Home > Is it important to FIRE or FI?

Is it important to FIRE or FI?

October 7th, 2022 at 06:42 am

Yesterday Barry Sharpless won his second nobel prize.  He is the 5th person ever and only living person to have 2 nobel prizes.  DH was working with Barry when he won his 1st nobel prize in 2001.  It was a privilege to meet, chat, and learn from him.  DH called him a genius and he really was.  I remember being 22 and impressed with his house and the guy himself when I met him.  He drove a Honda Civic hatchback because he didn't care what he drove.  But flew always with 2 seats in first class so he could have space for his papers to read and work on planes.

I remember him talking to a bunch of us young students, hanging yes on his every word, telling us not to give up.  That we needed to find our passion.  That you should love what you do because it will lead to success.  That wanting to go to work would lead to money.  Money he said doesn't do anything but buy you the opportunity to find happiness.  He said when he just wanted to explore where science lead him.

His energy and work ethic because of his passion were amazing.  And we never forget the lesson of being excited about work.  When you stop being excited he said it shows and that's when it's time to move on and figure out what does excite you. 

I get people working hard to FIRE and find their passion.  But not all of us can easily retire super cheap and save tons of money early on.  Instead some of us have to suck it up and work awhile.  But we always remembered that if we weren't excited we should move on.  Because the passion for work showed and it helped us stand out and succeed at our jobs rather than just sliding by and meandering.

It also was enlightening to see someone working very obviously NOT for money (he's a multimillionaire several times over and was by the time we met him).  But because he loves what he does.  His recent interview he was asked what is it like to know that he helped change the world by creating 2 new chemical reactions both increadibly important and revelotionary to drug discovery.  Without these reactions we would not be where we are today in modern medicine.  His answer "it's why he works because he wants to give back to society and loves what he does. He never imagined it would have this sort of impact."  

As for us?  I'm still not sure I want to be working at 81.  But if I still love what I do then I guess I will.  I am reminding DH now that with his startup if he loves what he does great.  But after this I think he's FI, will he RE? I don't know.  He's so passionate about what he does he says he can't imagine quitting.  Guess following our passion has been lucrative and nice.

8 Responses to “Is it important to FIRE or FI?”

  1. SavingBucks Says:

    What a wonderful story! Everyone has their own story -- I did not retire as early as I could have due to anxiety about having enough in case of disaster. Plus we cash flowed 5 years of out of state tuition for DD and a MPA for DS. She is now in grad school locally for applied physics (Yay for in state tuition!) and enjoys that field so much. She is in the process of selecting a graduate advisor for research. She definitely wants to pursue research that will make a difference in the world. I hope that she gets as much satisfaction as Barry Sharpless.

  2. VS_ozgirl Says:

    My BIL retired at 39 or 40 and my sister has a basic job at a supermarket. It works for them because he has become a stay at home dad and my sister doesn’t have the stress of needing to earn a certain income. But… it’s not for everyone. The importance they place on the payment of bills (every service and utility is analysed to the nth degree) and the cost of groceries is astonishing. Because these things might eat into the capital they’ve built up. An idea of fun for them is a trip to the beach with a packed lunch. You don’t see them spend any more than required ever and not many people can live like that all the time. So I’d say if you love what you do do it for as long as possible to keep your quality of living up.

  3. MonkeyMama Says:

    I am not interested at all in 'early retirement'. I am just interested re: planning for the worst and to be prepared for challenges that come up with age. (Health issues and age-ism, economic fluctuations, etc.)

    At my last two jobs I worked with people well into their 80s. (They didn't work because they *had to*, they worked because they enjoyed it). I think it's important to enjoy your work. Is where you will spend most of your time.

    I think this is probably why my current job is so amazing. The primary owner of the company is mega rich (his Dad is rich, and he hasn't done half bad for himself) and he retired in his 40s for a while. I don't know when he went back to work (he probably retired for at least 10 years) but for him and his son this business is more of a hobby. Neither of them have to work, at all. I can see that going in a bad way, but in this case it's just a really chill office.

    My middle ground/balanced personality wants to work part time as long as possible. Is what my big major goal is at this point (being able to cut back to PT). But... Just full on retiring doesn't appeal to me in the slightest. Neither does working mega hours for one job. I need more variety in my life and fall somewhere in the middle. Heck, I might have an empty nest next year and may revisit if part-time is even that important. I will probably have large amounts of time that I have never had before.

  4. MonkeyMama Says:

    P.S. I always thought it was weird when MH quit his crap job in his mid 20s that people acted like he would never work again if he took a break to have kids. ??? I understand the sentiment re: investing in a career but he had no career investment at that point (or wasn't happy with where he had ended up). The grass is greener and he may go back to work for 20 years. We are still so young and have so many work years ahead of us. He really missed "work" on some level. I am personally skeptical if it would really make him happy (particularly if he went back on some "what I should be doing" work route). If he could find an artistic or writing job, something like that, of course he would be happier to have some focus and purpose.

  5. Amber Says:

    I personally think they’re both the same but if I had to choose I’m going with FIRE. I’m behind on the eight ball but I think it’s doable.
    Oh I had to Google Barry Sharpless

  6. rob62521 Says:

    It's amazing that some people like Barry have the talent and the desire to work hard and do his best. How wonderful your lives were touched personally by this amazing man.

    He's right; when it is no longer fun, it's time to quit. Teaching was no longer fun for me; I had to quit because I knew I wasn't making a big difference and it was only getting worse when people who have no idea what goes on in schools are legislating learning.

  7. LivingAlmostLarge Says:

    I think there are many things people can do that's not "work" in their field and part - time which could help pay bills if you are no the cusp and that will fufill your desire. Or maybe a sabbatical and finding something that does make you happy is more important

  8. terri77 Says:

    For me, FI is more important than FIRE. I enjoy what I do, so I’m not terribly pressed to retire. I have friends that don’t hate what they do, but they really, really want to retire to do other things. I think the point is to have the financial independence, or financial freedom, to not make decisions based on your employment.

Leave a Reply

(Note: If you were logged in, we could automatically fill in these fields for you.)
Will not be published.

* Please spell out the number 4.  [ Why? ]

vB Code: You can use these tags: [b] [i] [u] [url] [email]