What is financial independence anyway?
Matt here. I’d like to take the opportunity to explain what exactly this F.I.R.E movement is all about. I’ll begin by explaining how I became interested in this “crazy” idea. So we’ll turn the dial back about 7 years.
Back in 2012 I was introduced to the blog Mr. Money Mustache. Mr. Money Mustache, if you don’t know, is pretty much seen as a pioneer of this movement and both he and his wife we’re able to retire at the age of 30! I was pretty shocked by this and soon found myself completely obsessed with his blog and everything he was preaching.
Around this time I began putting about $100 a month into a Roth IRA account and was building up my savings the best I could, while working part time and going to school. Today I am close to $250,000 in net worth and hoping to be financially independent no later than the age of 35.
So why is F.I.R.E. catching on so quickly?
If you go online and search “early retirement” you will find hundreds of articles, blogs, podcasts, youtube channels etc., all focusing on this idea of early retirement. It used to be that you were expected to put in 30-40 years of hard work at a company so you could retire comfortably with benefits and a paycheck. This was seen as honorable and showed that you possessed a good work ethic. But now I think people are realizing, myself included, that your work doesn’t necessarily define who you are, what defines you is how you spend your time outside of work. This is the life you build for yourself.
Just think for a second about all of your introductions with new people or strangers. One of the first questions asked is “What do you do for a living?” So much emphasis is put on this, and as a Police Officer I can say my job is always the #1 topic of conversation at family parties or when meeting new people.
So lets get back to how important the emphasis is on what you do when your not at work.
This is the main premise of what the F.I.R.E movement stands for. Take a second to think about how different your life would be if you weren’t required to go to your current job for the next week. You may have the thought, “Ah, I really could use a vacation, I deserve a week off to relax, maybe get some stuff done around the house, and spend some time with my family.” Now think about having the next month off. You may be thinking, “Wow, I’ve never had a month off from work, that would be great. I could get so many things done, maybe start exercising, spend time with my kids, maybe take a small vacation or go on a weekend get away.”
Finally, I would like you to envision having the next year off from having to work. If properly executed, this year would be financially stress free because you would have enough money to easily support yourself and your family. You would not be required to have to work just to survive. Now I’m sure you have a million thoughts and questions going through your head and the first one is probably, “Well I’ll probably get bored. What am I going to do with an entire year off of work?”
I understand these thoughts completely and personally, I believe that before you take on this lifestyle if committing to early retirement, that you come up with a plan. This plan could include everything from setting up a daily routine of exercising, reading, riding your bike, working a part time job that you actually enjoy, learning a new skill or taking up that hobby youv’e always wanted to. This could mean spending more quality time with your significant other, your children, or other family members, you could volunteer your time to a charitable organization, and the list goes on.
So please tell us, what would your new lifestyle be like?
If you weren’t forced to go to work, just to earn a paycheck. How do you think this would effect you a week, a month, a year, or twenty years down the line. We look forward to hearing all about it. Thanks for reading!