Goodbye SAHD FIRE, Hello Barista FIRE

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Hey everyone. I have an announcement to make. Heh heh. The announcement always means trouble, especially at the dining table. But this isn’t a huge deal. I’m planning to work a bit more to raise some money. It’s time to say goodbye to SAHD FIRE and hello to Barista FIRE. It’s a step backward, but a temporary one. You’re probably a bit confused if you’re new to the FIRE community. Let me explain…


What is SAHD FIRE? That’s me! I retired from my engineering career to become a stay-at-home dad/blogger. My wife (Mrs. RB40) is still working because she isn’t ready to retire yet. This is a great arrangement because we have healthcare coverage and can invest more every year.  

So how is this different than being a SAHD in a single-income household?

  • Our passive income is enough to cover our expenses. All of Mrs. RB40’s income goes toward savings.
  • Mrs. RB40 can retire if she wants to. Fortunately, she still enjoys her job. She plans to retire when our son goes off to college.
  • I make some income from blogging.

The IRP (internet retirement police) says this isn’t FIRE, but whatever. I don’t care what they say. Being a stay-at-home parent was very difficult with a baby, but it got much easier when our son started school. It is quite easy now to be a SAHD.

Being a SAHD took up a ton of time when our son was young. RB40Jr and I spent all day together. I barely had any time to blog. However, the time commitment has been steadily decreasing. RB40Jr needed much less attention now that he is in 6th grade. He goes to catch the bus by himself and I don’t need to meet him at the bus stop anymore. He leaves around 8:30 am and comes home at 4:30 pm. Now I have a ton of time to myself. 

The other part of the equation is blogging. I spend 10-15 hours per week on this blog. It’s about the right amount of time. If I work much more than this, I’d probably get burned out. Also, I think blogging is dying. These days, there are too many things competing for your attention. Traffic is decreasing and I don’t think it will improve. I’ll continue blogging because I still enjoy it. My online income probably will continue to decrease along with the traffic.

Is it time to come out of retirement and look for a job? This is where Barista FIRE comes in.

Barista FIRE

What is Barista FIRE? Basically, you work hard and invest for a while. Once your portfolio can cover most of your expenses, you quit your day job and work part-time to make up the rest. Here we have Barry, the IT guy.

  1. Figure out Barry’s annual expenses. Barry spends $60,000 per year.
  2. Save up. Barry worked in IT for many years and built a $1,000,000 portfolio. He can withdraw 4% every year. That’s $40,000.
  3. Quit IT and work enough to cover the gap. In this case, Barry needs to make at least $20,000 per year after taxes. He can quit his unfulfilling IT job and reinvent himself as Barry, the barista.

Barista FIRE shortens the time to retirement. Normally, Barry needs to have $1,500,000 in his portfolio to generate $60,000 per year. By working part-time, he can fill in the gap. Once he reaches full retirement age, he’ll have Social Security Benefits to replace his part-time income. Serving coffee to a bunch of ungrateful customers isn’t appealing to me, but maybe Barry is a coffee aficionado. Barry can do what he likes.

Why change?

Life has been great for me since I retired from my engineering career. Why change? Well, life changed. RB40Jr grew so he doesn’t need me as much. Soon he’ll be a teenager and won’t need me at all.

These days, I’m free from 9 am to 4 pm. That’s a lot of free time. I work on the blog, do errands, fix various things around the house, play video games, and watch TV. That’s all fine, but I’ve been feeling listless. Being a productive member of society might improve my mood. Who knows?

Another reason why I want to work is … money. We are doing well financially and can still save. But I want to raise some money to build my beach cabin. My mom has a small plot of land in Bang Saen, a beach town in Thailand. I want to build a small beach cabin there. A rustic beach house would cost at least $30,000. I could sell some stocks, but it’s bad timing right now. I’d rather work a bit and leave our investment to grow. This isn’t urgent so I have time to find some money.

Part-time work

I think working a few hours per day would be good for me. It’ll provide some structure and broaden my social life. The news told me unemployment is still very low. It shouldn’t be too difficult to find a part-time job. I’ll start my search after spring break. Here are some ideas.

  • Post office. The post office is looking for part-time workers. I think delivering mail might be a good fit. I’ll get some exercise and don’t have to deal with coworkers much.
  • Gig apps. This will be a good fit for me. I have time during the day. I can deliver lunch, walk the dog, or something like that.
  • Trader Joe’s. They are always hiring. It seems like a fun place to work. I might not be able to deal with a manager, though. My tolerance for being managed is extremely low.
  • School bus driver. There is a big shortage of school bus drivers. But this sounds like a full-time job. I need to look into it more. The timing probably won’t work for me.
  • Bank teller. I heard being a part-time bank teller is an easy gig. Although, I’ll have to dress up for this job. I don’t have any work clothes so it might be a deal breaker.

Alright, that’s all I got today. Talking about work is tiring already.

Do you have any suggestions? What kind of part-time job can a former SAHD do? I don’t want to work more than 20 hours per week and I’m only available from 9 am to 4 pm on the weekdays. Oh, I want to work 2-3 hours per day max.

 *Can you retire early? Use Empower’s free Retirement Planner to figure it out. It’s flexible to account for Barista FIRE or SAHD FIRE. Check it out! (Previously Personal Capital.)

Disclosure: We may receive a referral fee if you signup for a service through the links on this page.

Image credit: Benjamin DeYoung

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Joe started Retire by 40 in 2010 to figure out how to retire early. After 16 years of investing and saving, he achieved financial independence and retired at 38.

Passive income is the key to early retirement. This year, Joe is investing in commercial real estate with CrowdStreet. They have many projects across the USA so check them out!

Joe also highly recommends Personal Capital for DIY investors. They have many useful tools that will help you reach financial independence.

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