How to Refactor Your Finances - An Interview With a Programmer Who Retired at 34

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.

Bold is sufficient. No need for the other BS reason.

Update the article after having kids.

my wife is an optometrist.

One of the couple needs to be an optometrist? Best combo, one SWE and one optometrist?

You will need more than that if you are 20+ years from retirement. All the $ you are saving right now for your retirement will be worth 1/2 or 1/3 of todays value.

How about your SS check. The income you will receive will tax 85% of your SS check if you earned the determined amount of ordinary income. If there’s SS income when you retire because somebody is stealing that in front of your very own nose :upside_down_face::upside_down_face:

Basically, there’s a lot to talk about retirement, one nobody is discussing is the flow of income without paying taxes. That’s all.