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These people left their jobs behind to retire early — then life got in the way. Here’s how they coped with FIRE plans gone wrong

Gwen Merz, 28, is doing something she thought she’d never have to do again: hunt for a job.

Earlier in her 20s, she set a goal to “retire” from full-time work at age 35, but she later decided to move that date up to 27.

She wasn’t going to “retire” completely, but work flexibly after quitting her job. At that time, she planned to move to Minneapolis to be with her boyfriend. She saved more than $130,000 in a 401(k), about $25,000 in a Roth IRA and kept $20,000 in cash. She also had about $5,000 in a taxable investment account and $10,000 in a health savings account.

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