Some of the links in this post may be affiliate links. If you click a link and purchase an item I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. All opinions are my opinion. Read the full disclosure here.
FIRE is an acronym for Financial Independence, Retire Early.
It is a movement where the goal is to reach financial independence (by reaching a specific net worth) and retiring early (before the traditional retirement age).
However, FIRE is not one size fits all. There are many aspects of FIRE that people choose to adopt, but make it more suitable for their life.
Let’s start with the ‘RE’ side of it.
When people hear ‘retire early’ they automatically think of lazy, entitled young people who just don’t want to work. That is NOT the case here.
The idea behind this is that we want to live a life for ourselves, not for a 9-5 (unless you truly enjoy it of course).
FI in a general sense is having a portfolio worth 25x your annual expenses.
There are some people who reach a FI number and never need to make a dollar again to survive for the rest of their life. Many of them still work and earn money though, but on their own terms and/or projects.
But there are also FIRE people who can reach a point where they are FI, but still want to work on whatever they please. And with that money they earn they can continue to invest.
Let’s breakdown the types of FIRE:
Saving/investing enough money to live off of $100K+ per year without working.
Saving/investing enough money to live off a smaller amount (~$40K or so) per year without working.
Having enough money saved by a young age to reach FIRE at the traditional age without needing to invest anymore. However, still needing to work to cover expenses outside of investing (usually a low-stress job).
From The Fioneers: “When someone utilizes the incremental financial freedom they gain along the journey to financial independence to live happier and healthier lives, do better work, and build strong relationships.”
With Slow FI it may take you longer to reach FIRE, but you’re enjoying life a lot more along the way.
This is my goal.
On the other hand, some people prefer to work high-stress, high-paying jobs for a few years while investing heavily (50%+ of their income) in order to retire within 5 years or so.
There’s A LOT behind the FIRE Movement and that is what I love about it so much. It’s highly customizable and simple. The ability to do this is available to many people.
Even if you don’t think this is right for you, that you can’t do it, or you just don’t like it, I think it’s worth exploring.
Why you should learn more about FIRE
You can determine what’s possible
Did you even think you could retire before 65??
So many people think that’s not even possible, but it definitely is!
If you have a retirement plan in place, you can probably make some adjustments to retire sooner.
Instead of only investing 5%, what if you could get up to 30% or more?
Instead of spending all your money, how can you make it work for you?
Instead of dreading going to work for another 20+ years, what if you could leave in <10?
All these things come to the surface once you explore FIRE.
You will learn how to reduce your expenses/spending
This is so important just in general for healthy finances.
As I mentioned above, some people go really extreme by investing almost all of their income, riding their bikes everywhere, avoiding food out, avoiding travel, etc.
However, when you look into the FIRE movement you’ll see that most people have just determined what their priorities are.
Instead of buying clothes and shoes all the time, which don’t bring them happiness, they spend on things that are important to them.
You can live an amazing and very happy life with less. The FIRE movement usually promotes appreciation for the little things in life.
You will learn how to increase your income
Side hustles, passive income, and credit card hacking are all big things in the FIRE community.
Increasing your income allows you to pay off debt faster and invest more (allowing you to reach FI sooner).
There are so many interesting and fun ways to make money out there that you probably haven’t even heard of.
You will learn about saving/investing
Society tells us to save/invest 5-10% of our income. If you only invest that amount, you will probably be working for 40+ years.
With the FIRE movement, people are investing 50%+ of their income.
And your 401K and Roth IRA are not the only investments out there!
Outside of those methods, the FIRE community invests via a brokerage account in simple index funds. There’s no skill/trading necessary.
You educate yourself a bit on investing, put your money in, and let it grow.
Bigger Pockets Money
Personally, my goal is Slow FI or maybe even Coast FIRE. However, I’m technically “behind” since I have a negative net worth at 27.
BUT that is not going to stop me from going after FIRE.
I may not be able to retire by 30 or 35, but I should be able to by 40-45!
I promise you it’s worth it to look into. You will learn so much.