Why are there so many software engineers in the FIRE community?
I really think it’s about efficiency. I’m sure a lot of developers would agree that refactoring is the best part of writing code—because you can make it super efficient, super clean, super brief and make every line useful. I think the same principles can be applied to your financial life and your life in general. If you’re super efficient with your spending, and you’re making a software engineering salary, then money piles up quite quickly. That’s why I think there are so many software engineers in the FIRE community. They are used to systems and algorithms and efficiency, and it’s like you’re applying all those things to your financial life. You’re refactoring your life pretty much all the time, which is just great and can get you to FIRE really quickly.
How much money is enough?
There have been a lot of different studies about what level of income makes you happiest, and the last thing I read was something like $75k a year. I’ve earned anywhere from very little to quite a lot over my career, and I would say that $75k is probably a pretty good marker. I can’t even imagine spending $75k a year, and if you have a partner, I can’t even imagine what $150k spent in a year would be like.
I know that my wife and I can live very happily as a couple spending anywhere from, I don’t know, $35k to $50k a year? I don’t think we’ve ever spent more than $50k, and we’re usually closer to the $40k a year mark, and we feel like we can do everything that we’d ever want to do. So $75k is great, because that’s a huge buffer. You can spend that much, and have this great life, but you’re also saving and getting the security and power that comes from having money saved up.