When I finished med school (in debt, though not terrible, income at the bottom of the doctor in training totem pole), I was obsessed with my net worth and investment returns. As I’ve eliminated debt and saved more I hardly pay attention to my overall investment balances. I spend more time trying to figure out how to be frugal while still enjoying the things we want want to enjoy.
However I realized that because of the objectives I’ve set, that “financial freedom” AND “financial independence” are somewhat hollow terms. I want to help my kids w/their higher educations, and I want to be able to have some occasional fun right now. We aren’t extravagant compared to most doctors in this country, but I also recognize that we’re in a good financial position compared to many others.
The worst part of all this for me was I first started thinking about FIRE right when we entered a phase where it moved a decade further away. My wife was pregnant w/kid #3 and we were moving to a much more expensive house (and we knew she would likely go part time or quit). I learned of the terms and started thinking about FIRE right as it the goalposts moved significantly for me.
This doesn’t mean I have to work until I am Medicare eligible, but it means retiring at 45 isn’t happening.