When a divorce ruins your FIRE plan

Yes, I am in the middle of a divorce. And that s#cks.

On all levels and deeper than I thought it would.

When you make your FIRE plan, you pay yourself first, you plan for the sequence of return risk, you read about the 4pct rule and all other math driven aspects.

We were aligned on why we wanted FIRE, what we were willing to adjust in our life. The spreadsheet model gave us some milestones to track progress.

The model did not factor in a divorce.

Would you be looking for juicy details on the what, why, how and who, then I have to disappoint you. You will not find that here. I do not plan to share details.

It is cynical how we get along better now that the divorce is on the table. It tends to happen. And I am thankful for that. Having parents that still get along well is key for children. And we are aligned that the interest of our children should drive our actions. It also helps when working out the details.

So, where does that leave me with FIRE?

I have no clue.

I am currently without a compass, sailing blind on sea in the middle of a storm. No FIRE in sight.

One of the key elements for a FIRE plan is to understand your expenses. And that is something I have not yet. I guesstimate it will take a year to get an idea what life costs on your own, having half of the time the children and be “free” the other half of the time.

A lot will happen. Building a new life in the weeks that I will be alone comes with a budget that I can not guesstimate for now.

Not to mention that I will be living too big half of the time.

By the year end, I should have a view on my assets end net worth. That is a start. I will rebuild a plan from there.

In the mean time, I plan to share so thoughts on some decisions I took along the way with regards to housing, cars,… You will notice that a lot of these decisions are not math based. They are based on the interest of my kids and my will to take certain actions.

One clear downside is that it is harder to join meetups. I plan to be as much as possible available for my kids the week that they are with me. And they are to young to join me.


CU later









25 thoughts on “When a divorce ruins your FIRE plan

  1. My best whishes ATL. We met in the Leuven meetup last February, and I had a very good impression. What a pity that you have to rearrange your life. Please keep your sense of humour 🙂


  2. Man, that really sucks. For this reason I recommend having your investments incorporated (unless you are in a retirement account which doesn’t allow it), then your company will be a separate entity and not included in your divorce fight and money division (unless your soon to be ex was a part of the company, then it would suck anyway).
    I wish you good luck and hope this will get by fast without any significant damage.


  3. Since you said you still get along: have you consider having the parents switch houses and the children staying put?
    This would solve the house that is too big half of the time.
    Another possibility is to co-house with another divorced parent that has their children the other weeks.

    Just some thoughts, as fire enthusiast we have to think out of the box.

    Good thing you have your prorities right: the happiness of your children. Good luck.


  4. Wow, my heart goes out to you. I don’t know you and we have never met, but if there is anything I can do within my power to do just reach out as I’d be glad to assist in any way.


  5. Holy shit, ATL 😦
    A divorce is one of my worst nightmares, and you’re living it for real.
    I’m here to offer help, a shoulder, a beer (virtual and physical we happen to meet)
    Good luck with it, friend!


  6. Sorry to hear that. I understand as my plan was upset greatly as well. The good news is that you will be able to move forward on your plan without having to always consult a partner. For goodness sakes, dont put yourself in a position again that will allow another person to determine your financial outcome.


  7. Hi ATL,

    interesting to read your more personal blogs and sorry to read about your troubles. I sort of recognize part of it: my ex and I made plans for the (long-term) future and there was talk of turning our apartments into ‘assets’ and buying a third house for us to live together. I hoped renting out my apartment would mean being able to work less and have more quality-time. He however, was not as much into FIRE as I am and it did not work out between us. My situation is easier, as we both had our own houses and no kids (on my side at least), so splitting up was not quite so messy. It does mean, however, all my options are open again and the future I thought I had is off the table. I therefore agree with Joe’s comment: I’m really glad I followed my own path stoically money-wise. In retrospect, I thank the universe for my stubbornness and keeping my own (financial) goals in sight. Of course, life can change and new people might come (and go), but I’ve now learned even more so it’s good to always keep an eye on my own (financial) independence. I’ve also learned a bit more about which type of people I want to allow in my circle. Pursuing FIRE is not just about the financial lessons for me, it definitely has an impact on my entire way of living and my world views. I wish you the best and hope to read more about your path.

    – Zus B


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