Slowly Sipping Coffee

Goodbye FIRE, hello FFLC!!!

That’s right, we are looking forward to achieving FFLC! “What is this FFLC?” you ask. Well – I’ll tell you! It stands for Fully Funded Lifestyle Change! “Uh, huh….” you’re probably saying to yourself. “So how is that different than ER or even FIRE?” you ask. The differences are subtle I suppose, but they’ve come from some realizations we’ve had over the last couple months, as Mrs. SSC and I have been seriously investigating places to live, things to do, and the underlying reasons why we want to quit our current lifestyle.

Here’s what we realized:

  • We don’t want to drop out of the workforce totally, but rather find something we can do that we are passionate about — regardless of the pay
  • We want more time to spend with family. We don’t want to fit in family around our jobs, but have our jobs fit in with our family life.
  • Full retirement wouldn’t be fulfilling to either of us, but volunteer work, teaching, mentoring… that is what we dream of

All of this led us to realize that we don’t want to retire– we want a Fully Funded Lifestyle Change!

In short, our current lifestyle sucks in regards to family time and free time. It’s great in that it allows us to save for the upcoming FFLC, however, there is SO much more we would both rather be doing with our lives than grinding away, day in – day out, for a corporation that will not notice one bit when we leave. Having 11-12 hour days from leaving the house until getting home 5 days a week just isn’t what I bargained for, or envisioned as “success!”.

The Talking Head’s song Once in a Lifetime really sums it up for us:
      And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile
      And you may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful wife,
      And you may ask yourself
      Well… How did I get here?

If you’re not familiar with the song (I don’t know how you couldn’t be) check it out on youtube  here – you’re welcome!

We are hoping we will have a view like this from our porch!

We are hoping we will have a view like this from our porch!

To us, the song represents what your dreams and vision of success were when you were younger, compared to the reality of the sacrifices you make to have them be what they actually are today. As music critic Steve Huey better describes it, the main theme is “the drudgery of living life according to social expectations, and pursuing commonly accepted trophies (a large automobile, beautiful house, beautiful wife).” a  Although the singer has these trophies, he begins to question whether they are real and how he got them. This leads him to question further the reality of life itself.b

This is exactly how Mrs. SSC and I came to investigate early retirement, pre-tirement, FIRE, and all the trappings associated with pulling the ripcord on what is a fairly “successful” life. Sure, it’s nice and comfortable and we’re the “model of success” but to whom? It sure as hell doesn’t feel like that to us. To us, it feels like we’re just grinding it out for the man until we can hit that retirement point. We end up so tired from the long days, that it makes it hard to have energy to put towards the kids. The weekends arrive, and we are catching up on all the errands that need to get done, find something fun to do with the kids, and restock the pantry for the next week. Next thing you know, it’s time to crawl in bed Sunday night, set the alarm, and repeat… endlessly… We don’t want this lifestyle, because this is no way to live. How did we get tricked into this situation? Better question, how the hell do we get out of it?!

Well, we’re figuring that out as we go. Instead of living according to social expectations, we choose to live how we see fit to get the most out of life and make the happiest most satisfying life we can. For ourselves and our family. For us, this is bailing out on our work and careers and making a major lifestyle change to fit this new dreams and expectations.  Until then, we’ll keep planning, saving, and discovering what it is we truly want to do once we walk away from this lifestyle.

I don’t know about you, but viewing it as a “Fully funded lifestyle change” instead of “early retirement” has me excited more than ever to see what the future holds.

Do you feel like you’re stuck in the hamster wheel of life and want out?
What have you done to change your life to focus on what you deem important?
Do you think we are just bat-shit crazy and dealing with a mid-life crisis?



a: Huey, S. “Once in a Lifetime”. Allmusic.
b: Gittens, I. (2004). Talking Heads: Once in a Lifetime: The Stories Behind Every Song. Hal Leonard. Pp.68-71. ISBN 9780634080333.

42 thoughts on “Goodbye FIRE, hello FFLC!!!

  1. Steve Adcock

    I like to use the phrase “financially independence” because, well, that’s essentially what we’re all heading towards. Financially independent doesn’t mean you’re retired. Instead, it means exactly what you’ve described – you work when you want. You take the jobs that interest you and forget the jobs that you don’t. You don’t NEED to work to maintain your lifestyle.

    I wrote about the topic of being TOO BUSY recently, actually. It is far too easy to find yourself in the position where going to work Monday through Friday is actually a break from your hectic family life. When work is your relaxation time, you might have a problem that needs to be dealt with. :)

    My lifestyle has changed significantly over the past year. Our goal to retire by 40 is a goal that will be accomplished, probably ahead of schedule. But, we have also prioritized happiness and relaxation into our lives so we aren’t completely burned out during the day. Nothing is more important than our stress level – even retirement!

    A lot of it is knowing how to say “no”.

    1. Mr. SSC

      That’s a great point. We realized that we weren’t ready for “not working” but as you said, working when we want, especially on a job we want to do. Our goal is to re-prioritize our energy towards things that matter to us, rather than our jobs.

      Our lifestyle now is just SO exhausting we are planning for a change, and counting down the days until we can make the break!

  2. Tawcan

    I like using the phrase financial independence rather than retirement. Financial independence means we will get more options and freedom in our lives. I don’t want to retire from working, I want to be active. The idea of sitting on the beach for months at the time doesn’t sound that appealing to me.

    1. Mr. SSC

      I agree. Although, I’m more hesitant with using financial independence, because of how I view financial independence. I see it as “not needing to worry about money” and when we quit our jobs and move, we won’t be there. We will be in a position that we may not need full time jobs, or even part time side hustles, but any extra income will provide a cushion should the markets turn, or things not pan out how we planned.

      It’s still independent enough that we can choose to get off the crazy train we’re on and not worry too much about it though. So that’s still a win in my book. :)

      1. Free to Pursue

        I definitely use FI as well. RE has the connotations of sitting on our behinds & letting life go by. No way–not us!

        FI is a state of mind and everyone’s “enough” is different. To me it’s having built up a sufficient cushion of “years of freedom” to the point where no external party has dominion over how we use our time in the present. We have the “liquid courage” to move on when our present reality no longer suits our needs and values. We wear no shackles.

        That has meant refusing to tolerate bad situations, leaving well-paying jobs and volunteering our time as we see fit when we want to contribute to a particular cause.

        We measure it as NW / yearly expenses = years of accumulated freedom…and at one point, that number develops a life of its own and our accumulated freedom will outlast us. :)

        1. Mr SSC Post author

          Yeah, FI definitely fits our bill much better than RE. While it’s possible we’d actually fit a retired definition, I don’t see it happening for a long while. There’s just too much to do and see to get into that mode.

          Good for you to not tolerate bad situations even if the pay was nice. One thing I’ve found is no amount of pay makes up for an unhappy situation.

  3. Laurie @thefrugalfarmer

    Love your new definition, and we are right on board with you! There are so many types of work that you can do that will fit in with your lifestyle if you don’t have to worry about the money part of it. I’m sure you’ll find something awesome to do that you love and that allows you to keep family a top priority.

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      I agree, and the new definition just resonated with us better. It will be nice not to have the financial monkey on our back and the freedom to do something we’re passionate about.

  4. Kalie

    We’ve been talking about this as financial flexibility. Not many people who have the motivation and discipline to retire early actually want to retire in the traditional sense. But with the flexibility of having your life mostly or completely funded by passive income, suddenly you have a choice of what to do with your time and talents, more than when you’re tied down to a traditional paycheck.

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      Exactly! It’s more about having flexibility and not being tied to a 9-5 just to afford stuff like “the Joneses” have.

  5. Rae

    FFLC can be an interesting choice of title. AND I guess that we can consider ourselves half way there.

    Being almost debt free (irs debt and mortgage that we do not have a priority of addressing anytime soon) has enabled me to finally “retire” from full time, stressful working conditions and transitioned to more of side hustle income status. This is enabling me to discover things I enjoy doing and making some side money in the process.

    Hubby, on the other hand, has worked 35 years at the company and sees no reason to retire yet because he has too many “wants to get done”. BUT truth be told, he only works 26 weeks a year by having a job that he works 7 days on and 7 days off.

    So for me flexibility and for hubby off 26 weeks a year to do what he wants to do…

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      Congrats on halfway, that’s better than “no way”. :)

      I work with a lot of people that are 35 yrs or more and think I’m bonkers when I ask how soon until they retire. I think maybe they’re scared they haven’t saved enough, or don’t know what to do with themselves once they quit, or even are worried about losing the social aspect of work and work chatter with colleagues.

      If I only worked half a year – I’d probably be ok with working a little longer, but not by much.

  6. Jason

    I do love your term to describe what you want. I sometimes feel like I am in the hamster wheel, but I think it is because I am teaching extra courses to pay off more debt and achieve financial freedom. I am burning the candle at both ends to get further along the debt payment route. I want to go back to my old life when I just taught a normal load and could go back and do the things I want. However, I love the job I do and have no plans on quitting anytime soon. But I look forward to the day when I can go back to being a teacher and not a hired gun.

    1. Mrs SSC

      Yeah – I often think of the advice you hear as a youngster “choose a job you love and you will never work a day in your life”… it sounds like a great idea until you realize that you love to do more than one thing :) One day I would love to teach, but only after we save enough money that I can do it part time and not feel like the work is a chore, but rather something I do because I choose to.

  7. Our Next Life

    Just found your blog, and happy to be here! Love your vision for your post-career work. We definitely see ourselves volunteering a lot and working fun jobs when we quit our jobs (in under three years if things go to plan), but that’s harder to explain to people than just saying that we’re planning to retire early! We might have to give FFLC a try. :-)

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      Glad you found our blog! It’s always nice to come across people on the same type of path. I find it’s a lot easier to talk about making a lifestyle change in 3-4 years, as opposed to bringing up the dreaded “early retirement” phrase. One concept people can understand, and the other most seem to be actively opposed to. At least accepting that it is possible anyway. Especially when you relate it to, “I want more out of life than what is going on now.” Most people get that to some degree.

  8. Ditching The Grind

    I really like the your term FFLC! There are so many things I want to do and it just feels like there’s no time to get it all done. If all goes well, I should be there in a few years. Great post!

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      Congratulations on only being a few years out too! We had a party this weekend and a friend noticed my retirement countdown clock, and said, “Nice, a retirement countdown clock! 1080 days left, that’s only like 3 years from now…” I replied, “I know.” Hahahahaha it was funny to see the look on his face when he realized it was about 3 years from now. Fingers crossed everything goes as planned!

  9. Freedom40

    Like the other commentators here – I like the term FFLC. I might even just call it a “Lifestyle Change” and leave out the fully funded part. As I get closer and closer to FI, I’ve been thinking about the perception others will have about me regarding this matter. On one level I shouldn’t care, but of course on another level, I know I will. “Early retirement” and “financially independent” both sound a little obnoxious and pretentious to me. Reminds me of the summer vacationers in my home town. All of us blue collar kids and our parents breaking our backs so they could relax, and make out of touch comments like “oh, I don’t need to work anymore.” Maybe they worked their asses off for years to get there, but I think for many hard working people in this country, this just rubs the wrong way.

    I anticipate others not understanding the choices, and yes sacrifices that I’ve made to reach FI so maybe just saying, “I’ve decided to make a lifestyle change” is the way to go. They’ll jump to the conclusion that money is going to be tight with this change, but I’ll of course know that’s not the case!

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      Yeah, the Lifestyle Change has slowly evolved over time, but we find it fits better. Mainly because Mrs. SSC will most likely be teaching, and I will be doing something. It’s more about the lifestyle change than early retirement. Like 1500 days, even when we get to FI, I for one won’t be going around shouting it from the rooftops to the neighbors.
      Coming from a blue collar background as well, I understand not everyone is in as fortunate a position as we are. Like you said, when we move, we plan on telling everyone we made a lifestyle change for the family and leave it at that. Let them think what they want.

  10. Jason

    My wife and i are currently in the position of being financially independent at 45 but have not pulled the ripcord yet and continue to work. I am definitely not passionate about my job but it pays very well for an average 23 hour workweek. I guess I’m in the process of trying to figure out what I’d like to do with the rest of my life and haven’t come to any real conclusions yet. I’ve read some of your blog and it’s very refreshing compared to the many other blogs I read which seem to be based on people retiring as soon as possible by living in a minimalist type way which isnt quite for me. I think it is passion and purpose that leads to happiness. You guys seem like your on the right track and i will be slowly sipping coffee while reading about your progress.

    1. Mrs SSC

      I would love a 23 hour workweek! I think if I didn’t have the commute and could work 25 hours or so a week I could coast along for awhile. Thanks for the compliment! I don’t think we could ever be true frugalists or minimalists. We are happiest walking a middle path – I think for everyone its about finding the right balance and being flexible with it over time.

  11. Harmony@CreatingMyKaleidoscope

    We have a very similar goal. Although I’ve been using the term “financial semi-independence,” I like yours a lot too. We can’t fully retire because we still have debt to pay off, but are looking forward to fixing our finances so that we will only need to work part-time, flexible jobs.

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      That sounds perfect, because at least then you’ll have the freedom to choose which jobs and ones that fit your schedule best. :)

  12. Physician on FIRE

    The last question is a great one. I fear that friends, family, and colleagues will assume I’m going through some sort of mid-life crisis when I actually announce my retirement in a few years.

    That’s one thing I love about having the blog. I can show a vast amount of pre-meditation and consideration when the time comes.

    -Physician on FIRE

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      Exactly! At least the blog shows we’ve been thinking about it for at least a few years ahead of time. :)

      I shocked a co-worker Friday when I mentioned “early retirement” free time plans with the kids and that was even with me pushing it back ~10 more years so as not to really shock him. He seemed confounded that someone would want to retire at 50 much less 40’ish… Poor guy.

  13. ZJ Thorne

    This is perfect! I fully intend to stay working part-time at my LLC when I no longer need to work for others. I just need to fund my nest egg enough that I’m not entirely dependent on the income from my LLC work.

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      Yeah, realizing we don’t really want to retire, but rather just have a lifestyle change helped a lot with bringing into focus what it is we want our lives to look like.

      Getting that initial nest egg funding is key and I’ll still be at my job until that happens, or they lay me off – either way, lol.

  14. Kurt

    I managed to extricate myself from exactly the sort of grind you describe and began my own FFLC at age 46. Now nearly a decade and a half later, I can only heartily endorse the path that you’re on. I only wish I could include here a photo of the mountain + ocean view from the home on Vancouver Island where we’ve lived since 2009. :-) Best of luck!

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      I wish you could have included that photo as well, because I can only imaging how nice it must look. :)

      Congrats on doing your own FFLC and loving it!

  15. CoupleofCents

    I’m inspired that you’re taking charge and deciding to do what you want to do. By my estimates, I have about 10 more years of 9-5 to FI unless I take some risks and find alternatives ways to make money. For now, I’ll live vicariously through you.

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      By focusing on our FI part of it a ferw years ago, we got to take some babysteps towards our FFLC when Mrs. SSC left her corporate gig to teach which was a huge paycut. Shes way happier and our schedule is way better all around for everyone. Just because we’re not FI yet doesn’t mean you can’t take steps to start your FFLC now.

      I’m looking forward to being able to do more stay at home dad type things in the upcoming years when we actually hit FI, but for now, I’m enjoying the easier schedule and way more time the family has to spend together.

      1. CoupleofCents

        Thanks for the reply. My wife just quit her job as we are having a baby in November. She will stay at home full time. We actually moved from California to Georgia so we would be able to afford this change. I guess that’s our step of FFLC.

        1. Mr. SSC

          Congrats on the baby and being able to make some steps towards your own changes! I actually interviewed for and was offered a job in Oxnard, CA but had to turn it down because going from 2 salaries to 1 and add in the increase in cost of living, we’d be using savings to make it by every month. It was a shock really. Glad we did that analysis before accepting and moving. Haha

          Glad you’re going the other way, the COL decrease has to be pretty nice on the budget. Good luck with the baby in November, especially if it’s your first. It’s fun, but can be a rough transition if they aren’t good sleepers. Fingers crossed for you guys!

  16. Mrs. SimplyFinanciallyFree

    Ooooo…. I like this! Fully Funded Lifestyle Change…yup. That is more fitting. It always feels strange when I think early retirement since our goal is in our 40’s (far from the mid 60’s norm) and we will still be doing something on the side as well so this is a much better description of what we are seeking.

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      Yeah we figured retirement just didn’t quite fit, hence the fully funded lifestyle change. Although it could turn into mostly funded or semi funded depending on when we make big changes, but at least you get the idea. :)

      Too much going on to get into the true “retirement” mode that early – whatever that is.

  17. Jaymee @ Smart Woman

    I really like how honest you are here. I started working full-time 2 years ago and though I don’t have a family of my own yet, I can just glimpse the lifestyle of other nurses who do. I would love to have a family one day but not be stuck at work most of the week trying to provide for them and pay for the mortgage.

    So I’m trying to plan ahead now so that I can have that flexibility I want for the rest of my life. It’s never too early I learned :)

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      It’s kind of sad in a way that we work so hard to get to where we are “successful” in life and then realize we’ve just trapped ourselves in a horrible cycle. My dad worked long days his whole career and we’d see him at nights and on weekends, and I didn’t want my kids to have that same type of relationship with us. Mrs. SSC’s dad had a similar schedule and has regrets on not spending as much time at home with kids due to work.

      It’s nice that we will be able to do something about it and have made an effort to not fall into that cycle, but man, it’s easy to do.

      Good luck with your career and not falling into that trap or trying to find a good balance with work and life. :)

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