Is FIRE in the midwest a dead end?

New cjFs53
Jul 15 29 Comments

I am currently working as an engineer at Amazon in Minneapolis, TC 230k, 5 yoe. I have a cozy soon-to-be paid-off apartment, and am by most measures set. I could keep on this path for less than ten more years and probably have enough saved to FIRE, in this location at least.

I have a nagging feeling despite this that I will have wasted my life if I stay here. I lived in the bay for a few years and mostly loved the energy, leaving only to try something new and to escape the high COL.

I guess I'm wondering if anyone has any experience with this scenario. Did you follow the FIRE path and feel like it was ultimately an empty pursuit? Is it better to struggle and live financially precariously in a place like the bay but challenge yourself?

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TOP 29 Comments
  • Amazon y33tcode
    Go travel. If you really hate MN after that, then leave, but 230k in that area is really good money, and you'll see even more if you get L6 probably.

    Basically you just proved that you can FIRE in short order, so what exactly is a dead end?
    Jul 15 6
    • Amazon y33tcode
      Ok- what is your full potential? A lot of people are on this site, working in SV, just polishing UsefulServiceClientFactory. Some people at Google have mentioned that all they do is change configs and play hot potato passing around the protobuf. You don't need to go to SV for meaningful work, if you really want to reach your "full potential", then perhaps try going into business for yourself?
      Jul 15
    • Amazon / Eng beebott
      What do you consider meaningful work? You have 5 YOE and at L5 the scope is limited to whatever you can crank out in code. It seems like you have many years to learn and grow into bigger scope and impact. Maybe you need to move to a bigger tech market to find it, but it's possible that it's sitting in front of you. It's easy to be blinded by the immediacy of churning out value as an L5 and miss the big picture.
      Jul 15
    • Amazon / Eng beebott
      Also it seems like you don't know what you want, FIRE or meaningful work. I've always thought the concepts were mutually exclusive during the years you save for your target - high comp takes precedence over everything including personal happiness. Seems like you are trying to find out what will make you happy by dabbling in different ideas that aren't compatible.
      Jul 15
    • New cjFs53
      OP
      Yeah that makes sense. Full potential is a loaded, kinda childish thing to say I shoulda thought a bit deeper there.

      Thanks for the comments though I appreciate it. I think I am getting ahead of myself, and should just focus hard on my work here for a while before I consider whether or not I'm limited.
      Jul 15
    • New cjFs53
      OP
      Yeah no you nailed it with the last comment. I don't know what I want. Airing out my crisis on Blind for all to see.
      Jul 15
  • FIRE is a tricky concept because what you do after you retire has to be fulfilling enough to replace whatever you were doing before and whatever you sacrificed to get there. And there’s always a risk that something unexpected will happen and you won’t even get to that point.

    If you felt fulfilled by work/life in the Bay, maybe it’s worth going back.
    Jul 15 1
    • New cjFs53
      OP
      Yeah that is basically my thinking right now. All things considered, money aside, I was happier in the bay. But acting on that impulse might be something I deeply regret in a decade when I'm still struggling to get by out there.
      Jul 15
  • IBM / Eng namastayyy
    I'm in NYC would love to live in bum fuck no where with high TC
    Jul 15 6
    • IBM / Eng namastayyy
      it was shit I already left but still TC low
      Jul 15
    • GrubHub grubster
      A lot of people move from NYC to Chicago for exactly that reason. Similar density and culture, much much lower prices and taxes.
      Jul 15
    • IBM zeLF33
      @compass
      Band 6 - 100k
      Band 7 - 130k
      Band 8 - 160k
      No bonuses, very little stock in the 2nd year if you are lucky
      Jul 15
    • Compass someguy851
      wtf 130 tc for a public company???
      Jul 16
    • Capital One
      kokaVille

      Capital One

      BIO
      Hello, I like turtles.
      kokaVillemore
      If you want a cheaper place to live that isn't completely rural or even remotely rural, consider Dallas, Atlanta, Chicago, Tampa, Austin. Pretty much the South.
      Jul 16
  • eBay
    seat

    eBay

    BIO
    Why did you click on me 😡
    seatmore
    Minneapolis is a cool city
    Jul 15 2
    • New cjFs53
      OP
      Yeah it is! More cool in some ways than the bay tbh. I could see it really being a buzzing place in the future with all the work the city is doing. It's just a bit sleepy right now, especially on the tech front.
      Jul 15
    • eBay
      seat

      eBay

      BIO
      Why did you click on me 😡
      seatmore
      If you go down to Rochester, that’s a world class biotech city
      Jul 15
  • Google wkkjy
    250k seems like a lot for Minneapolis. How much are SFH near good schools worth?
    Jul 15 1
    • New cjFs53
      OP
      You can get a starter home for <200k, or a very nice home in a good neighborhood for 200-500k depending on how many sq ft you need.
      Jul 15
  • Snapchat Tonban
    Fortunately in our industry you can launch your own ideas from practically anywhere. The only reason for coming to Bay Area could be weather.
    Jul 15 0
  • Google fangu
    Why do you want to join the rat race that is the bay area? Once you come here, you'll soon find out there are several engineers earning much more than with a higher title, and same YOE as you. It has more to do with luck and the situation(hyper growth of team can cause the junior members to become very senior very fast) then anything else. Enjoy your life in Minneapolis, save up and make some great investments.
    Jul 15 0
  • Facebook nso701
    Once you reach your fire target then you are basically free. Go live in the Bay Area or whatever you want to do and as long as you aren’t eating into savings you can always go back if you burn out.
    Jul 15 1
    • Target / Cust. Srv. tmDe33
      ^^^
      Jul 15
  • Facebook Otty26
    How much are you planning on saving ?
    Jul 15 1
    • New cjFs53
      OP
      Paid off home plus a clean 1m should be more than enough around here.
      Jul 15
  • Meetup q73smt
    It depends what you want.

    Sometimes you want to be swept up in the energy of a place, you want it to be a character in your life, you want to ride a wave that is bigger than yourself. You probably need to be in a high energy city.

    Sometimes you want everything else to get the F out of the way. You are on a mission and you don’t need constant distractions and obstacles. Maybe your mission is raising a family or starting a solo project. You will probably be happier in a low key location.

    When you FIRE, you’re taking on more responsibility to make choices for yourself. You can’t blame “the job” for anything. It’s neither fulfilling or non-fulfilling. It’s what you make of it. And that level of responsibility for your own happiness can be scary for many people.
    Jul 16 0
  • E*Trade / Finance cbEV72
    I like where I am and would like to have enough money to stay here until the lights are out
    Jul 15 0