FI/RE (Financial Independence, Retire Early) is a growing concept that (if you have been reading this blog at all) you are probably aware of! But there are definitely some wondering what it is and what it means to be FIRE’d, so I am going to dig into that today!
I didn’t know much about the FIRE community/movement until a previous boss introduced me to the concept around 2016. When I brought it up to my friends/family, they told me the concepts sounded far fetched or even impossible.
But as a finance major, I enjoyed running numbers and thought that this could be a good opportunity for me to either prove this movement wrong, or realize how powerful it really is.
And, long story short, the FI/RE movement is the real deal and should be taken seriously! It has taken me years to figure it all out, and I am still learning new things out every day, but hopefully I can save you some time by giving you:
As more and more people realize that we don’t want to live the traditional timeline of SCHOOL > WORK FOR 60 YEARS > (MAYBE RETIRE) > DIE the idea of FIRE becomes more attractive.
Financial independence and early retirement means fundamentally achieving three things:
Level 1) Getting out of bad debt
Level 2) Spend less than you make, and invest the rest
Level 3) Live off of your investments, doing whatever you want
The FIRE model generally does not work if you are still in debt, mainly because of compound interest.
To hit the amount of money you need to get to level 3, living off of your investments, you need compound interest working IN your favor. When you are paying down debt, especially high interest credit card debt, you have compound interest working AGAINST you.
For a more in depth understanding of what FIRE is exactly, think about it in two parts.
FI = Financial Independence
RE = Retire Early
You can be financially independent without retiring early, and it is possible to retire early without being totally financially independent. And if you think about it, it makes sense. You just have to shift your mindset a bit.
What is retirement? Retirement (in the commonly understood sense) is achieved after working 60 years and finally being able to receive social security. Retirement in the FIRE sense is not having to trudge to work every morning and sit at a cubicle.
Retirement means waking up and pursuing whatever it is that YOU want to do. Whether that is build a business or weave baskets is up to you! (Even if social security goes broke!)
Usually in regard to FIRE, that level 3 early retirement stage is achieved after you have enough money invested to live off of 4% of the total balance every year. (Here is a very good, in depth explanation of why that is)
BUT some adventurous FIRErs have taken the plunge and jumped into entrepreneurship, part-time fun work, or other side hustles to shore up the extra funds necessary to live an early retirement lifestyle before they have that amount.
The other side of the FIRE coin, the FI portion, can be seen as generally having “F-U” money as JL Collins puts it in his blog/book. (LINKED HERE)
This F-U money is essentially having enough money in investments and savings where you can sustain your lifestyle for a while without having to work. This means that if there is something you don’t want to do for money, you don’t have to do it. Plain and simple.
No more having to work an unethical or immoral job just because of that paycheck. You can now pick what it is that you want to do because of FU money, giving you the option to choose. The ability to choose what YOU want (in all areas of life) is a core tenet of the FIRE movement.
-So you may be financially independent, but still working a typical job.
-You could be retired early, but working on a side hustle that you enjoy and brings you some amount of money.
This is a really incredible concept, and it has been a wonderful journey for me on my road to FI/RE so far. I am not FI yet, but should be within a few years of intense saving and investing.
I hope that this blog serves as a resource for you to learn more about saving, investing, and personal finance in general.
However, there are more established and frankly much smarter/more experienced people who have been doing this for WAY longer than I have. Here are a few resources that set me down the FIRE path and taught me some things along the way:
These are just a few of the many resources on FI/RE. There are so many minimalist, personal finance, and other blog types that also promote this type of lifestyle! Browse around and see which one resonates with you the most.
No matter which one you pick, please let me know if this sounds like something you would like to pursue or not and why! I look forward to hearing from you all :)
If you thought this was helpful, terrible, or somewhere in the middle, please leave me feedback in the form of a Direct Message on instagram @MakeDollarsAndSense, or feel free to send me an e-mail/text to the information on my Home Page. I truly appreciate constructive criticism and opposing views, so bring em on!
P.S. New blog posts coming your way every Monday!
I love books, so it is probably a natural progression that I have come to LOVE AUDIOBOOKS! Here is a link to a 30-day free trial to Audible, along with TWO free audiobooks of your choice. Don't like the service? No problem, they will let you cancel and you'll even get to keep the books you chose to try. Enjoy!