To FIRE or not to FIRE?

I have been recently been thinking a lot about my options in terms of reaching or not reaching FI. My FIRE number, for me and my family, is around 900k and our net worth is currently a bit over 300k, which is great, but I am still veeeeeery far away. My options are the following:

  • Stay for 6 more years in Germany and reach my number (I am Portuguese and currently living in Germany where salaries are much better compared to Portugal) with the caveat that around 30% of my networth would be in my pension, i.e., I could only have access to it at 55 (whaaaat? I am only 32!);
  • Stay for 1 more year in Germany, reach barely half FI and go back to my home country where prices are lower and with a passive income that would cover 30/40% of my expenses + some cash.

This is probably a typical dilemma that many people in this community face: wait for FI or risk and try a career that does not yield that much money but you feel passionate about? In my case I have also strong personal reasons for wanting to go back to Portugal, I am waiting for baby #2 and I would really like to raise them near my family and near our friends which are having babies at the moment as well. I could also use some help from family members 🙂 But on the other hand, I feel like I am bailing on my own plan if I go back and that we did the effort of saving and investing for nothing, i.e., we would still would need to work.

I recently listened to this podcast from Journey to Launch and I am in a very similar situation as her: in a corporate job with a great salary, waiting for a baby, and it got me thinking whether I should just take this opportunity where I will be out of the workforce anyway (due to my maternity leave) to not go back to this job. I am definitively a Type-A personality and I know I will not be able to stop working, I need projects, I like business interactions and I am passionate about so many topics. None of them would allow me to get a similar salary to the one I have now (not even 1/3) but I feel like I could give it a try. Worst case scenario: I am young and I could go back to working in Banking in my home country. Not ideal as salaries are not very high and hours are long..

Problem: my partner believes we should stay for a couple of more years and that my 900k estimation is too optimistic, especially taking into account that we will soon have 2 kids. He is also very risk adverse and does like the instability of an entrepreneurial lifestyle.

What are your views? “Suffer” until you reach FI or reach half FI and risk a new job/occupation that fulfills your heart but would still have to yield some cash?

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7 thoughts on “To FIRE or not to FIRE?”

  1. Why not stay there for a couple of more years until you finish to pay property #2 and save some more for a living property in Portugal? Your family would be in a much better situation. The short-term rental business is boosting in Portugal but there is a risk to drop as soon as the political situation stabilizes in the north of Africa. Your children aren’t in school yet, they will have the benefit of learning a second language before starting education in Portugal. I understand how emotions play a role in such decisions. We are facing a similar situation but in other means. Our wealth is only 60k (mostly cash), with saving rates of 50%-60%, and our main goal is to save for a living property as we believe we can have a decent life in Portugal. We are not planing to retire early but rather find a decent work/life balance. However, my mother in law is old with a lot of health issues and she is becoming more physically and emotionally dependent. Soon we will have to go back, but we are trying to save as much as possible.

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    1. That indeed would be the wisest decision I agree. The idea is to pay off property #2 and to have money saved for half of a property of our own by the time we leave. Not perfect as it would not allow us to FIRE in the proper sense but we would still be quite comfortable because we would have half of the apartment paid + passive income .
      Good luck, the first 100k are the hardest! Then it becomes so much easier 🙂 are you Portuguese or only planning to live there after FIRE?

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      1. It’s always good to have other people’s perspectives. Hope you find a solution that best suits you.
        Yes we are Portuguese (Olá, :D), I lived alone in the Netherlands for 2 years and moved this year to Ireland with my partner. She is not working yet due to her very specialized field, but she is taking some courses to transition to other sectors.
        I couldn’t agree more, sometimes it feels like taking forever to reach 100k, especially when it’s single income. But we are frugal by nature. I make 68k/year (gross) in IT sector.
        Just curious, how did you end up with such high salaries in Germany? Which field are you working?
        Thanks for the support.

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  2. Olá 🙂 I work in Banking and my husband in IT, probably the best fields to work in Germany salary wise! If you have 8-10 years of experience, salaries are, in general, in those 2 fields, high (80k+) and the cost of living is quite low. I am sure when your partner finds a job, it will be much easier for you two to save and start investing! If you are able to have such a high savings rate on a single income, I cannot imagine how it will be when you have double-income!

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  3. Hello! I was curious when you said “the first 100k are hardest! Then it becomes so much easier”. How is that? I’m selling a property and I’ll probably get about 100k ready to be invested. What kind of investments do you recommend for someone living in Portugal?
    Cumprimentos 🙂

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    1. I love investing in real estate even though I think prices might currently be a bit crazy in Portugal right now. You could still check, there are always hidden opportunities. Apart from that, I would recommend investing in index funds, not necessarily in PT, I am now considering buying European Index Funds such as iShares Euro Dividend or similar.
      Good luck with your first investment 🙂

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      1. I already invest in index funds, term deposits and P2P lending. You are right, prices in Portugal are too high right now. Not sure if I will ever invest in real estate, it is too much work for me (also because of taxes and maintenance costs). Perhaps when the market falls down again, but we never know if it will happen…
        Thank you for your time 🙂

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