From FatFIRE to LeanFIRE in a Month | Robert from Stop Ironing Shirts

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Today’s episode features Robert from Stop Ironing Shirts.

Robert worked his way up the sales career path.

Then in 2019, he retired with over 28x his annual expenses.

Fast forward to today and he saw that shrink to 18x his expenses.

People often always wonder what it would be like if they retired just before a crash.

Now you have the opportunity to see how that looks first hand.

Listen, learn, and let us know what you think about Robert’s wild ride.

Episode Summary

Robert’s Journey to FI

  • Robert didn’t have much money growing up
  • He started noticing the people around him who did
  • Then he tried to reverse engineer how they got there
  • He contrasts how his grandparents had a structured career path and his parents didn’t
  • His dad did end up in sales which is where Robert first found the career path

Robert Finds His Career

  • He graduated high school in 2000
  • Robert thought he’d go into computer programming
  • That quickly changed when he hated programming
  • Then he got a department store job celling cell phones
  • This made him realize sales was for him
  • Robert goes over how sales have no politics or ambiguity in pay
  • It also means that you can make as much as you can perform

Robert Experiences His First Crash

  • Robert talks about his experience with the 2008 crash
  • He talks about how his 401k was less than his contributions even with company match
  • Then he talks about how you just have to keep plugging away when it’s dropping
  • Your earnings in a savings account simply can’t keep up with inflation

Robert Discovers FI

  • He talks about the life decisions he made once he discovered the FI movement in 2013
  • The canceled fancy hotels and tried to do some of their own home renovations
  • Some of those changes didn’t pan out but the overall path was clear for them
  • They looked and felt like they could retire around 5 years from that moment
  • In 2015 he had a good job opportunity and it locked him into three more years
  • The timing worked out pretty well but pulling the trigger was still scary

Crash Take 2

  • Robert now talks us through what life has been like during this latest crash
  • He went from Fat FIRE to Lean Fire in one month
  • Robert had also taken on a little side gig but was let go because of the turndown
  • He says at this point you just have to give up control
  • By this he means, just stay the course and don’t do anything rash
  • Robert also gives us insight into which individual stocks may or may not be favorable as we come out of this crash
  • Especially focusing on companies that are getting bailouts which hinder investors
  • And rest easy, Robert says he’s nowhere near considering full-time work


Key Takeaways

  1. Sell Your Salary: Robert walks us through the high earning potential that sales brings
  2. Trust the Process: Losing 10x your annual expenses in a month can be disturbing but Robert isn’t giving up on the process

Call to Action

Research some companies you’re interested in, you don’t have to make any individual stock purchases but it can be a fun exercise to vet companies that you may be interested in.

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Robert’s Information

Robert’s Website: Stop Ironing Shirts

Twitter: @StIroningShirts

Learn More About Your Hosts

Fly to FI (Cody’s Blog)

Saving-Sherpa (Justin’s blog)