If you are like me you probably have multiple sources of information that come to your inbox daily, sometimes a little too much. Searching for “retirement” on the web you will see many articles on FIRE. What is FIRE and why are so many people talking about it? Well here are some thoughts…
We blogged a little about the FIRE movement a couple of weeks ago, however here is a recap, FIRE stands for Financial Independence Retire Early. The concept is generally credited to Mr. Money Moustache, a now blogger who left a full time career in his 30s, after achieving Financial Independence. He now lives a frugal lifestyle, blogging, taking on jobs as he wants, enjoying the outdoors, enjoying his family and living life. Mr. Moustache believes you can live a wonderful life if you are frugal and managing your savings. The FIRE lifestyle is not be for everyone, as not everyone has the high level of income required to save enough money to retire at such a young age, but the concepts of saving and living a frugal life are great lessons for all of us and our children.
I remain amazed by the amount of articles on the subject, and the number of haters. I am not sure why people get so caught up in the name F.I.R.E. Financial Independence as you know is foundational to the Victory Lap Lifestyle, so we are fans. Financial Independence should be a goal for young and old, what people do with this new found freedom, well we would call that lifestyle. Some people may continue to work while others may choose to leave their current career and move on to something else. Perhaps the haters are focused on the RE “Retire Early”, why would anyone leave work at 30, 40, 50? Well having financial freedom does not mean you have to leave work. In fact if you enjoy your work why leave? The answer is many probably would not. Not everyone that wins the lottery leaves their job. Early in our careers most of us found the world was our oyster, we were challenged we were getting promotions everything was great, work was a challenging interesting part of our life. However as our personal life changed so did our perception of work. Maybe we had children and wanted to spend more time with our children or the demands at work changed, more travel was required, etc. What decisions would we have made if we did not have to work, how freeing and less stressed our young-selves would have been.
It bears repeating Financial Independence (FI) is a wonderful achievement. Making decisions based on what you want to do vs. what you have to do financially is very liberating. Clarity of mind is derived from not having to worry about paying your bills. Frugal living and becoming a better saver., how can this be bad. Over the years we have become slaves to consumerism “keeping up with the Jones”. Bigger house, bigger TV, even bigger TV, new car, etc. What many of these FIRE (ers?) show us is that you can live, and live happily with less. Re-cycle and re-use great for the environment and great for the pocket book. Many find joy in the world around them hiking, camping, bike riding, gardening, and getting exercise, You create a healthy lifestyle and disconnecting from the electronic world, will both provide long term health benefits. How about making meals a family event and oh the money you will save. All the money you save will lead to earlier Financial Independence!! We are on board with that. Sure you will see extreme examples of people spending virtually nothing and many of the detractors of the FIRE movement will focus on the extremes. People will argue that extreme savings will mean no travel, no experiences, no having a nice home, car, no life. The level of frugality may not be for everyone but increasing your savings, spending less and leading a greener lifestyle will work for everyone. So lets not focus on the extremes but embrace the FIRE concepts.
We think it is great that people are looking to take control of their career and lives, no matter the age. The work world many of us Boomers grew up in is long gone. We probably experienced the change and saw that young employees are now looking after number 1. The employer no longer wielded ultimate control able to deal with employees with an iron fist. Employers must be more employee focused, however with lower benefits and weaker pension plans, there are fewer “hooks” to keep employees. Employees are more mobile and willing to move on to a perceived “better” opportunity. So lets not get caught up on the “retire early” part of FIRE, the concept is really about taking control of your life, how can you hate that? We Boomers and GenXers can learn from FIRE proponents. Read a little bit more on the topic.
We will all figure this “Retirement Lifestyle” thing out together.