that reached FIRE (fat FIRE), cashed out on either AirBnB or Uber IPO, definitely not something everyone can replicate. Like everything, you find people you take everything to the extreme, and tell you that counting pennies will take you to a comfortable retirement life, this type of people usually have something to sell you. In the other hand, I don't think reaching FIRE doesn't make your life miserable, or boring, etc... You can always work on something you really like, or do more volunteer work, etc. But the main idea of FIRE: saving money, and investing is not bad advice. In my case, If I were to hit the jackpot, I would just retire in South Asia, and work full-time in Open Source projects.

As a 34-year-old with a negative net-worth, I’m guessing this ship has sailed for me…

Well, thankfully I like my current job.

You and me both

Personally I like to use this calculator: https://engaging-data.com/fire-calculator/

That looks very similar to the Retire 35 app in terms of functionality.

You got me thinking. Maybe I would release a web version instead.

I'm thinking some wiz kid from a cheaper country could do this.

Bob is from Romania, he comes to America for college and gets a new grad offer at Twitter.

After 10 years he has a million in vested stock options, he sells em all to retire to the countryside of his youth.

I guess I could do the same, but I can't imagine it being easy to learn Romanian. All the English speaking countries are fairly expensive to live in.

Interesting idea. What about moving to South East Asia?

Low cost of living and plenty of English speakers settle here for retirement.

I'm actually learning Chinese right now.

If I get one of these magical FAANG offers, I might be able to retire by 40.

I imagine if I do try and retire in a foreign country it would be much more difficult as I'd have to get used to the culture.

The again with globalization and all that I guess I could just hang out in Starbucks no matter where I'm at

Medicare doesn’t transfer, so you have to fund your own healthcare passed 62-65, when you need the most of it.

Guam is an option for Americans where Medicare will still work. Otherwise if healthcare costs aren’t an issue, I might retire to a tourist town in Yunnan.

how much would life expectancy increase in the next 50 years? i doubt someone with less than 4-5 millions networth can even dream about retirement figures "young adults" with 1-2 millions saved

tell me you live in north america without telling me you live in north america

Yes, I can't wait to retire so I can finally master the dark art of origami. /s

Since I've went in to business, I've been having so much fun I hope that I never have to retire. Normies gotta dream about something though, I guess.

> Normies gotta dream about something though, I guess.

Huh? So as a privileged business owner, you’re calling 9-5 workers as “normies” for desiring more fulfillment?


You've unfortunately been breaking the site guidelines repeatedly. Did you not see https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=29601700, just a few days ago?

We ban accounts that post like this. I don't have the impression that you're doing it deliberately, because you've also posted good things, but the problem isn't just this sort of post—it's what it evokes from other users. It basically leads to the degeneration of the forum, which is the outcome we're trying to avoid here, or at least stave off.

I don't want to ban you, so if you'd please review https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html and stick to the rules, that would be good.

Glad to hear that you are enjoying what are already doing. That's a great state to be in.

And if you were to ever consider retirement plans, you would fit into one of scenarios that I described on the website:

> If you are already working on your passion or interest, that's even better. You can continue doing what you are doing, just with an bonus peace of mind that you have the freedom to change if things don't go the way you liked.

Is this sarcastic? Sanitizing individualism in the Christmas Eve is not for the faint of heart. Retirement by 35 means others must retire later than they should, unless you pretend to be self-sufficient.

> Retirement by 35 means others must retire later than they should, unless you pretend to be self-sufficient.

The advice includes lowering your expenses by spending less. You are providing less total work and you are taking the value of that work back at a slower rate. So there's no reason anyone else has to work more or less. We simply don't need the lifestyle we are buying during our working years. Personally, I think it is time to drop the standard to a 30 hour work week.

It's funny that there is usually no winning with an argument over change in work habits because either you hurt people by making them work or you hurt people by taking away their work. ( Somehow the status quo is accidentally perfect, unless of course you examine any part of it.)

> Sanitizing individualism in the Christmas Eve is not for the faint of heart.

What on earth is this sentence supposed to mean?

That jesus wants you to work to pay other people's pensions. Not sure if he ever articulated in this manner though

I like individualism.

The majority are easily told what to think by authority figures in the media, and people are constantly fooled into making stupid decisions and not seeing the bigger picture of events unfolding.

Corporations will use people until they are no longer useful, and then kick them out.

You need to put number 1 first.

I'm sorry if I had posted this at a time that bothered you.

Regarding your concern, I actually believe that early retirement will increase the overall productivity of the society (because people can work things that they find passion and purpose in). So it wouldn't be at the expense of others (sorry if I understand your point incorrectly).

I have addressed about this issue briefly in the "Productivity and fulfillment" section on the website. However, it is clearly lacking in depth. I will try to add more explanations on why I think that way.

Non sequitur. One person retiring early makes no difference in when others retire.

Guidelines | FAQ | Lists | API | Security | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact