The Time Has Finally Come

The Time Has Finally Come

When my bosses asked if they could call me, I knew something was up.

At first, I panicked a bit. Did someone find out I’m the Mad Fientist?

After talking on Skype for a few seconds, I realized that was unlikely but something was definitely wrong.

You know how when someone has bad news to tell you, you can usually tell by the sound of their voice before they even get to the point? This was like that.

Eventually, they told me that the HR and Legal departments had reviewed all remote-working arrangements and decided that they could not accept the compliance risks associated with me working from the UK.

Therefore, I had two options: 1) I could move back to the States and keep working or 2) I would need to resign by August of this year.

My Fault

I actually shot myself in the foot here. Following my own advice of “when you don’t need your job, use that power to make a lot of demands”, I had been trying to convince my HR department to let me go to 1099 contractor from a W2 employee so that I could juice my retirement account contributions even more.

The reason I told them I wanted to go to a 1099 is because I was working from the UK and being a contractor would make my tax life easier.

Well, it turns HR had thought I was working from Florida this entire time (because my work-related mail gets sent to my parent’s house there) so when I told them I was in the UK, it raised a lot of red flags and eventually resulted in their ultimatum.

Initial Reaction

This was actually a complete shock and I didn’t react like I would have predicted.

Unsurprisingly, the first reaction was a feeling of ridiculous excitement.

After all these years of planning and working toward this exact goal, it was finally going to happen!

To be honest, I couldn’t picture this day coming because, as I mentioned in the Power of Quitting post, my work situation is too good to walk away from. I have complete freedom to do what I want (when I want), I don’t have to commute, I don’t get forced to sit through a lot of pointless meetings, I enjoy the programming that I do, and I get paid a lot to do it!

It has turned out to be a great situation so unless my wife and I decided to travel full time or something, I couldn’t ever see giving it up.

So when the decision was made for me, I was excited that I didn’t have to pull the plug on my own and risk regretting my decision later.

Oh Shit

Surprisingly, this initial feeling of excitement was followed by intense feelings of worry and uncertainty.

Was I ready to walk away from a career I spent over a decade building? Would I have to watch my spending again and worry about every purchase like I used to? Will I have enough to keep me busy when I don’t have a full-time job?

Despite writing and thinking about financial independence so much over the last five years, these thoughts hit me like a freight train. I actually couldn’t fall asleep that first night because so many things were going through my head.

Luckily, when I woke up the next morning the excitement returned and my worries faded away.

I realized that all the panicking of the night before was ridiculous. I planned to walk away from work back in 2014 when I moved to Scotland so I will have had an extra two years of earnings I didn’t expect to have and my supplemental income has also increased dramatically over that same time.

After consulting my trusty FI spreadsheet one more time, I knew financially everything would be okay.

When I started thinking about the non-financial aspects of leaving my career, I also realized everything was going to be alright.

The work I do here at the Mad Fientist is some of the most rewarding work I’ve ever done so having more free time will allow me to expand my Mad Fientist efforts even further. I’ve already been increasing my posting frequency lately but removing my job from the equation will allow me to ramp up my output even more and will give me the time to tackle some bigger projects I’ve been planning.

Ever since I completed my free Ivy League degree, I’ve felt the need to take on another large, difficult project so I’m excited to get started on something new soon (hopefully it will involve going to space but if not, I have some other cool ideas).

Perfect Timing

As far as the timing is concerned, it couldn’t be better. Jill and I already booked flights for an around-the-world trip that will start in September (more on this very exciting trip soon) so now I won’t have to worry about asking for another unpaid sabbatical.

August is also a great time to leave because I will have already front-loaded my retirement accounts for the year and I’ll get another entire year’s worth of vacation in July so I’ll likely get paid for an extra month that I won’t be working.

Don’t Call it Retirement

I’m happy that after over four years of writing about financial independence and early retirement, I’ll finally be leaving my job but I still wouldn’t call it an “early retirement”.

I have no plans to slow down.

I can’t even say I’m retiring from software development because I’ve been writing a lot of code for the Mad Fientist recently (which you’ll hear more about next month!) and plan to write even more code in the coming months.

I wouldn’t even go as far as saying I’ll never work for someone else again because if a company I admire offers me the opportunity to use my skills to make a bigger contribution than I would be able to make on my own, why wouldn’t I take advantage of that?

The important thing is I don’t have to do any of that. I can’t describe the feeling that comes from knowing that but part of me still can’t believe it.

Lessons Learned

As I mentioned, this ultimatum really took me by surprise so I can’t even imagine what this would have felt like if we were living paycheck-to-paycheck.

I’m incredibly thankful that I’m in a financial position where I don’t have to frantically update my resumé and interview for positions that would likely be much less flexible and enjoyable than the one I currently have. It’s also great we don’t have to move back to the States just because my employer wants me to!

The benefits of pursuing financial independence are many but being able to handle stressful, unexpected events with ease is one of the most valuable.

The other thing this experience made me realize is that I’m glad I’ve already started working toward some of my post-FI goals. Rather than have a bunch of free time in August that I won’t know what to do with, I’ll instead be excited to have more time to work on things I’ve already been working on, which will hopefully make the transition smoother.


It’s a very exciting time for me personally but hopefully you will experience some benefits as well. I’ve been meaning to research topics like withdrawal strategies and other post-FI issues but now I’ll finally have the motivation to do that.

I’ll also have more time and mental energy to take this site to next level. I’m proud of what I’ve created so far but there’s so much more I want to do so I’m glad I’ll be able to make faster progress on some of the ideas I have (if there’s anything you’d like me to do or write about, send me an email or let me know in the comments below).

Even though it feels like finally crossing the finish line on this journey to FI, I realize this is only the first stage of a much bigger voyage.

A self-directed life of freedom and unlimited possibilities begins for me on August 1st and I have to say, I’m very excited to get started.

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163 comments for “The Time Has Finally Come

  1. Gwen
    March 23, 2016 at 8:28 am

    Congratulations! What an exciting time this is! I can’t wait to see what you’ve got cooking in your brain for the blog :)

    • Done by Forty
      March 31, 2016 at 12:52 pm

      Congratulations! That’s great news. I’ll be right behind you…you know, like five years from now.

      • Edward Says
        May 3, 2021 at 10:30 pm

        You should be there by now buddy!

  2. Lori
    March 23, 2016 at 8:35 am

    You have summarized the reason for financial independence well–you have not been thrown into a wild panic because of this news. Congratulations, as not many people could say the same thing. I hope this opens up doors to make your life even happier and more fulfilling!

  3. Brad
    March 23, 2016 at 8:36 am

    Congrats Brandon — been eagerly looking forward to this post :)

    Really excited to see what you have in store for the Mad Fientist now that you can devote your full attention to it! I’m still selfishly looking for that “how to hack paying for college Mad Fientist style” series. haha

    • Steve
      July 7, 2016 at 11:15 am

      Also looking for this series. Congrats Brandon!
      I also would live an article or series devoted to FIers who want to start early. I’m 17 and I want to take all the steps I can early to get to FI asap!

  4. Ben
    March 23, 2016 at 8:43 am

    Way to go! Looking forward to reading all about it in your future posts!

  5. Fervent Finance
    March 23, 2016 at 8:56 am

    Congrats! Another 5 months of earnings won’t hurt either. Can’t wait to see what is next.

  6. K
    March 23, 2016 at 9:03 am

    Congrats! I must note that THIS is why employers will continue to lose their best and brightest employees. I’ve spent my legal career trying to motivate clients to accommodate some flexibility for employees with mixed success. More and more, employees are rejecting this bargain. Can’t wait to hear more about your global trip!

    • Sonny
      March 26, 2016 at 9:48 pm

      This is a great point! and of course….

      Congrats Mad Fientist, you’re one of a few bloggers I follow and the third one in less than a month who’s officially “retired”!! 2016 is shaping up to be a good year!

  7. Michelle
    March 23, 2016 at 9:16 am

    Cool! Congrats!!

  8. Steven
    March 23, 2016 at 9:24 am

    Brandon that’s great, sure it’s nice to have a job you like, I think this opens up so much more for you to enjoy that life offers. I look forward to all the new free time and coding that goes with it, selfishly I might add. Does the worldwide trip include Fincon? I want some sort of brewery/beer exchange to happen and I’m pretty sure you would be all-in on that:)

    • Chad @ CoachCarson
      March 23, 2016 at 11:12 am

      I second the FinCon brewery/beer exchange! Steven, are you organizing this?:) ha, ha.

    • The Mad Fientist
      March 23, 2016 at 7:24 pm

      The trip does include FinCon so I look forward to swapping (and drinking) beer with you guys in San Diego!

  9. Maggie
    March 23, 2016 at 9:26 am


  10. Seth
    March 23, 2016 at 9:27 am

    Congratulations! Long time lurker here. Your pain is our collective gain. Would love to hear your thoughts on withdrawal strategies like this post

  11. Casey
    March 23, 2016 at 9:28 am

    Thanks for all you offer to FI community.

  12. d
    March 23, 2016 at 9:30 am

    Yay! How exciting!

  13. profitprophetprofit
    March 23, 2016 at 9:31 am

    Did you get a good severance package?

    • The Mad Fientist
      March 23, 2016 at 7:25 pm

      I have until April 1st to decide whether I’m moving back to the States or not so I’ll see what they say when I tell them I won’t be moving back

  14. Shirley
    March 23, 2016 at 9:32 am

    Congratulations, Brandon! You’re finally there, and you planned it all so well! Cheers to you for inspiring us all!

    Can’t wait to see what you have in store next!

  15. Tiffany @ Divvy Investments
    March 23, 2016 at 9:33 am

    Congratulations! Yep, the freedom of being FI is awesome… enjoy it! That’s what it’s all about anyway :-)

  16. Trying
    March 23, 2016 at 9:33 am

    Congratulations! That’s so exciting!

  17. Mr W from
    March 23, 2016 at 9:34 am

    Well. That’s great news for you! Congratulations!
    You will have more time to think and work on your own projects.
    I was in a very similar situation and it took some weeks/months to realise how much better off i was (financially, timewise and mentally) living my own life rather then someone elses.
    So, in your case I would go a a bit further and really question whether you want to work for somebody else on a contract at all. There are several options out there. You could work as a freelancer for shorter projects where you don’t need to worry about long therm commitments and of course raise your hourly rate significantly.
    Anyway. Congrats again! This is great news and I’m looking forward to opening a bottle with you very shortly!

  18. Steve @ Think Save Retire
    March 23, 2016 at 9:36 am

    Wow, what a nice little surprise. Most people out there would have been devastated by that news, but when you’re financially independent, it truly is no big thing. :)

  19. Jay
    March 23, 2016 at 9:37 am

    Congratulations on getting let go! Hopefully, that will be me in a few more years. Keep up the good work. Looking forward to seeing the additional work you mentioned.

  20. Barny
    March 23, 2016 at 9:38 am

    Good for you Brandon! You really inspire and encourage more people than you realize. Can’t wait to see what the future holds for you and the site.

  21. Kudy
    March 23, 2016 at 9:39 am

    Congrats! I fantasize about getting fired – my thinking is very similar to yours, I wish someone would pull the trigger for me sometimes, so I won’t have to :)

  22. Phil
    March 23, 2016 at 9:40 am

    Did your employer offer you a redundancy payment and payment in lieu of notice? If you are an employee then it sounds like your post is redundant and you are due the above payments.

    • The Mad Fientist
      March 23, 2016 at 7:27 pm

      It won’t be official until April so will have to wait and see what’s going to happen.

  23. Mrs.
    March 23, 2016 at 9:43 am

    Congratulations! I’ve been wondering if this day would ever come, you have such a great situation. As for requests, I’d love to see a post on exactly how to make early retirement withdrawals. I know it’s easy peasy when all your money is in a brokerage account, but when the vast majority is in an IRA, or a 401K, how do you go about it without paying penalties for early withdrawal? Thanks! I’m really happy for you and I’m especially happy that now you’ll have more time to write on your blog. I love it!

  24. brooklynguy
    March 23, 2016 at 9:45 am

    Congrats! Is the resignation now official, or is there a chance your next post could be about how they didn’t realize you would call their bluff and they’re actually letting you continue to work from the UK?

    • The Mad Fientist
      March 23, 2016 at 7:30 pm

      Haha, it’s possible. I was going to wait to publish this post until after everything became official but since I’ve made up my mind that I’m going to finish in August, I decided to just go for it. They’d have to offer me something pretty amazing to keep me on now!

  25. John Mark
    March 23, 2016 at 9:45 am

    I appreciate your honest perspective here now that “the day has come.” Unlike some of the super-confident pomp on other FI blogs, I appreciate the humility you’re showing here by laying out the honest emotional reactions you are experiencing when it’s time to jump (or get booted from the nest!). It’s comforting to know that even an FI blogger isn’t immune on this journey – we’re all human and complex. Peace be with you, sir.

  26. Kate
    March 23, 2016 at 9:51 am

    Congrats! You really couldn’t have set yourself up for a better outcome.

    We’ll all be living vicariously through you :)

  27. Ty @GetRichQuickish
    March 23, 2016 at 9:53 am

    So awesome that you’re able to absorb this change without missing a beat. The lesson I try and drill into my kids is that the best thing money can buy if freedom – congrats!

  28. Larry Green
    March 23, 2016 at 9:57 am

    Way to go not letting emotions take over and revisiting your numbers. You’ve long been a great asset to the FIRE community and those pursuing it, and you continue to show why. Congratulations on taking this step and I look forward to seeing this site grow even further

  29. Pat
    March 23, 2016 at 9:58 am

    Congratulations! I’ve been reading your blog and listening to your podcast for the last 6 months or so, but haven’t reached out or commented at all. My wife and I are on the journey too, and are looking forward to this day. It’s exciting to see the dream coming true for you, and is inspiring us to continue pushing.

  30. Eric B
    March 23, 2016 at 10:00 am

    Only on a FIRE web site do people congratulate you for being forced to resign :)

    • The Mad Fientist
      March 23, 2016 at 7:35 pm

      It’s an amazing community, isn’t it :)

    • Jay A.
      March 25, 2016 at 12:56 am

      Great comment, Eric B!

  31. Lou
    March 23, 2016 at 10:01 am

    Oh well, you had a good run! But – as a UK expat now in the US – I’m not surprised the company shut it down. I doubt they have any mechanism to withhold National Insurance contributions (British payroll taxes) and UK resident tax, and are probably concerned whether your visa status allows working at all. *curious* how have you been managing NI and tax until now..?

    Greatly looking forward to see what your future Mad Fientist plans are! I’ve learned such a lot from your exacting research and experiments.

    • The Mad Fientist
      March 23, 2016 at 7:42 pm

      Yeah, they were worried about a lot of stuff after they realized I was over here.

      Look out for a future post on all the US/UK nonsense soon!

      • Lou
        March 24, 2016 at 7:13 am

        That will be fun to see! Our retirement funding is split across the UK, Switzerland, and the US, having worked in all three. It adds an… interesting… level of complexity and risk, dealing with financial planning in 3 currencies, and keeping on top of multiple sets of regulatory changes.

      • Sam
        January 2, 2022 at 7:27 pm

        I am considering moving to UK ( from US). It may not happen anytime soon, but I am trying to understand if one could benefit from paying voluntary National Insurance to fill gaps in the contributions record to qualify for the State Pension. After googling and reading some articles, it sounds like it is a possibility to pay up to 6 years in gap but it could be more depending on individual situation, so it is kind of murky as to how many years of gap can be paid for. And at a higher level, I am not even sure if this makes any sense to pay National Insurance to fill gaps. I understand one becomes eligible for benefits from UK by doing so, but I also read the agreement b/w UK and USA limits the extent of double dipping. So it is all super confusing and I am kind of suffering from analysis paralysis and unable to decide either way. Is there any post or podcast that talks about this topic?

  32. Elizabeth
    March 23, 2016 at 10:01 am

    What an amazing milestone! I anticipate something similar happening to me in the next few years, but time will tell. I look forward to reading about this transition and your journey over the next months!

  33. Emily
    March 23, 2016 at 10:06 am

    Congrats! I’ve only just started on my quest for financial independence so it’s nice to see where it can lead to if you set yourself up for it!

  34. Matt
    March 23, 2016 at 10:08 am

    Congrats :)

    I enjoy your work, but as I’m in England I find some of it of limited use (e.g. tax stuff). Now you’re in the UK without a US employer, perhaps you might like to work on some UK-centric ideas too?

    Either way, looking forward to seeing what other ideas you come up with!

    • The Mad Fientist
      March 23, 2016 at 7:47 pm

      Possibly! Let me know if you’re ever up in Edinburgh and we’ll grab a beer and chat about UK tax loopholes (if there are any!)

      • theFIREstarter
        March 24, 2016 at 3:29 am

        There aren’t any tax loopholes as such (with regards retirement accounts… SIPPs and what not) as far as I know but there are plenty of well known tax breaks that we can still take advantage of. The kicker is that you can’t access that money until you are 55, unlike over there where you have that loophole that allows you to access funds earlier.

  35. Felicity
    March 23, 2016 at 10:09 am

    All I heard was more Mad FIentist content in the future! :D

  36. Sabbaticalia
    March 23, 2016 at 10:16 am


    You’ve worked greatly readying yourself for this. Many of us will be eagerly reading what you write about the transition. Start warming up your “mad scientist” cackle! Mwah ha ha hah!

  37. Julie and Will
    March 23, 2016 at 10:22 am

    We can understand both the excitement and the momentary dismay, but we’re glad the excitement returned. We’re curious to see whether there will be many more emotional fluctuations as you approach and pass the August 1 date, and we’d appreciate hearing more from you about that. (We’re having similar emotional struggles!)

    Question for you (and others too, for that matter): Would you say that it really was easier to have someone else pull the plug for you, or would you have preferred to make the final moves yourself?

    In any case, yes, we enjoy reading your posts when you have time to write, so we’re looking forward to hearing more from you. Best wishes!

    • The Mad Fientist
      March 23, 2016 at 7:53 pm

      It was definitely easier for me because I don’t think I would have pulled the plug otherwise. Even though I imagine life will be better without a full-time job, my work situation was so good that I don’t think I could have thrown it away voluntarily.

      What kind of struggles are you guys dealing with?

      • Julie and Will
        March 23, 2016 at 11:20 pm

        We are excited about the idea of more travel and possibly even living in a foreign country (probably France) once we retire. But we have been hesitant to take the next steps because Will has a job similar to yours (work from home, software engineering, rewarding pay), and I have tenure at my university (job security, grateful students, satisfying work). We thought it would be difficult to walk away from Will’s pay and my security. This week, however, my (public state) university put everyone on 20% less pay because of a budget crisis at the the state level–and it’s not clear how long this will go on. So, a decision might be forced upon me. That’s partly why we were interested in whether it was easier to have the plug pulled for you rather than taking the step yourself.

        Thanks for responding. We’ll keep all this in mind as we figure out our next steps.

  38. Shan
    March 23, 2016 at 10:23 am

    congratulations!! inspiring! i started working recently and your blog, worksheets and tips are helpful. best

  39. Jon
    March 23, 2016 at 10:25 am

    Congrats! Having your hand forced oftentimes is the best outcome/motivator. Think of it as turning in this “winning lottery ticket” ( your term :) ) for a series of new, perhaps more lucrative ones. Your future is so bright…you may need a welding shield!

    • The Mad Fientist
      March 23, 2016 at 7:55 pm

      Haha, I definitely like the idea of trading up the winning lottery ticket :)

  40. Justin
    March 23, 2016 at 10:32 am

    Congrats on reaching this point in life where jobs are truly optional and you can do whatever you want to do. I’m excited to see what the Mad FIentist has up his sleeve (and to hear all about the big around the world trip in September!).

  41. Dwight Barker
    March 23, 2016 at 10:33 am

    Reading this, I almost felt like the Future Me was writing to me. I am a telecommuter and software developer. I’m not ready to cut the cord, but there’s similarities. My situation is “too good to quit”, but also is getting irritating as my company grows and gets more “corporate.” At the moment, I’m holding my breath until 55 when I can withdraw from the 401k without penalty.

  42. Kevin
    March 23, 2016 at 10:35 am

    Congratulations Brandon! I’ve been following your story for quite some time and I’m excited to hear about the freedom you’ve earned for yourself! You’re an inspiration to us all. Looking forward to reading more about this transition!

  43. Mr. Thriftyskate
    March 23, 2016 at 10:37 am

    Congratulations! Did you tell your employer the decision yet?

    Keep us updated on how that goes. Interested to know if it truly is an ultimatum on their part. Either way, you’ve got the power of FI.

    Still working on building our leverage pile of money to the point where I can make alternate work arrangements with my employer.

    • The Mad Fientist
      March 23, 2016 at 8:02 pm

      When they gave me the ultimatum last month, I told them that it was extremely unlikely I would move back but they gave me until April to “think about it more”. So I’ll likely be making it official within the next week or two but they should already have a good idea what I’m going to say.

  44. Rose
    March 23, 2016 at 10:40 am

    Sweetness – you did it!
    Congrats, I’m so glad to hear this blog will continue to exist.
    Better yet, you will address the questions I’ve only begun to struggle with.
    (Short time lurker via MMM – still trying to figure it all out)

  45. Richelle
    March 23, 2016 at 10:41 am

    Congrats!! I’m so happy for you and can’t wait to hear what’s next. Thank you for motivating those of us still on the journey!

  46. Jonathan
    March 23, 2016 at 10:47 am

    Congrats! As a software/web guy myself, I look forward to seeing what you’ve been coding up. :)

  47. jlcollinsnh
    March 23, 2016 at 10:48 am

    Never accept calls from bosses. ;)

    A lot can happen between now and August.

    I expect a July post about how sticking to your guns resulting in a change in policy. LOL

    • Chad @ CoachCarson
      March 23, 2016 at 11:15 am

      I was thinking the same thing, Jim. I think that F-you money could show it’s power even more with a change of HR policy:)

    • TheHappyPhilosopher
      March 24, 2016 at 11:22 am

      jlcollinsnh: Awesome video by the way. I tried to post a comment on your site, but I was told I was spam :(

      • jlcollinsnh
        March 24, 2016 at 11:28 am

        Thanks HP!

        It was great fun to do and has gotten a great response.

        Sorry you couldn’t get your comment up. I checked my spam filter and don’t see you there.

        I hope you’ll try again!

        • TheHappyPhilosopher
          March 24, 2016 at 11:44 am

          “Your comment was identified as spam by our spam protection tool. If this was an error please contact us via email.”

          This is the message I get when trying to post a comment on your site.

          MF: Sorry to turn your comment section into an internet chat forum! You can delete this, I just wanted to let jlcollinsnh know about this.

  48. Ryan
    March 23, 2016 at 10:51 am

    Mad Fientist! I wanted to let you know I’m a new-er fan, have been subscribed for a while now. I recently listened to your podcast interview with J Money and Paula Pant on their show (it was an older episode). It was really insightful – thank you for doing that interview. And congratulations on your next step – you have been an inspiration for our family thus far, and I’m looking forward to more great updates from you going foward! Best of luck.

  49. Chanaka
    March 23, 2016 at 11:03 am


  50. Elephant Eater
    March 23, 2016 at 11:15 am

    Happy for you and for selfish reasons as I’m looking forward for more MF content!

  51. Chad @ CoachCarson
    March 23, 2016 at 11:16 am

    Congrats and thanks for sharing the news. It’s really cool to see how all of the planning and hard work pays off in a real situation like this.

    I’m selfishly excited that you’ll spend even more time on MadFientist. Can’t wait to see what you’re coding up, and I’m looking forward to more great posts.


  52. Seeking Saturdays
    March 23, 2016 at 11:23 am

    That’s great news Mad Fientist! At least you got an extra 2 years out of the deal and more vacation time yet to come. Just hearing this makes me feel better about the path you’ve inspired us to be on. It’ll be cool to see more updates! Good luck!

  53. Michael
    March 23, 2016 at 11:26 am

    Congrats!! All of us crave certainty at some level so it is not surprising that sometimes it takes a little push from the outside to get us living the lives we truly desire.

    • Steve
      March 23, 2016 at 11:44 am

      Congrats! I appreciate all the posts. I’m betting in the fall they call and beg you to come back as a much higher paid consultant

  54. Matt
    March 23, 2016 at 11:31 am

    Huge congratulations, Brandon! I think you’ll find work-free life even better than FI life with your ideal job.

  55. Drew
    March 23, 2016 at 11:39 am

    Awesome news! Couldn’t be happier for you and your family! I look forward to the same feelings of excitement and unfounded worries in a few years when my wife and I are comfortably past FI.

  56. Jim @ Route To Retire
    March 23, 2016 at 11:49 am

    Congratulations! At least you’re in a position where you had been planning beforehand. A lot of people would be up a creek if they found themselves in this situation.

    Enjoy the next leg of your journey!

    — Jim

  57. George
    March 23, 2016 at 11:58 am

    I’m new to your site and FI although I wish I had learned about this many years ago. My wife and I are both 46 and have three kids (11 – 15).
    We’ve made many changes in our lifestyle to try and achieve FI in the next 5-8 years.

    One area that I haven’t been able to find much information on is where are some of the best places to live for FI. We have lived in the Chicago suburbs our whole lives. Although there are many friends, family, jobs, and roots here we often dream of a less expensive (and warmer) place to live. I work in the IT field and manage teams of systems engineers. I can do my job from any location.
    Let me know if there already any articles on best places to live for FI.

    • The Mad Fientist
      March 23, 2016 at 8:10 pm

      A place where you have friends, family, and roots is hard to beat so definitely don’t move somewhere else just for the money or weather!

      We found out the hard way when we moved to the perfect climate in Vermont (we love winter) but were miserable because we were far away from everyone we love (see

  58. Jane
    March 23, 2016 at 12:01 pm

    Congratulations. You’ve been shot out of your orbit with this news and, believe me, you’ll never look back. Not ever.

  59. John
    March 23, 2016 at 12:21 pm

    Congratulations! Time to put all your efforts into action and enjoy the fruits of your labor! Hopefully I’m not too many years behind you!

  60. Martin
    March 23, 2016 at 12:25 pm

    Congratulations The Mad Fientist!

    I feel excited reading your experience. Looking forward to more updates in future on the cool projects you planned, especially those involve coding.

  61. Craig
    March 23, 2016 at 12:26 pm

    Congratulations! Thanks for sharing the feelings that you had immediately after hearing the news. I know this will be the hardest part for me, having the emotional strength to make such a big move as walking away from a great job.

  62. Raina
    March 23, 2016 at 12:28 pm

    New chapter!!! Congrats. As many have mentioned, selfishly excited for us readers too. You are doing such great work here, thank you. Early withdraw tax strategies! Can’t wait! ;)

  63. Fred
    March 23, 2016 at 12:36 pm

    This post was an interesting experiment in human psychology. Despite having set up yourself for years to be FI, the initial shock of the news from your employer kept you up at night with thoughts of worry and uncertainty. I’m no shrink, but would assume that there are a few things going on: 1) the surprise of the news, 2) a feeling of rejection and 3) the feeling of a lack of control. (1) and (2) are just part of the human psyche and there’s no getting around them. The (3) lack of control is felt because your employer forced the timing of your termination, not you. Of course, now that you have had time to ruminate on this, you realize you do have control…because of your FI prowess and planning.

    Your rationale, logical, side emerges in the end, and you know your are in a good place. However, one can never underestimate one’s emotional side (even the Madfientist!). And controlling (ignoring?) the emotional side of life is a huge part of working towards FI – ignoring the fluctuations of the stock market, controlling impulse spending, etc…

    In any case, I love your blog and appreciate you sharing the news. All the best in this exciting year, 2016! We all look forward to hearing about it :-).

    • The Mad Fientist
      March 23, 2016 at 8:21 pm

      I think you hit the nail on the head.

      1) I was definitely very surprised 2) I’ve never been fired or made redundant in my life so even though I could still move back to the US and keep my job, the fact that I’ll be forced to resign if I stay in the UK definitely felt like a form of rejection and it didn’t feel great 3) I’m a control freak and I love to plan everything out so having this decision and timing set by someone else didn’t sit well with me.

      I didn’t try to understand why I felt bad that first night but I really think your comment laid it out perfectly so thanks for diving a bit deeper for me!

    • Financial Samurai
      June 20, 2016 at 12:45 am

      It really is the lack of control. Everybody wants to go out on their own terms, as did I. Being able to tell my boss that I was willing to get laid off if we could come to a severance package agreement was THE catalyst to kiss a 13 year career in finance goodbye. All anybody wants is the ability to choose.

  64. LBT
    March 23, 2016 at 12:46 pm

    From the first time I heard you on a podcast, I’ve wanted to kick you out of that job. It’s seemed so evident in your voice that you would jump at the chance to give it up if fear if the unknown wasn’t holding you back. Your future is so bright you’ll have to wear shades!

  65. Wb
    March 23, 2016 at 12:49 pm

    Terrific news. I’m so relieved, i thought your headline meant no more blog, but it’s the opposite! I look forward to your future adventures.

    • Raina
      March 24, 2016 at 1:41 am

      Hahahaha, I had the same terrible thought when I saw the first line in my email box! Just so you know it’s all about us Brandon. LOL

  66. Mr. PTM
    March 23, 2016 at 1:03 pm

    You lost your job, hooray!

    That’s a seldom used phrase I imagine. Congrats on being freed up to pursue…anything. I’m curious though, if they flip-flopped and came back to you with an offer of a 1099 position, would you take it?

    • The Mad Fientist
      March 23, 2016 at 8:22 pm

      It’d have to be a really sweet offer!

  67. JT
    March 23, 2016 at 1:07 pm

    Big time Congratz! I can’t wait for this day to come for me and I hope it happens exactly like this (or even better, with a severance package!)

  68. Mandy
    March 23, 2016 at 1:17 pm

    I put in my notice as a Engineer at a fortune 500 company about a week and a half ago. I will be leaving the industry to become a Peace Corps Volunteer. I will be working (at what is known as the hardest job you’ll ever love) and working to teach the kids in my area about engineering, science and math. Even though I will be doing this and I’m in my early 30’s, I’m calling my early departure from work a retirement. I will be doing what I want to be doing where I want to be doing it, and to me, that’s retirement. I’m financially independent, and won’t need to work for money for the rest of my life if I don’t want to unless I have a huge shift in my lifestyle (currently a single, childless person, which could change for a few more year). The internet retirement police may not agree, but I’m okay with that, since I’m so content in my retirement.

    • The Mad Fientist
      March 23, 2016 at 8:26 pm

      Congratulations, Mandy! Hope the transition goes smoothly for you and please let me know what you think of the Peace Corps once you get settled

  69. Kendra
    March 23, 2016 at 1:19 pm

    Congratulations!!! This is such an exciting time! All of your hard work is paying off!

  70. theFIREstarter
    March 23, 2016 at 1:55 pm

    I have a feeling you’ll end up looking back on this thinking that obtuse HR and legal ruling has done you a massive, massive favour ;)

    All the best for your new life, hoping to join you in a few years time :)

  71. Marla
    March 23, 2016 at 1:58 pm

    Congratulations my friend! Retirement couldn’t happen to a nicer (or better prepared) guy!

    In terms of some other comments regarding redundancy and severance, make sure you take care of yourself from a legal perspective. When I was “restructured” out of a job (offered a lower level job instead) I sued and won proving “constructive dismissal”. Their ultimatum sounds like constructive dismissal and potentially 5 months of severance to me. Might be worth a chat with a labor lawyer. #niceguysfinishfirst

    • The Mad Fientist
      March 23, 2016 at 8:30 pm

      Thanks, Marla :)

      We’ll definitely have to chat more about this at Camp Mustache, since I’ll have the full picture by then.

  72. Brian - Rental Mindset
    March 23, 2016 at 1:59 pm

    Congrats, having a forcing function sometimes helps!

  73. John
    March 23, 2016 at 2:04 pm

    Congratulations! Your experience has a few similarities to my own. I was a self employed, freelancer who used a downturn in my clients work to exit from full time work. I felt I could a couple of years ago, but for whatever reason, I just kept going.

    It was a little scary at first (I retired 1/1/16 and the stock market proceeded to have the worst opening 10 day loss in history!), but I’ve adjusted pretty quickly. The stock market recovering helped a bit, too!

    Enjoy the change. You’re prepared.


  74. Adam
    March 23, 2016 at 2:22 pm


  75. Financial Nirvana Mama
    March 23, 2016 at 2:45 pm

    Very excited for your journey. Go with the flow, enjoy your new chapter in life.

  76. Stockbeard
    March 23, 2016 at 3:45 pm

    Congratulations… I think?
    It was not fully planned, but great that it happens pretty much at the right time for you. Some people might be inclined to call it luck, but you had paved the way to your financial independence a long time ago :)

  77. Dividend Growth Investor
    March 23, 2016 at 3:47 pm

    Congratulations Brandon! I wish you a great ER buddy! You deserve it!

  78. Distilled Dollar
    March 23, 2016 at 4:11 pm

    Congrats! Thanks for walking through that emotional rollercoaster as I’m sure it will be something many of us readers have to go through soon.

    Looking forward to what’s next for Mad Fientist!

  79. Lindsay @ the Notorious D.E.B.T.
    March 23, 2016 at 5:11 pm

    Congratulations! Something tells me that no matter what happens, you’ll be OK.

    Unless there’s bears. Bears will kill you.

    • The Mad Fientist
      March 23, 2016 at 8:31 pm

      Haha, I’ll do my best to avoid any bears :)

  80. Joseph
    March 23, 2016 at 5:11 pm

    YES! More of the best podcast episodes. This made my day.

  81. Wes
    March 23, 2016 at 5:52 pm

    Congratulations! You truly are a great source of knowledge and inspiration!

  82. Adventures with Poopsie
    March 23, 2016 at 6:30 pm

    Congratulations! That’s cool the decision was made for you and that after the intial unease, you’re excited about it!

    Can’t wait to hear about the upcoming trip!

  83. The Personal Economist
    March 23, 2016 at 6:52 pm

    Congrats, what a milestone! Quite funny they didn’t actually realise where you were!
    Look forward to the next adventures!
    Btw I love your podcast so hopefully this means more time for podcasts

  84. Linda
    March 23, 2016 at 6:59 pm

    Congratulations! That’s awesome! I have to say I’m super excited for more frequent posts from you. Your blog is one of my favorites!

  85. Matt
    March 23, 2016 at 7:02 pm

    I am subscribed to the Mad Fientist emails, and when I saw the subject line I thought the following: “YES.”

  86. Anne
    March 23, 2016 at 7:17 pm

    A rewarding and satisfying moment for you! Congratulations. I rely on and use your spreadsheet and other mathematical but clear, illustrative, helpful articles. I am thrilled to hear and see more!

  87. The Mad Fientist
    March 23, 2016 at 7:22 pm

    Before I dive in and start answering some of the questions people had, I just wanted to thank everyone for the kind messages that I’ve been receiving all day!

    Mad Fientist readers really are the best so thanks very much for the support and for making my journey to FI so enjoyable :)

  88. Isaac
    March 23, 2016 at 7:52 pm

    A Happy Ending (and new beginning) for the Mad Fientist! This was probably the best case scenario for you, as I don’t think you would have ever truly brought yourself to quitting

    Seriously, you’ve changed SO MANY lives, and the fact that you’ll be contributing even MORE to the FI community is very exciting

    Thanks for all you do!

  89. Thom H.
    March 23, 2016 at 9:01 pm

    Awesome…just simply awesome…

  90. Cyndy
    March 23, 2016 at 9:56 pm

    Congratulations! It’s about time! ;) I never enjoyed my job, so for me the second I thought I might have enough saved, I was going to quit, which I did at the end of January. So I’m really looking forward to your posts on withdrawal strategies.

    My biggest ER concern is the always growing cost of health insurance and medical expenses, especially if the ACA gets repealed and nothing else put in its place. I’m 49, so my insurance is by far the biggest monthly expense that I have. I think you’ve covered HSAs before, but if you have any other ideas on this topic, that is one that I would like to read about. Probably less of an issue for you living in the UK. Maybe that will eventually be my solution too: move to a country with more affordable health care.

  91. Tissue King
    March 23, 2016 at 11:11 pm

    Any bit of nervousness??? This is a big step.

  92. Martin
    March 24, 2016 at 3:05 am

    Great news MF! This is a great motivation for me since I am in a similar position (maybe just a little behind) with no reason to leave my job, I still need to work on my stash’ so when similar situation arrives – I will handle it like any other day :) Looking forward to meet you in Budapest soon :)

  93. Ray
    March 24, 2016 at 3:13 am

    Congratulations!! Exciting news, looking forward to your future blog posts and articles. Thanks for helping the rest of us who are still trying to get to FI.

  94. Terry
    March 24, 2016 at 8:37 am

    Congratulations!!!!!!!!!!!!! Wishing all the best on the next leg of your journey.
    Thank you for your great posts and keep them coming :)

  95. Believe Fire
    March 24, 2016 at 10:45 am

    Congrats, Mad Fientist! I know you weren’t expecting it, but the nudge towards something you were already prepared for is a huge win. We look forward to what you have in store for this blog and your other endeavors.

  96. TheHappyPhilosopher
    March 24, 2016 at 11:18 am

    F-U money is the best isn’t it? Congrats on living your dream man.

  97. Elizabeth
    March 24, 2016 at 11:54 am

    Congrats, Brandon!!!! You totally got this.

    I was just let go because of a work remote position and given 4+ months of severance. We were waffling FOR YEARS on whether or not to do the early retirement for me (to stay at home with our 2 young kids), but it was so lucrative and I worked from home and difficult to pull the trigger. I always felt like my employer would have to push me out and now they’ve done it. Now, I can’t even imagine being that committed to have a J-O-B with my 2 children. It’s a crazy feeling but so much fun.

    They may come up with another option for you….so I am not gonna say you are done (yet). LOL

  98. JourneytoLaunch
    March 24, 2016 at 1:30 pm

    Wow, that’s awesome! I often think it would be so much easier if my employer laid me off rather than me making the decision to quit since that means all the responsibility for leaving will rest all on me. It’s almost as if, it would feel better if I didn’t have an option vs having the option.

    I’m not quite ready to pull the plug yet financially but once I am, I will own my power and pull the trigger in 7 years.

  99. Emily @ evolvingPF
    March 24, 2016 at 3:25 pm

    Congratulations! You milked a couple extra years out of a job you enjoy on better terms than what you had before. That’s really a win all around. Instead of wondering how you would choose to end this arrangement, they chose it for you – less stress for you! Congratulations on all the great things on your horizon!

  100. Chris
    March 24, 2016 at 6:05 pm

    Congratulations!! So glad to read this wonderful news; made my day!

    Re: ideas for future posts – I’d love to see some advice about withdrawal, 401k/IRA – Roth IRA conversion, and social security strategies for retirees who are at traditional retirement age (my parents are about to retire, and I’m trying to figure out how to optimize their finances). Best of luck with the retirement!

  101. W*
    March 24, 2016 at 6:07 pm

    That’s awesome for you! Although my partner and I had similar plans of working remote for US-based companies as programmers while traveling the world… it hadn’t occurred to me that there might be some legal issues with that. Any suggestions on how we can “legally” travel/live abroad while working?

    • The Mad Fientist
      March 26, 2016 at 4:44 am

      You just have to have a work visa wherever you’re living and you need to make sure to pay taxes to the correct country or countries.

      I’m not sure what risks my employer is worried about but that’s pretty much all you need to do on an individual level.

      • Matt C
        April 12, 2016 at 4:52 pm

        On of the things your employer may be worried about is workers compensation coverage not extending to the UK. If you got injured while working in the UK their insurance carrier could deny coverage because the UK may not be covered on their policy. Your employer would have to take out a work comp policy that covers the UK just for you.

  102. Mr. 1500
    March 24, 2016 at 6:36 pm

    Right on baby. Onward and upward! Here’s to Life 2.0. Of Life .

    My liberation day may be pretty close to yours too…

    Raise a beer or 3 in San Diego or Ecuador!

    –> Which Macbook will you get when you have to turn your work one in?
    –> Will I get arrested if I try to smuggle Pliny to Ecuador?
    –> How the hell do I get an infinity symbol to appear here? Does this work: ∞

    • Mr. 1500
      March 24, 2016 at 6:37 pm

      Yes, it worked! I’m so happy! It doesn’t take much these days. Here are some bonus ones, just for youMF:

      • Mr. 1500
        March 24, 2016 at 6:39 pm

        Damn, first comment was supposed to read:

        Right on baby. Onward and upward! Here’s to Life 2.0. Of Life ∞

    • The Mad Fientist
      March 26, 2016 at 4:51 am

      Make it happen, Mr. 1500!

      To answer your questions….

      – I’m hoping I can figure out a way not to turn in my work one :)
      – No, definitely not but if you don’t want to risk it, we’ll be sure to pick up some of Ecuador’s craft beer – Latitude Cero!

      • Mr. 1500
        March 28, 2016 at 12:05 pm

        Latitude Cero! When in Rome…

  103. Kt
    March 24, 2016 at 7:27 pm

    Congratulations. You have been an amazing inspiration for me and my family. One suggestion (if possible) is to write about your financial (and tax) strategies for ex pats that do not live in the US. Best of luck. K

  104. Eric
    March 24, 2016 at 10:45 pm

    Congratulations. All changes in life, good and bad has difficulties. This one will to, but you will adjust and prosper as you are the MadFientist!!

  105. Jay A.
    March 25, 2016 at 12:54 am

    Congratulations, Mad Fientist!

    And thank you, once again, for posting both about what happened and how it made you feel.

    Do you think your employer might change their minds when they realize you’re willing to part ways instead of moving back to the US? If they do, do you know how you’ll respond? (I apologize if someone else asked this. I didn’t read the previous comments.)

  106. Liz A
    March 25, 2016 at 11:03 am

    Congratulations! I resigned last month and had similar feelings–years of financial preparation don’t quite prepare you for this. I love this: “I wouldn’t even go as far as saying I’ll never work for someone else again because if a company I admire offers me the opportunity to use my skills to make a bigger contribution than I would be able to make on my own, why wouldn’t I take advantage of that?” Can I steal it???

    • The Mad Fientist
      March 26, 2016 at 4:53 am

      It’s yours :)

      Congratulations on resigning, by the way!

  107. Prob8
    March 25, 2016 at 12:26 pm

    Well this is an interesting development for you. I can certainly relate to your “Oh Shit” thoughts. I have similar thoughts from time to time. I guess it’s hard to make the transition from having an income to living off your savings – even though the historical math says you have “enough.” Good to hear you are going to be writing more.

  108. EllDee
    March 25, 2016 at 9:13 pm

    How wonderful! Best of luck to you in this new phase of your life. I’ve really enjoyed your articles and appreciate the time you’ve spent sharing your knowledge. I’m looking forward to hearing about your new schemes!

  109. Andrew
    March 26, 2016 at 4:19 pm

    Is your employer giving you any severence? A similar thing happened to me. I intended on quitting my job about 3 years ago to move away but they offered me to stay and work remotely which I did. After about 2.5 years of this they informed me that they really weren’t “set up” to having employees work from home so they’d have to let me go. No problem. At that point I was already planning on quitting in about 9 months so instead I got to leave after about 5 months with 4 months severance pay. Plus since they laid me off I qualified to collect unemployment benefits. I couldn’t have planned a better start to early retirement.

  110. Christine ward
    March 26, 2016 at 8:32 pm

    Good for you! Super excited to hear more from the Mad Fientist!

  111. Mr. FrugalEnginerds
    March 26, 2016 at 9:17 pm

    Congrats Mad Fientist! It’s a wonderful thing to know that you can do whatever you want without having to worry about money again. Looking forward to reading more posts from you. Oh, the wife and I just earned 50,000 mile points thanks to you, Alexi, and Brad.

  112. Nick
    March 31, 2016 at 10:02 am

    Congratulations, Brandon! I couldn’t be happier for you!

  113. Freedom 40 Guy
    April 3, 2016 at 7:44 pm

    Congratulations! Sounds like you already have some great plans and I’ll certainly be looking forward to more great content on the site and in the newsletter!

  114. BeSmartRich
    April 6, 2016 at 10:48 am

    Congrats! Yup. The time has finally come. I can’t wait to catch up with you though. Wait for me another 5 years or so.

  115. Mrs. SimplyFinanciallyFree
    April 8, 2016 at 12:02 pm

    I think congratulations are in order even though this was not planned. You have worked hard and now (in August) is your time to enjoy all of that hard work and savings. And starting it out with a trip around the world sounds simply amazing! Best of luck!

  116. Team CF
    April 14, 2016 at 7:37 am

    It feels really weird to type this out, but, congratulation on you job loss!
    Once it finally comes to a close, have fun travelling and executing all the fun projects that are currently stuck in your head.

  117. Mrs Smelling Freedom
    April 23, 2016 at 6:42 am

    Congratulations! Jumping off a cliff is hard, even with a top-of-the-range paraglider to help you navigate your way safely back to ground. So it’s useful to be pushed sometimes. Enjoy your early retirement and have a great trip!

  118. Nate
    April 23, 2016 at 4:09 pm

    Looking forward to more posts. enjoy your time. You’re one of the sites that helped my wife and I get our finances together, so she can stay home with our kids next year

  119. Sharp
    April 26, 2016 at 4:05 pm

    Congrats! Hadn’t checked into your blog in a year or so and am delighted with your progress. I pulled the plug on my 18 years of employment late last year, kind of hoping they would offer some sort of contract work, but now glad they didn’t. I “moved” my family of 4 from the Silicon Valley all the way to your neck of the woods in Edinburgh for a ~15 month vacation of sorts… something my wife had wanted to do for years (i.e. she was fully on board)… Enjoying our financial freedom here.

  120. Financial Samurai
    June 20, 2016 at 12:46 am

    Congrats Brandon! Welcome to the club! I think you’ll find there are a TON of folks just like us who are surviving just fine without a corporate job anymore. It’s a pretty good support network!


  121. Dory
    June 24, 2016 at 11:26 pm

    A belated Congratulations to you, just saw this now! Hope everything leading up to and after August 1st, goes well! Thanks for all that you share; making FI something to strive for and hopefully reach! Yay!

  122. Mr Crazy Kicks
    July 31, 2016 at 7:15 am

    Leaving a career you have mastered at a company you enjoy might seem like a waste, but think of all the other talents you can now develop. The world is your oyster. Congratulations, and I am looking forward to reading whatever you cook up next!

  123. Nina
    August 5, 2016 at 5:35 pm

    So happy for you! I bet you’ll soon be earning more from your side project than you ever did from your regular job…awesome things are in store. Congratulations!!

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