Welcome to the Late Starter to FI series!
I am a Late Starter – I did not discover FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early) concept until I was 47. This was way later, I thought than others who seem to have it all together in their 20s and 30s.
Since I started to write about my own journey, I have discovered there are many more Late Starters like me, yay! It is such a relief knowing I am not alone.
I want to share our stories, our unique perspectives and show that it is absolutely not too late for us.
So in this series, I particularly highlight those of us who start our FI journeys in our 40s, 50s and 60s. And explore questions such as ‘where do we start’, ‘can we still retire early(ish)’, ‘what are the specific challenges for us late starters’. We look at our past, not to castigate ourselves but so that you can learn from us.
Please join in the conversation in the comments below. I encourage you to share your story if you fit the profile of a late starter. You absolutely don’t have to be a blogger or podcaster to share your story.
Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or connect with me on Twitter or Facebook or Instagram.
And if you’ve missed any of the previous stories, you can catch up here – Late Starter to FI series
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I first came across Bill while listening to the Earn and Invest podcast by Doc G (Jordan Grumet) – Episode 361 – The Consequences of Being Unconscious With Your Money.
A lot of what he shared resonated with me as a late starter – how backloading our finances is so much harder than frontloading it when younger. And the guilt of not being better with money earlier in life.
So I reached out to ask if he would share his story here. Thankfully he said yes!
You can reach Bill at two Facebook groups he administers – Catching Up to FI and Financial Literacy Project
And now over to Bill …
A little about me
My wife and I are reasonably high income physicians, in emergency medicine and psychiatry. We’re empty nesters now, in our late 50s and living in Tennessee after a long chapter in Chicago with our Aussie Labradoodles.
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The early years
Mistakes along the way
First steps on the path to FI
Can you wake up too late to catch up?
Our relationship with money has changed
Will we reach FI?
Back to Latestarterfire
Thank you so much, Bill for sharing your story.
“Lifestyle inflation was insidious and easy. Lifestyle deflation is much, much harder.”
This is so true and is a hard lesson for us late starters to learn. After years of living above our means or constantly upgrading our lifestyle because we’ve worked so hard to earn our money, it’s a shock to the system to have to tone it down.
Staying the course now is hard, I agree. Especially when you see many others in the community who are much younger retiring early. But I firmly believe that your time will come too. You’ve already made so much progress and being debt free will free up so much more to shovel into investments and savings.
I look forward to listening to your new podcast with Becky – Catching Up to FI. If there are any readers who’d like to participate in the podcast, please reach out to Bill. The more we share our stories, the more we spread the message that it’s never too late to take control of our finances and save for retirement.
3 Replies to “Late Starter to FI Series #36 – Catching Up to FI”
Thank your for publishing my story! As you do, I hope to inspire other late starters to spark their FIRE Journey even though the E may mean Eventually. Please join us at the two FB groups mentioned above and look for our podcast Catching up to FI in the near future. An intro episode is on Spotify and Sticher now. https://open.spotify.com/episode/5G1xkneT8DA99Oh2tsKL8H?si=2BjMBATbTBSRYUFfkFrc_g
Bill, I can feel the past anxiety coming through in your post. I agree that it can be difficult reading about the younger people FIREing, but I save all their “we FIREd!” posts as motivation for the long boring middle part of FI we are currently in. If I take their age out of the equation, it’s easier to imagine the day when I could be writing the same post.
“While late starters like us are probably the predominant demographic in society, why do they make up such a small part of the voices in the financial independence community?” I wonder if, as Mrs. Flamingo has recently posted about, it’s because traditional FIRE was focussed on the RE – and as late starters, we don’t get much of that! Now the community is starting to question the RE side of the equation, perhaps space will open for other late starters to share their journeys.
Thank you for reading the post and your comment Mrs. ETT. My belief is that we must retire to something and not from something. I worry about the money/number and my career longevity, but I worry more sometimes how I will productively spend my time in retirement. My identity is wrapped up in my profession to a degree even though I struggle as many do with burnout. Truth be told, I would retire tomorrow if I could, but I have not yet planned out the next phase yet. Identity, purpose, and connection are critical to a successful retirement renaissance, no matter what age. Lose these and I would be lost. Retiring early as you intimate, may be even harder than starting late.