How did you discover the FI Movement?

I don’t normally take selfies, but when I do, they include dinosaurs and my MFing shirt.

Confession: I’m not perfectly adjusted and lack creativity. My life could be drastically different right now. And it would be for the worse.

If not for a serendipitous turn, I might still be at my job. The thought of leaving work before 62 or 65 had never crossed my mind before October of 2012. It took a bad day at work and a couple Google searches to lead me to Mr. Money Mustache (MMM) and JD Roth. MMM showed me the numbers and gave me permission to leave my job. JD told a story about growing up in a household where money wasn’t managed well, but he eventually found the good path anyway. I’m not sure when (or if) I would have figured it out without MMM and JD.

Would there be dinosaurs in my life without FI? Probably, but it wouldn’t be the same.

The Frugalwoods PreFIstoric Journey

I was listening to Mrs. Frugalwoods on the excellent Choose FI podcast. My favorite part was when the Frugalwoods decided to reconfigure their lives and move to the woods of Vermont permanently instead of just spending weekends there:

My husband and I decided in March 2014 that we wanted to pursue something different in life.

We wanted a radically different lifestyle.

Once the decision was made, they didn’t waste a moment or a dollar:

We cancelled our dinner plans for that evening.

Like me, the Frugalwoods decided to pursue FI at a very specific point in their lives. Also similar to my story, they had already laid the groundwork in frugality, so it wasn’t a massive change, just minor tweaks.

I’d like to know when and how you discovered the FI movement and what you did about it. First, we must get to last week’s question.

 

How Much would You Bet?

Last week, I asked you how much you’d wager on this:

Designate an amount of money and then flip a coin. If it lands on heads, you lose it all. If it lands on tails, you get 10x the amount. How much would you wager and why?

Reader Adam:

I’d probably go 5K, because i wouldn’t miss it too much but 50K win would be a decent boost.

Mustard Seed Money:

I’m not much of a gambler so the highest I’d probably go is $100. While I’d love to win more than $1,000 losing more than $100 would probably hurt too much for me.

Mr. PoP:

I’m not smart enough to calculate the odds of that bet (Mrs. PoP?), but it looks like huge upside with very little downside. 50k? 100k?

Joe from Retire by 40:

As for the bet? Maybe $500 tops.

Reader J:

Hate to be too rational, because this thought experiment is all about human perception, but mathematically speaking, you make 4.5 x your wager on each bet on average. (-1 x 50%) + (10 x 50%) = 4.5.

With that in mind, a rational person would bet the maximum they could if there were only 1 bet and the goal was to gain the maximum return. However!!! Since I have a solid concept of “enough” my goal would be slightly different:

Since I need about $700k to FIRE, I would bet 70K. If I hit, I saved 5+ years of working – if not, I only “lost” 6 months of working.

Now, if there were a series of successive flips, and I lost, I would simply raise my stake by $7k to offset the lost wager from the first round. In a successive series of losing flips, my wager would look like this: 70k, 77k, 84.7K, 93.2K, 102.5K. I could probably go about 6 flips before my net worth is exhausted, so I’d need a hit before that.

 

I was surprised that most readers were cautious. Like Mr. PoP mentioned, there is so much upside! Then, I read an article from Morgan Housel that explained it:

Most of you are focusing on the loss and not the gain.

 

What I’d Do

I have about $1,400,000 in savings. I can get by on $40,000 per year, so the 4% Rule states that I need $1,000,000. Given that buffer, I’d bet $200,000. If I lose, I don’t have to go back to work. If I win, my net worth goes up by $2,000,000. That is tremendous upside. I have no idea what I’d do with $3,400,000, but it certainly wouldn’t hurt.

And then I considered another scenario:

What if my savings were $100,000.

I’d bet the entire load. It would only take me a couple years to recoup the $100,000 if I lost, but to get from $100,000 to $1,000,000 could take decades. Again, it’s too much upside to ignore.

Anyway, I flipped a quarter which landed with George Washington looking at me. I would have lost. Bummer.

 

When Did you Discover the FI Movement?

MMM and JD Roth showed me the path to FI. Your turn:

  • When did you discover the FI movement?
  • Who was it that turned on the light?
  • What was your initial impression?
  • What have you done since?
  • Have you seen any cool dinosaurs lately?

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102 Responses to How did you discover the FI Movement?

  1. Slow Dad says:

    I’d just worked out the pending arrival of my second kid meant my existing financial plan wasn’t going to scale.

    Around the same time I heard JD Roth on some random podcast I had stumbled onto while searching for details on fixing a broken client website hosted on Bluehost. From memory I’d googled bluehost web hosting and landed on one of those awful “this is how you set up a personal finance blog in 5 minutes” posts.

    I gave it a listen, figured most of the “get rich from blogging” stuff the host was blathering on about was bullsh*t, but couldn’t so easily dismiss JD’s message.

    Researching that led me to the usual suspects: MMM, Jim Collins, AffordAnything. I’m not a fan of minimalism myself, but the rest of what they discussed held up pretty well to scrutiny.

    A few years on I’m FI myself.

    According to my kids, the only dinosaur around here is me!

    • “I’m not a fan of minimalism myself, but the rest of what they discussed held up pretty well to scrutiny.”

      Nothing wrong with that. As long as your choices are mindful and you’re aware of the tradeoffs, you should live in a way that makes you happy.

  2. I discovered FI first back as a teenager, reading The Wealthy Barber, where the barber (Roy) was financially free due to his smart living, saving, and investing. He was still a barber but he didn’t need to work anymore-he did it for fun. It was cemented through Your Money Or Your Life, by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robins. I wasn’t interested in trading my life energy for dollars any longer than I had to. So for me, MMM et. all. just reinforced my view that work you don’t like is something you do for a while to reach financial freedom, at which time you determine what you want to do next.

  3. I honestly didn’t really get on board with FIRE until August of last year. I have to confess before I started my blog I had never heard of FIRE. But I quickly got on bored and have been diligently working towards it since then. I think I have four years left before I hit FIRE unless the market totally implodes.
    Mustard Seed Money recently posted…What Do Rich People Drive?My Profile

    • The Roamer says:

      Wow that’s amazing that you only have 4 years left even though you just got on the FIRE bandwagon. You must have been very good with your money even before hand.

      As for me I don’t remember the exact month I discovered FIRE but I do know that it was thanks to the Dough Roller’s interview of MMM. In March of 2014 I started my blog so it was before then.

      Paying off my student debt was always a goal for me and MSN was the main page when I got on the internet at work. There I found a retirement calculator that I reverse engineered on excel to calculate how long it would take me to pay off my debt and ran lots of scenarios. Then I started reading all the MSN money articles and after reading Liz Westons stuff multiple times I noticed the recommended links and that is how I stumbled on to the interview of MMM by the Dough Roller.

      The light bulb moment for me didn’t happen until I read MMM’s simple math post. Then I started talking about MMM a bunch reading an article here and there to Mr. Roamer. I will say we weren’t on the path to FI until both of us were on board. I know we were both on board when we decided to start dropping Ludicrously large amounts of our savings into our debt. ( Mr. 1500 this is a great post idea might just expand this answer into a full post)

      What have we done since then? Paid off over 100k of student and car loan debt. And built up our next worth to over 200K. That’s 300k of difference in 3 years. We are pretty happy with the progress.

      We aren’t as focused as some people, we still let money drip out of our wallets but we think we are moving along at a fast enough pace. We could get really hardcore and do better I am sure. But so far even with our current relaxed mode, retirement at 40 is within our reach.
      The Roamer recently posted…Capsule 5: Summer, No purchase necessaryMy Profile

  4. Adam says:

    I was lying outside on the swing seat reading on my iPad, and somehow found MMM… possibly from a FB link. It was like a bolt of lightning (or a punch in the face). One of those moments where you know the world just changed and won’t be the same again.

    That night I went over my previous year spending and was amazed at the waste, for example 10K just on restaurants. Next day I cancelled cable tv, changed my insurance, and set about redesigning our life and tracking spending to the point we now have a saving rate north of 70%.

    As a 40 year old when I found it, i’m the dinosaur but after 1.5 years of this we are on track to retire before 50.

    • I love it that you took immediate action.

      “As a 40 year old when I found it, i’m the dinosaur but after 1.5 years of this we are on track to retire before 50.”

      Nothing wrong with that. Most never discover it and judging by the comments on major finance sites, FI is often rejected or quickly dismissed when discovered.

  5. I discovered FI one day in college. I don’t know how I got there but I stumbled upon MMM and the rest, they say, is history. It was the perfect time. I had one full semester left before graduation and was just about ready to head to my internship.

    My initial impression was woah! I don’t HAVE to work until I’m 65!?! Awesome!!

    Since then I’ve saved almost $150k, started a blog about it, met a ton of really cool people and was inspired to start my own portfolio of rental properties. All of this was done myself and on a salary of about $65-70k a year.

    Last time I saw a cool dinosaur was probably at the Chautauqua when I hung out with Jim Collins. Just kidding! Haven’t seen any cool dinosaurs lately :/

    • jlcollinsnh says:

      Cool dinosaur??!!!

      How dare….

      Let me tell you…

      Oh, wait.

      Damn.

      The Field Museum just called. I have to go now and get back up on my stand next to Sue…

  6. Nina says:

    The spark began when I leafed through a book in Barnes and Noble one day called Flipping Burgers to Flipping Millions by Bernard Kelly. I started reading more books on the subject but really dove in one afternoon when I ran across a funny named blog called Mr. Money Mustache. I loved it and read from start to finish. This has led me to many more sites (including 1500 days) and tons of powerful ideas and information. It’s been life changing. Oh, and I guess this proves there is power in zany names. 🙂

  7. Count me as a bit of an exception I guess. I didn’t discover the FI movement until around the time I started my blog in September of last year. However my plans have not changed significantly since getting involved. My big change, I wrote about recently, was driven by my own poor choices. I guess you could say I sort of stumbled on the same principals simply by a mix of recovering from poor choices and good influences like my wife. I do vaguely remember a friend back in 2010 mention the movement to me, but honestly I never followed up at the time. Until recently I’d never even read most of the Millionare next door type of books, preferring Finance reading more along the Wall Street Journal lines. It has been nice to find those with a similar mindset.
    FullTimeFinance recently posted…The Cost of Failure is usually less then the cost of not trying.My Profile

  8. I was 21, on my way to 22. Finishing up my master’s. Money was super tight, so I started researching budgeting, etc. I found punch debt in the face and then found retire by forty. Crazy how just wanting to learn about budgeting, I found out about so much more. Then, I turned 22 started working at corporate America and did not waste all my cash.

  9. Lovin’ the dino-rawrs!

    It’s sort of funny how I fell into the FIRE. I was part of a professional society in college and they had invited a speaker to talk about financial independence. He told us how to create passive income, how to keep our expenses low, and that the true definition of wealth was living below your means.

    I thought that guy was f#$%*ing nuts and I refused to listen to him. I assumed FI was for trust fund babies and people who got lucky in the stock market.

    It wasn’t until I was out of college and newly married that I changed my tune. Mr. Picky Pincher and I were in so much debt that we couldn’t even buy a house. This turned to frustration and we were desperate for a way out.

    Aaaaand that’s how I ended up reading EVERY post ever written by Mr. Money Mustache. I’d say it worked. 🙂
    Mrs. Picky Pincher recently posted…What A Frugal Weekend! April 23My Profile

    • “I thought that guy was f#$%*ing nuts and I refused to listen to him. I assumed FI was for trust fund babies and people who got lucky in the stock market.”

      Ha ha, I was skeptical too. I thought MMM was full of shit at first glance. But then I read the numbers which don’t lie.

  10. Mr. SSC says:

    I came across it thru Mrs. SSC finding MMM’s blog like you did – bad day at work and a few google searches later she had a plan together. Although prior to that her original investment plan had us FI at 45, so we were already doing something right.

    My initial reaction to her was “I’ve lived off $25k/yr, it sucks, there’s nothing fun about it!” I was not on board, to say the least. It took me about 6 years before it clicked and I realized we wouldn’t be quitting our cushy oil jobs to “live in a van down by the river”. We had been living pretty comfortably on ~$50k/yr when you subtracted out the things we wouldn’t be spending on in our post-work life. It took us watching our mindless spending and then cutting it out altogether. Being more deliberate with our money allowed us to save almost $24k extra per year. Sickening when I look back on how much we piseed away. Or as I used to say to Mrs. SSC, “Hey, let’s go out and stimulate the economy!”

    Since I did get on board with it, we’ve gotten our investments over $1mil and are 2 yrs out from FI. We are under contract to buy a lot out in Canyon Lake area and start building in a year or so.

    The last cool dinosaur I’ve seen was a nice dino-track museum around Canyon Lake. They found some awesome sets of dino-tracks in the limestone and have them preserved so you can check them out. No real dino bones though. 🙁
    Mr. SSC recently posted…Phase 1 of the Lifestyle Change Begins: We’re Buying Some Land!My Profile

    • Ha, I don’t stimulate the economy much anymore either! I’m fine letting others do that.

      Canyon Lake! We may come down there before FinCon. Just added it to my list. Thanks!

  11. Libby says:

    I discovered the FI movement this past fall. I stumbled on a Frugalwoods post and went deep, deep, deep into the archives and read everything on the site. It was a huge lightbulb moment for me. I’ve never been a big spender, but it was like I had permission to stop spending on the things I didn’t care about, and start setting ambitious goals.

    I like that everyone’s journey looks a bit different, but reading everyone’s stories has been honestly life-changing for me and has got me thinking about what I want my life to look like (which certainly doesn’t involve working till 65!).

    • Frugalwoods! I think they are my favorite story! They seemed to have done everything just right and are really nice people. And every time I visit their site, I have a strong urge to move to Vermont…

  12. Danny says:

    I think discovering the FI community was a slow and steady progression for me. As a kid I would always put my money from work into an old SlimFast can, my parents surprisingly opened up about their investments with me as a teenager and showed me how to invest (the right and wrong ways at times as I would later discover), and my roommate in college introducing me to the Richest Man in Babylon. It wasn’t until 2012 when I discovered Joe at No More Harvard Debt which would ultimately lead me down the FI path. From there I found MMM, Jim Collins, your website and countless others which are all wonderful. Definitely one of the better life decisions I ever made 🙂

    • Wow, it’s awesome that your parents showed you the way. I wonder what percentage of people even know rudimentary investing. I suspect that it’s a small percentage of the population.

      • Danny says:

        You’re definitely right…I was very lucky, and I plan on sitting down my kids someday for the investment talk, and hopefully not boring them. Also, yeah I agree about the small percentage of people knowing about investing. It’s amazing how shocked, and happy, people get when I talk about the simplicity of index investing. Solving rudimentary investing one person at a time 🙂

  13. I discovered FI in the spring of 2014 when I had just moved to NYC. People had been telling me that I’d go broke in NYC since no one can afford it. I thought this was stupid. People don’t have cars and can walk everywhere and there is tons of free entertainment. Why is everyone who moves there broke? So I got on the internet and stumbled upon Financial Samurai and I think the comments there led me to MMM, ERE, yourself, and others. From then on I figured not only was I not going to go broke in NYC, I was going to chart a course to retire before 40.
    Fervent Finance recently posted…To Buy or Not to BuyMy Profile

  14. Kyle says:

    It was summer 2013, I had graduated college a couple years earlier and just landed a new Engineering job and bought a small house. A month after purchasing the house, I ran across some website that played random comedic videos one after the other and I’m rolling in laughter so I kept the videos coming, suddenly a non funny, short video came up with an interview of the man himself, Mr. Money. Mustache. Explaining how he retired at 30. I was already a dude that saved a lot, and suddenly MMM and his partner in crime, Jim Collins’, weaponized my stash to destroy a future of working till’ death.
    He made a lot of sense and my first Impression was, “Hell Yes”. I’m All In. And soon that was all I talked about.

    I’m moving a bit slower as I don’t make tons of cash, but I went from maybe $10,000 in savings and no retirement plan to I should pass $100,000 this year mostly in retirement accounts. I have been maxing out my retirement accounts, I should be opening my first standard investment account this year as the next step. The future is bright.

    I saw dinosaurs at the Milwaukee Public Museum recently, but Toppling Goliath and their PsuedoSue/ King Sue make me want to check out the dinosaurs at the Field Museum.

    • That’s awesome that you stumbled on it!

      And I’m happy to see King Sue any day of the week. Thanks so much for hooking me up with that. I’m going to return the favor in August.

  15. Yaacov says:

    In Israel we have Hasolidit (hasolidit.com) who is the equivalent of ERE. There was a weekend story about her in the paper, and in a smaller box on the page there was a short snipet about MMM, which was ripe for my picking his site up for massive consumption.

  16. I have been reading early retirement extreme since its inception in 2007/2008.

    Jacob is this genius type who knows a lot about different things, and I was attracted to his writing.

    The other favorite blogs I have are My Money Blog from Jonathan Ping and Lazy Man and Money. The idea of passive income is very powerful for me. The idea of dividends being passive income, and paying for expenses was so powerful that it inspired my strategy, and have been doing it for almost a decade now.

    Before that, in the early 2000s I read the story of of one investor called Gary Smith who wanted to just be an independent investor and march to the tune of his own beat. He left his job at 49 or 50 to just be an independent trader/investor. He is the real deal – most others who claim to be good investors are just hype merchants who are trying to sell something.
    Dividend Growth Investor recently posted…Seven Companies Giving Their Owners A RaiseMy Profile

  17. In April 2012 I was hanging out on the north shore of Oahu, waiting for Mrs. Pop to finish her marathon when I used my blackberry (!) and started googling ways to get out of the rat race.

    I found Early Retirement Extreme, read the whole thing that night and was off to the races. YMOYL and Millionaire Next door were helpful.

    The only dinosaur I’ve seen lately was the blackberry in this story.

  18. I’d been reading Get Rich Slowly for a year or two before JD sold the site. Once JD left GRS, it seemed to be targeting a more generic audience.

    Then, my dad sent me an email on my birthday in 2012.
    Subject: “Good site, crossfit family”
    Body: http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/

    And then I was HOOKED. We were just about to have a baby at the time, paid off all of my loans within 2 months of that, and then started tracking net worth in March 2013. We’ve grown our ‘stache 450% since then.

    I don’t stay as in touch with all of the FI community as much as I used to due to life and work, but I’m OK with that.

    We’re still saving a lot and I’m pretty much on track for FI at 40. In the mean time, I’m thinking about potentially lengthening that by taking a pay cut at some point. We’ll see.

  19. I hatched my evil plan in the summer of 1998 while I was still in undergrad. There were no FI bloggers at the time. People told me I was crazy (they were right). I put in place a 10 year plan. I like to say I “failed well” because it took me 14 years. Included in that were a couple of long periods of unemployment, one due to Enron blowing up the Houston economy and one to take care of my terminally ill mother. I still made it.

    I discovered blogging before the FI movement. I took a course by Paula Pant of Afford Anything that introduced me to some FI bloggers. It was great to finally find my tribe.
    Financial Velociraptor recently posted…Friday Expiries: NAP, AFSI, SHOPMy Profile

    • I like your style FV! It’s incredibly cool that you figured it out on your own. It seems so obvious in retrospect, but I have no idea if I ever would have stumbled on FI without the help of others.

  20. Mr. Tako says:

    I guess I was into FIRE long before it ever had the name FIRE… maybe back as early as 2000 or 2001.

    I was reading a lot of investment books back then, and was having a rocky time with employment. Having success or failure in life because of an employer just didn’t sit right with me, so I sought financial independence long before I ever knew to call it that.

    Much much later I learned about guys like MMM and JD Roth… but by then I was already worth half a million dollars.
    Mr. Tako recently posted…What Gets MeasuredMy Profile

  21. Acastus says:

    The risk comes from the 50% chance of failure. Even though the upside is high, the chance of failure is high. If I could flip 10 coins, and have the same payout for each of them, I would bet 10% of my nest egg on each. Then, unless I am Rosencrantz and Guildenstern (look up Tom Stoppard), I will come up heads at least twice and double my money.

  22. Joe says:

    I discovered ER through Jacob at Early Retirement Extreme. This was around 2010. My job was getting really stressful and I hated it. I was thinking about getting a new job, but Jacob gave me another option. We already lived modestly so it wasn’t a huge adjustment. Anyway, I started Retire by 40 soon after and the rest is history. The internet is awesome. 🙂

  23. Miss Mazuma says:

    It is so hard for me to pinpoint who I read first but I’m pretty sure it was Zen Habits that lead me to J.D. which lead me to MMM. Either way, it was MMMs post on the Shockingly Simple Math that spurred me to join the FI movement with laser focus on a 75% savings rate. I love my job but would love more to have the option to retire early if I so choose. From there, it was because of J (Budgets Are Sexy) that I decide to start writing and posting my net worth which has made the journey so much more lovely having all you nice PF blogging peeps to chat with! Its insane to me that my blog isn’t yet a year old but I chat with my PF friends more often than my real life ones. This community is amazing and I am so grateful I stumbled upon it. I

    Oh, though I haven’t seen any dinasours lately, I did visit my grandma last week. She is 93, former marine, and still lives alone…that counts, doesn’t it?.
    Miss Mazuma recently posted…That Says a Lot About You.My Profile

  24. Ms. Liz says:

    After a particularly crappy day at work, I googled “Can I Retire Yet?” and found caniretireyet.com, Darrow led me to other FI sites and I eventually found MMM, the Mad Fientist, JL Collins and You!

    I started writing financial articles for my company’s intranet to dovetail with the company’s benefits and wellness programs. I was encouraging people to increase their 401k contributions and get their financial house in order. My research allowed me to read all this fun FI stuff on company time!

    Oh and the answer to Can I Retire Yet? was Yes! So last spring, I did!

    I had some time on my hands and my former colleagues were missing my articles so I started to blog.

    I spend the winter in the desert and the summer in the mountains. I love retirement!

  25. Steven says:

    I would say I first came across FI reading MMM and ERE, but honestly I thought they were full of s***, I was probably writing jerk face comments like a Yahoo finance article that didn’t fit my white snowflake exact situation and everything is impossible. I also take a very long time to believe people and agree with new ideas & trends. Didn’t like Apple because everyone else did, thought the G Wagon was a great looking vehicle and then every douchey person I dislike was seen buying one. I like to take things all in and scream that they are terrible before making a decision if they are good or bad for me. Good news is I have changed from this passive aggressive behavior.

    As I have mentioned before, 1500 days helped “make me believe” the Awakening really hit home for me, mentions of real estate (my catalyst for FI), and being funny rather than smart (I swear that’s a compliment). Also Carl aka Crazy Carl from the Billy Madison movie, which is my first thought when I think of anyone named Carl was a pretty real person who was honest online and in person, probably why people hang around the blog……….maybe it’s the dinosaurs idk

    If I just read MMM or ERE, I would probably still be spitting doubt and objections like a lawyer on TV, but since I found 1500 days I became less of a jerk and got started on my FI path…….thanks Crazy Carl.
    Steven recently posted…Real Estate Just Got RealMy Profile

    • Thanks for the kind comments Steven! And I have no personality, it’s really all the dinosaurs. They have been asking for more money though and negotiations have stalled. The DAG (Dinosaur Actors Guild) is even threatening a strike. I could be in trouble.

  26. Michelle says:

    I discovered FI in fall 2013, after I graduated from university with a masters degree. My main job prospect fell through, so I was trying readjust all of my career and financial plans. Somehow, I stumbled upon MMM and FIRE. My initial impressions from MMM was that there was NO WAY I would achieve FI: I was working seasonal jobs or for non-profits, I’m not an engineer, don’t make enough money, etc. so the whole thing was super unattainable. Luckily, I kept searching for personal finance advice/inspiration and discovered other blogs like Budgets are Sexy, 1500 days, Frugalwoods, and Afford Anything, which changed my thinking. You and other blogs made reaching FI seem like an actual possibility. I now have my YNAB buffer (1-month’s salary), a $1k emergency fund, I contribute 5% to my 403b, and I plan on contributing another 5% to an IRA this year. As Paula Pant recommends, I’m trying to grow the gap between my income and spending, by spending less and gaining skills so I can get a better paying job next year.

    So, I’m glad that kept searching for other personal finance bloggers (special shot out to 1500 days and Afford Anything), that are helping me on my journey towards FI. Even if I don’t get there until I’m 60, its still great to be on a better financial path. As for dinosaurs, I saw some great paintings of them at Artomatic this weekend, as well as an awesome portrait of Warren Buffett: https://www.instagram.com/p/BS652zml7Bx/

    • Michelle-

      I love your attitude. I can tell by the way you think that you’re going to do a lot better than you think you will. Little tweaks early on pay huge dividends down the road. You’re going to be just fine.

      Love the Buffett painting! I need that!!

  27. It was late 2014, and I happened upon a Marketwatch article detailing the life of a certain personal finance blogger. The name escapes me, but I recall it rhymed with Sister Bunny Lust Rash.

    A couple months later, I was feeling disenchanted studying for a lame recertification exam, and I wondered if I would be doing it all over again in 10 years. I decided to find out more from that SBLR site, and I devoured its contents. I realized that the numbers qualified me as FI already, a decade into my career, and that I had options.

    Later, I discovered 1500days, Retire by 40, Root of Good, Financial Samurai, etc… I recently decided to take advantage of my part time status by dropping 40% of my shifts to work part time. RE will happen eventually.

    Cheers!
    -PoF

  28. Mrs. BITA says:

    In 2016 I discovered credit card churning. I started hanging out at /r/churning. On one slow /r/churning day I decided to check out their ‘related subs’ and got to /r/personalfinance. /r/financialindependence was then one short click away. I devoured blogs like a very, very hungry hippo. Then I did some math, and discovered that I could retire when I turned 42.

    42.

    If that wasn’t a sign from the universe, I don’t know what is.
    Mrs. BITA recently posted…Your Life: Off the Shelf or Made to Order?My Profile

  29. Stockbeard says:

    I think I found out about Jacob from ERE first. Read his book, and got discouraged: this thing wasn’t for me, too much sacrifice involved for a family man, especially with my wife not on board at the time. But I still hated my job so much that I wanted to believe another way was possible, so I kept digging, and ultimately found MMM, which showed me there was a way to make it happen while still being a spendypants (compared to ERE standards).

    The interesting part in the process to me was that I didn’t know of words such as “financial independence”, so my initial google searches where more along the lines of “how much do I need to retire?”, which yielded very typical BS answers such as “you need 80% of your salary every year”. I had zero financial clue, so I remember my first numbers were depressing, along the lines of “I need 80% of my annual salary, multiplied by the amount of years I still have to live. Oh, crap”.
    Stockbeard recently posted…Can you retire on 1.5 million?My Profile

    • LazySod says:

      Oh boy, I know what you mean… it took me 2 years of wrong google searches until I found this stuff ! Our society is not ready for FIRErs.

      • I think about this all of the time too. There is loads of conventional bullshit, but dig a little deeper and you’ll find unconventional gold.

        I’m so happy that all of this information is out there waiting to be devoured.

  30. LazySod says:

    When did you discover the FI movement? Early this year
    Who was it that turned on the light? GoCurryCracker, MMM and you
    What was your initial impression? “Why did not I think about that before ?”
    What have you done since? Calculations, calculations…
    Have you seen any cool dinosaurs lately? No

  31. B says:

    Tim Ferriss -> MMM -> other bloggers

  32. AndrewENZ says:

    About two years ago. However only recently did the maths and discovered I was accidentally FI. Haven’t RE’d yet as I quite enjoy my job (teaching at a University).

  33. JC says:

    Oddly enough I found the concept of FI while being out of work. I was laid off and struggling to find another job, this was in 2009. While the first few months were really frustrating the rest of my time out of work was awesome. I started focusing on other things that interested me and started exercising a lot more and found out that I really enjoy learning about money/investing… That’s when I used Mr. Google to see what else there was out there because I wanted to keep my laid off lifestyle, but by choice. Google pointed me to MMM and Dividend Mantra and I also happened to find a copy of Your Money or Your Life in the used book store which helped to solidify the concept that I wasn’t completely crazy to try and go for it, just your normal crazy. You just never heard that many stories about FIRE and I had never even met anyone that reached the promised land save for maybe their late 50s. It was the best lay(off) of my life!

    • I love this. Here’s why:

      I’ve had the opportunity to meet some incredible people as a result of this blog. Like everyone else, shit happens to them. The difference is that these folks always seem to find a way to turn the experience into something positive.

      I love that being laid off turned into a positive!

  34. Miss Piggy says:

    I discovered FI better chance from a Business Insider article about the Mad FIentistbwho retired in his early 30s. From there I followed his podcast, listened to all his podcasts from the start to most recent in 2 weeks and then followed and researched all the people he interviewed. From there I’ve been obsessed with FI! At the same time I was being made redundant from my job and work was a drag so was all the more motivating to jump on the FI bandwagon. Never had heard the term FIRE before or how FIRE could be achieved in ways other than starting your own business. So eye-opening. Now I love reading and following everyone’s stories including yours!

    Xx Miss Piggy
    https://theearnestaddiction.wordpress.com/

  35. Kale says:

    When did you discover the FI movement? My new job offered an HSA. I’d never heard of an HSA so in researching I came across the Mad Fientist’s blog which had that fantastic retirement spreadsheet and a link to MMM where I read his end of year spending breakdown.
    Who was it that turned on the light? MMM I’d never heard of a regular person entering retirement so early and without a random unattainable life event (lotto, Wall Street mogul, silver spoon).
    What was your initial impression? Curious and eager to learn how I could do the same I did not want to work just to pay the bills I wanted to work to feed my spiritual creative side.
    What have you done since? Organized my financial life, setup investment accounts, and continued to learn others ideas on money thru blogs, podcasts, reading, etc.
    Have you seen any cool dinosaurs lately? Found you thru Mad Fi’s podcast, I’m slowly making my way thru your blogs archive and enjoying the one’s popping up in your posts.

  36. Tracyl5 says:

    My first step on the path occurred in 2007 when I started working for a strange company that wouldn’t give me enough work to keep me busy, they actually told me to go surf the internet for a bit! So I did, and I think it was a MSN article that led me to Boston Gal’s Open Wallet (what happened to her?) and that old net worth tracking website. I had never tracked my net worth before, but started then, and it was interesting reading about all the other people who were tracking. I used to post under DebtFree_NowWhat, because I didn’t know what to do once I got out of debt! It was slow going for a while after that, I continued to track my net worth and up my contributions to my 401K until I maxed out. But then my cash was really starting to pile up! I was thinking there HAD to be something better than it sitting in a bank account making .05%! I did open an ING account in 2009, which made a little more interest, but still… So I just keep searching (obviously not using the proper search terms) and reading articles… In 2014, I finally saw an article on Motley Fool about the steps to investing in a brokerage account and about index funds. Aha! I opened a Sharebuilder account with ING. Then I started to know the right search terms and was searching about index funds when that led me to an article about GoCurryCracker! and in turn, JLCollins, MMM, MadFientist, and you! We’ve grown our investments 170% since 2014, but I wish I had found one of you YEARS earlier! But I’m still hoping we’ll be able to FIRE in 2021 or 2022.

    We actually live where Jurassic Park was filmed, but the dinosaurs must all be in hiding :o)

    • “…but I wish I had found one of you YEARS earlier!”

      I know, right! I wish I would have known when I was 7 instead of 37! Better late than never since most never stumble on it or reject it when they do.

      Jurassic Park! Nice. I bet they’re just nocturnal these days so they don’t attract attention…

  37. Jason says:

    I discovered FI probably in early 2014. I began reading a lot of blogs on personal finance, but had always liked talking about money. So my wife got sick of me tired of me talking about it and said do something about it.

    February 2013 I looked at our financial situation and got scared. I then set a course to pay more debt and save more.

    I need to something now.

    I have paid off $80,000 in debt, refinanced my mortgage from a 15 year to a 12 year loan and received a 2.875 interest rate. Maxed out my retirement savings for the first time and have a clearer path to FI. I might not make it as early as some people, but I plan to see this through to the end.

    Ironically, I have. My sister was in Rapid City, SD for a basketball tournament and took pictures of the dinosaur park there.

  38. Very interesting, I think we all start our own FI journey for one reason or another. For me it was not wanting to work for roughly 50 years and then being “allowed” to enjoy life. Why do we have to work that hard for that long. Work harder now and then I don’t have to work for so long.

  39. JJNL says:

    I discovered the FIRE movement almost 2 years ago. A Dutch lifestyle blog I regularly read did an article on personal finance, and linked to MMM. I read his whole archives and had a lightbulb moment: I had never heard about the possibility of FIRE before, and sort of just assumed in my head it wasn’t possible – everybody I know who retired early in the Netherlands did so through formal early(ish) pension deals in their collective labour agreements letting them get out as early as 55. Those have all been abolished just after I started working – due to our aging society they had become unaffordable, so I assumed I would be stuck working until the official retirement age (now 67). I was still sceptical to begin with, because due to higher taxes and lower salaries it is definitely harder to reach FI in the Netherlands – I literally don’t know anybody with a six figure salary, including the software and other engineers I know. I started reading a lot more FI blogs, and since then I have stumbled across quite a few Dutch bloggers working towards FI. It was very encouraging to know that I wasn’t the only one wanting to get out early out here, and it actually looks possible now – although it would really help if I were to find a better paying job :). But I do already have my first result: I am taking 6 months of unpaid leave this year to hike the Continental Divide Trail, and that would never have been possible had I not curbed my spending and upped my savings thanks to MMM’s financial chairleg of truth approach! That trip is going to serve as an FI preview, and a motivator to look for a higher paying job after I get back.

    • Continental Divide hike! How awesome is that?

      This is awesome:

      “That trip is going to serve as an FI preview, and a motivator to look for a higher paying job after I get back.”

      I wish that I would have been more like you instead of the FI Death March that I lived…

      • JJNL says:

        Really? I always feel like total wuss when I read your blog and I feel guilty about progressing a LOT slower than you ever did – I guess the grass really is always greener on the other side of the fence :). TBH, I am just not disciplined or motivated enough to do an FI Death March, for me that would just cut too much fun out of my life. My (admittedly very rough) outline of a plan is more of a glide path towards FI: find a job that pays more so I can up my savings rate, find a good side hustle as a back-up and then work towards a situation where I can work on a project basis and only need to work 6 months out of every year in order to cover my expenses. Friends of mine have managed to achieve that, they alternate working hard on interesting projects with really long hiking trips – that sounds like a good and very achievable plan to me. That means my savings rate will not be the 60 0r 70% needed to achieve FI fast, but it would mean having a lifestyle I actually wouldn’t mind keeping up for another 20 years.

        • ” I always feel like total wuss when I read your blog and I feel guilty about progressing a LOT slower than you ever did…”

          My FI Death March came out of a place of insecurity. It I was better adjusted, I would have done it differently.

          Life is good now and it’s ridiculous to spend too much time rehashing the past, so let’s live it up from here on out!

  40. Jess says:

    For me, I should have known about FI because my Dad retired at age 52. He told me about paying yourself first and low cost index funds. But largely I didn’t start really focusing on saving for retirement and getting everything together until my late 20s when I got my first corporate job and made enough money to cover all my bills each month! Once that happened I finally had a 401k and got on board 100%.

    In my early 30s my hubby and I got serious, and although we may be FI sooner, I plan on retiring in 10 years at age 50. Its not as early as most FI blogs, but that’s ok eith us, as that is what works for our family and where we choose to live. I started reading about FI online with JD Roth and now I read almost all the other FI blogs others mention.

    We took a vacation last summer to Pittsburgh, and saw lots of Dinos in the museums there. I highly recommend going to any of the Carnegie museums.

  41. I first started reading about FIRE from MMM and from there I have been led to great blogs such as yours. The early retirement movement has completely changed my perspective on life for the better. Thanks for the post!

  42. Kate says:

    I discovered the FI movement from MMM and JD Roth back in 2010 when I was losing my job and had no idea how we were going to pay the mortgage. Unfortunately, I am no where near where you are in closeness to FI (we work in lower paying education), but we have paid off over $200k in debt in student loans, cars, and got rid of an underwater townhouse to now work toward FI in the next 10 years. Keep sharing what you’re doing, it’s inspiring for sure!

  43. Brian says:

    Friday, August 12, 2016.

    Last August my wife and I realized that we hadn’t met with our financial planner in a couple years so it was probably time to do that again. We also realized that in 9 more years she would have 30 years of service with the state and could retire with a full pension.

    On August 10th we met with the financial planner. I realized I wanted to retire at the same time my wife did.

    On August 11th the Wash. Post ran an article on a local family with 13 children and how they were planning to send them all to college, were living debt free, and had plans to retire early. I thought to myself, “how in the hell is that possible?” The article mentioned the concept of FIRE, so I googled it and the first result was the Reddit page.

    On August 12th I sent this email to my wife:

    “Morning dear – hope you’re having a good day.

    Meeting with the financial advisor and reading that article about the family with 13 kids has me thinking about saving more, earning more (not necessarily through my job, but that would be fine too). The article mentioned the concept of financial independence/retire early (FI/RE).

    Here’s a page that is a clearing house of resources on the subject:

    https://www.reddit.com/r/financialindependence/comments/3dm8yc/meta_read_this_before_posting/ There’s a list of blogs on the right side of the page. One is called ‘Mr. Money Mustache’ I’m going to be reading up on some of this when I can.”

    Suffice to say my mind was blown. After reading just a few MMM posts I knew we would be pursuing FI.

    On Dinosaurs:

    My son was sick yesterday so I stayed home with him and we watched one of the new MST 3Ks on Netflix – The Beast of Hollow Mountain. It’s a combination western/monster movie and it is terrible. The monster turns out to be some sort of T.Rex-like thing. The best scene is when the monster eats a long-horned steer, conveniently available on youtube as 1:09 clip:

    • Brian, your story is awesome! Like you, I’m damn thankful that I ran into MMM.

      I laughed my ass off at that clip. Did that actually scare anyone?

      • jlcollinsnh says:

        those cowboys looked pretty scared, before they got trampled anyway.

        that dino was probably trying to save them from those damn cows. Too bad he was a slow eater…

  44. Smilin' Joe says:

    In 2012 I hiked the Appalachian Trail, the whole thing, in one go. It changed my life like nothing ever has. I like to say I “ruined” myself in a good way ;). We’re not supposed to step aside and get a taste of the good life while we’re still in our working years. I did just that, and 4.5 months I felt liberated, free, like I discovered something I wasn’t supposed to… When I got home (got married, went on a 5 week long road trip honeymoon) I started to really think about how I wanted to live my life. A 40 year zombie career, leased cars, expensive shackl..er mortgage were not what I envisioned.

    I was actually very depressed for several months because I was struggling with the idea that I HAD to do all that stuff… or just become a complete hiking bum and a loser. I started googling “cool jobs, fulfilling life, work, life balance, happiness,” and a bunch of other stuff. And first came across Chris Guillebeau. It was here that I learned all about travel hacking, and that started me on the trajectory of this whole path. I took a few trips for almost nothing, met some cool travelers (from other countries of course) that had it all figured out. I knew what I wanted to do… get out ASAP.

    I sat down to do taxes in 2014 when I was working a contract job and had to pay a ton in taxes because I didn’t set aside any money. I heard rumors of this IRA thing that could help me save money on taxes… Long story long, I maxed out both of our IRAs right there and saw right before my eyes how much it helped our tax burden. Done.

    We now live in an RV in a 55+ community, rent is ~$300/month, I have no car (bike 13 mi each way to work), cook meals at home, max out 401K, IRAs, family HSA, and have no debt (home included). I want to quit in 3.5 years when I turn 33 to live the good life I lived while I was on the trail.

    Blogs like yours help us to stay motivated. When no one around us lives the same way, thinks you’re weird cuz you don’t buy a house, bike everywhere, share one old car, etc… it helps to know there is a small group out there that gets it! And this encouragement is a very powerful force. Thank you for all of your contributions, and keep up the excellent writing here.

    -Smilin’ Joe (my trail name)

    • Joe, thanks for the kind words, but I’m the one who owes you. You’re far better adjusted than I ever will be. I wouldn’t have had the balls to take a break from life and hike the AT. However, I think experiences like this are something everything should consider. It changed the lens in which you view life. How incredible is that?

  45. TheCatInTheHat says:

    When did you discover the FI movement?
    May 2016
    Who was it that turned on the light?
    Mr. 1500 days
    What was your initial impression?
    What the hell have I been doing with my life? I’m so far behind!!!!!
    What have you done since?
    I have completely restructured my investments, completely halted wasteful spending, and got my girlfriend to get an awesome vanguard account.
    Have you seen any cool dinosaurs lately?
    I saw a lady wearing a shirt at a brewery (Copper Kettle) that said “Dino Sour”, does that count?

  46. MrWoW says:

    So, hmmm how did I come across FI…

    Well, it had to be about 2013, I had no idea about any investing or anything I just knew that you put money in the market and it grows, then you have more in the future.

    I came into a fairly decent chuck of cash a few years prior and took the advice of my father to invest it with a financial guy that he knew. Dad put all of my sister’s and my money with him when we were kids. So, I blindly handed him the cash, and never thought twice about it.

    A two years later, I kept hearing about how the market was on fire and the indexes were doubling, and I looked at my account. It had grown like 7%, when the index was up about 80%. And the guy was charging me 1% plus transaction fees for all the trades and loads for all that great performance.

    I started thinking to my self… Well, shit, I can do better than that. So, I started researching what to do with the money and came across index investing… I think it was Collins, actually. From there, like Alice, I fell down the rabbit hole, eyes opening wider and wider the entire way down.

    I realized that I was basically at the same spot as a lot of these folks. It wasn’t anything I ever figured was possible, but looking at the math and understanding it, it sank in that it’s not only possible, but with a few adjustments, I’d be FI rather quickly (we were dating at the time).

    Started talking about it with the Mrs. She took a little convincing, but not much, and we were off to the races. We started optimizing everything and streamlining our finances, tracking, etc.

    I will say that you, Mr. 1500, were quite and inspiration because we were eerily similar, so thanks for that!

  47. Cindy says:

    In January 2016, husband, daughter and I spent three weeks driving around New Zealand in an RV. I say now that the trip “broke me.” When we returned I was obsessed with figuring out how to live my life differently. I found MMM and ERE; and was so happy to see there was a different way. After that we continued to fall deeper into the FI rabbit hole. As a physician, I was early in my career with a high salary but also very high debt; and a case of insanely high burnout already. I had spent most of my life living on a below average salary (or none at all) during college, med school, and residency. I realized that we were happier when our income was significantly lower. While we had already minimized any consumer debt; we then also put the brakes on spending, began actively tracking cash flow, put our investments in order, traded in the expensive car for something more financially sustainable, and paid off my entire medical student loan with one check (that was a very big payment, ouch). We had our awakening later than most people in this community, but not too late to halt our lifestyle inflation. We plan to break away in 2024.

    • “I say now that the trip “broke me.” When we returned I was obsessed with figuring out how to live my life differently.”

      I love this! Having a taste of the good life led you to the good life. Life is good.

  48. Noonan Moose says:

    When did you discover the FI movement?
    In 1996 when i read Your Money or Your Life (YMOYL) for first time.
    Who was it that turned on the light?
    Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin, authors of above.
    What was your initial impression?
    What a couple of deluded hippies!
    What have you done since?
    Read YMOYL 12+ more times and eventually came round to deluded hippies’ point of view. Tracked every penny spent since 1/1/1997. Retired completely on 07/31/2008 (which is 2+ years before MMM started blogging).
    Have you seen any cool dinosaurs lately?
    This morning when i looked in the mirror.

    • Love this:

      What was your initial impression?
      What a couple of deluded hippies!

      Hilarious!

      Have you seen any cool dinosaurs lately?
      This morning when i looked in the mirror.

      Ha ha!

  49. Divnomics says:

    Very good question, and evenly so comments!

    For us, it was not a moment of epiphany but rather a path that took some time. My boyfriend convinced me to get into investing together. I didn’t know anything back then and my first book on the subject was investing for dummies. For investing purposes, I stumbled on Dividend Mantra and found his detailed stock analyses. Of course, I also started to read his other articles, which led me to other books and blogs like MMM and Dividend Diplomats. It was only when we realized that we had to work until 71! before we could retire, we might give it a try as well. We’re now in the game for 2,5 years or so.

  50. Kyla Block says:

    Great question! It started with minimalism (Miss Minimalist, theminimalistmom, be more with less), zero waste (zero waste home), and I had read ERE, but didn’t connect with the site layout/story although I thought it was cool. Then saw MMM on the front page of the Washington Post and boom! The rest is history. I was a good saver and liked saving, but this catapulted me into examining my spending more closely. Minimalism made me think about my “stuff” and their role in my life and MMM made me think about my spending and it’s role in my life. That it could be used to buy time instead of stuff. And I liked his focus on simplicity which went along with minimalism and thinking about consumerism. And I met my husband who is on the same page and here we are, almost at the first million (excluding the house and the rental). This is all since 2010/2011. I found MMM probably in 2012. I love the movement that has sprung up and marvel all the time at what a prosperous country we live in. When you can find out what really matters and ignore the rest, it’s amazing how fast the money grows. The stock market returns don’t hurt either.

    • What a great comment!

      “This is all since 2010/2011. I found MMM probably in 2012.”

      It’s amazing how quickly it comes together once you get the stash in motion. For you, it hasn’t even been 10 years. Amazing!

      “When you can find out what really matters and ignore the rest, it’s amazing how fast the money grows.”

      Yep.

  51. My Wife and I stumbled across the concept of FI on our way back from a snowboarding trip to Big Sky; February 2014. It is a 16hr drive from Big Sky to Minneapolis so we were taking turns playing podcasts, of course I was picking financial casts. We were driving across ND when the Mad Fientsist came on, the episode where he interviews Billy and Akaisha from retireearlylifestyle. We were instantly hooked and have not looked back.
    The dinosaurs are still hibernating in Minnesota…snow in the forecast.
    LostinJourney recently posted…Off The Beaten Path in Mittenwald GermanyMy Profile

  52. Christian says:

    When did you discover the FI movement?
    12 months ago, after a *very* bad day at the office. Relentless 80 hour work weeks were an additional contributor.

    Who was it that turned on the light?
    I typed into a Google search : “Is it possible to retire before 40”. I expected absolutely nothing to come back, except for reasons why it’s not possible. Joe Udo’s “Retire by 40” popped up, based on the keyword search. To be possible to retire in your 30s was a lightbulb moment.

    Joe included links to other bloggers. I was soon reading FI Fighter (who I met up with later) and MMM. It gave me a lot of confidence in the science behind the emotion.
    I set March 31 2017 as my retirement date.

    What was your initial impression?
    Adrenaline rush! Weekends consumed by digesting every single FI blog I could find. Have been a saver and investor my whole life but this really tied everything together.

    I am still very much a junior in the FI space, and very grateful for the open sharing and advice of stories within the community. A humbling and wonderful experience.

    What have you done since?
    I retired around the same time as you, Mr 1500! I’m also 43. Have been retired for 2 weeks.

    Have you seen any cool dinosaurs lately?
    I live in Hong Kong. If they existed, they would have had a tenuous lifespan here. All forms of mammal, bird, and fish, tend to get eaten. 🙂

    • “I retired around the same time as you, Mr 1500! I’m also 43. Have been retired for 2 weeks.”

      I’ll toast you with a beer this weekend. Congratulations!!

  53. wendy says:

    I fell into the MMM FI rabbit hole in midFEB 2016 through some Random Act of Googling out of frustration with my life…
    I had about $400k in pretax accounts and was maxing out the 401k each year (~23% savings rate with company match), but retirement still seemed distant. Like several folks have mentioned, those stupid retirement calculators said I would need 3-4 MILLION DOLLARS to retire!! I’m single, no kids, no pets, don’t own a home – do I really need $4MM!?
    It just seemed so weird and demotivating – why cut out expenses and reduce random enjoyable things when that number seemed so unachievable? I had some stupid consumer debt and was helping out a family member financially but I didn’t feel motivated to change anything…
    Then I found MMM, had the duh epiphany, punched myself in the face, read every post and *immediately* started making changes (killed cable, sold the TV, cut the subscriptions, stopped eating out, started biking to work a few days a week, moved to a smaller & cheaper apartment, bought LED bulbs, etc. etc.). I just finished paying off my consumer debt and am building up an emergency fund and saving for Vanguard post tax index funds…I need something to live off of once I hit FI and I’m probably too old to ladder the pre-tax money.
    With all the changes, my savings rate will jump to about 70% starting next month! I’m late to the game as I’m already 46, but at least I have a pathway to hit FI in the next 5-8years (conservative estimate).
    Through MMM, I found ERE, Jim, MadFi, Frugalwoods, Paula, etc. and YOU of course. I really enjoy the variety of voices and perspectives in the community. I think hearing the same themes set to different tunes helps make it easier to relate to.
    Last dino visit was Sue at the Field Museum for my geeky birthday last year when I was in Chicago for a work trip.
    Please keep blogging and enjoy your FIRE

    • Wendy, I’m thrilled that you stumbled on rational media instead of the crazy-ass mainstream stuff. However, if you ever do achieve 4 million, feel free to send me some!

      I love your geeky birthday! I’ve seen Sue myself and she is spectacular!

  54. Mrs.Wow says:

    I can’t say that I stumbled upon the FI movement myself, rather certain articles were diligently and purposely sent to my inbox every so often by Mr.Wow, just often enough to catch my attention. When FI finally piqued my interest, I think it was you, Mr.1500 and Frugalwoods who caused me to jump on board. I had already been following a bunch of minimalism blogs so adding the $ part just fell right into place.

    I was definitely skeptical at first, since it seemed too good to be true. But honestly, when I found out that I could fulfill my dream to go travel and volunteer all over the world, I was hooked and never looked back.

    I would still consider myself a newbie in the FI world, really only catching the bug within the last year or so. In effort to join the community, we started out blog last October and have loved every minute of it. Plus, I’ve gotten to meet some really cool people so far and definitely looking forward to meeting even more at Chautauqua and FinCon.

    BTW, I am currently staring at some pretty cool Microsaurs as we speak!

  55. The usual suspect of MMM here too but I found that blog in quite an amusing way.

    My mum for some inexplicable reason loves comedy fake mustaches (or moustaches as we say in England) and all related paraphernalia (e.g. mugs with mustaches on them, etc…). Anyway I knew this so went to search for a silly Christmas present to buy her in late 2012 I think it was, so I googled something like: “Buy comedy fake moustache” and MMM was the top hit. I was intrigued by the name, I can’t tell you what post it actually was unfortunately but I was hooked after about 3 sentences and read through almost every post within a week, then moved onto ERE and all the other usual suspects.

    I guess I owe my mum a drink when I do reach FI, she can drink it through her novelty mustache straw 🙂

    Serendipity encapsulated there I think?
    theFIREstarter recently posted…what are our long term plans?My Profile

  56. CloserToFree says:

    It was the spring of 2013, when I was about five years into my law career (and planning to work until 65 – b/c who does anything else??). Someone forwarded me an article about MMM and the next thing you know I was completely obsessed. Devoured the entire blog in like a week. Then went on to find Go Curry Cracker, Frugalwoods, Your Money or Your Life, Root of Good, MadFientist, and others. Got my husband mostly on board and made a ton of changes to our spending habits (mostly mine, as DH is naturally pretty frugal) with very little actual impact on our lifestyle or happiness – cut out eating lunch out and going to Starbucks every day, dropping huge sums of money on ill-conceived shopping sprees (mostly clothes and shoes), and eating dinners out multiple times a week. Started biking to work and using our car much less. Tracked our spending and investments religiously, listened to a ton of FIRE-related podcasts, regularly read the above blogs (and discovered yours – yay!). Ended up tripling our stash from then until now (4 years later) to the point that we’re now about a year away from FIREing. If I hadn’t discovered MMM and the rest of the FI movement, we’d probably be well on our way to being a typical spendypants dual professional household in a HCOL area (think country club memberships, new cars, expensive but unnecessary home renovations, a designer wardrobe…ICK). Every day I thank my lucky stars that we avoided this fate. Big thanks to you and the other bloggers for sharing your personal stories and spreading the gospel!

    • “Every day I thank my lucky stars that we avoided this fate.”

      I know, right? Good on you for having a receptive mind and embracing the information. I used to tell folks about MMM and FI all the time, but they either couldn’t or wouldn’t grasp it. It’s frustrating because life is so much better this way.

  57. I went to a free retirement planning seminar at work when I was 23-24 and asked the adviser when I could retire. Her response wasn’t what I expected: “Whenever you want. Just pick a date and save towards it.” I told her 50. She then walked me through the differences between traditional and Roth IRAs and reviewed when I would actually have access to my 401k and social security. She told me that to retire at 50 I would have to do way more than the average person. I probably went home and started googling “how to retire early” and somehow stumbled down this amazing rabbit hole. I’m very analysis paralysis, so I’m currently working on calculating my FI number and age. 50 used to sound early, but now it sounds so late!

  58. W Miller says:

    Go Curry Cracker! I saw a link to a Forbes article on how a couple in their 30s retired and are traveling the world. It was a dream I never thought was possible. I mean, it would happen once I retired in my 60s. I read the article, then went to his blog and clicked on all the links to fellow FI bloggers. In a weekend I was hooked! Savings and spending budget revamped. It’s changed my life.

  59. SharonW says:

    I have a different path than most of the other commenters here. I used books only and didn’t find FIRE blogs until after I retired in 2014 (age 46)! It started in 1999 with Smart Women Finish Rich by Bach, followed by YMOYL. I didn’t like the YMOYL bond plan, but figured I could do the same with stock investing. Luckily, my husband and I are not natural spenders and were already saving about 40%, so we got to a good place fast enough. I wish I had found this community sooner; I would have made fewer mistakes!

    No dinosaurs, but my husband calls our birds little brown dinos.

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