One thing I can say about being a person who is pursuing financial independence (FI) is that I definetly have a lot of critics. This is understandable because FI can be such a foreign idea to so many people, especially if they’ve never heard of it before or done any research on it. The idea is immediately denounced because our society has lead us to believe that we have to work for a specific period of time which usually means 30-40 years and that we have to buy nice things and go on expensive vacations in order to appear succesful.
Ive also fielded kickback about how impossible FI is if you have kids. Fortunately there are plenty of examples of people who have already completed FI and have children. Amon and Christina from Our Rich Journey just retired at the age of 39, having two children, and while working normal government jobs. Pete, aka Mr. Money Mustache retired early at the age of 30, with one child, working as a software engineer. And Carl from 1500 days, set out in 2013 to retire in 1500 days which he did successfully, building his investments from $586,000 to now 1.89 million in 2019. In 2019 he has earned $346,000 in growth and interest alone and was able to retire from his job as a software developer at the age of 43 with two children.
The point I’m trying to make is that this idea is attainable. Despite the job you work or whether you have children or not, you can find ways to save more money, increase your salary, learn to invest, and live within your means which can cut years off of the amount of time you need to work.
What I would like to do is break this idea of F.I.R.E down into two segments to try to help you decide if this idea is for you or not.
The first segment is F.I. Finanacial independence. This makes up the beginning of the FIRE accronym and is probably more important than the retire early aspect. FI is the golden ticket to your financial future because of the options it presents. What FI means is that you can sustain yourself for the rest of your life without being required to earn any future money. A quick example is that if your annual expenses are $40,000 your FI number would be one million. That one million would continue to be invested and based on stock price history would continue to grow at approx. 7% or 3% after you withdraw the 4% needed to live off of i.e $40,000. The fact that your portfolio would continue to grow as Carl’s has, who was mentioned above, is a great rebuttle for those who think supporting your children is impossible when living this lifestyle. In the last year alone Carl has earned more than 3x my annual salary in interest alone all because he decided years ago he was going to save and invest his money earlier on.
This is the whole idea of FI, save now to give yourself options later on.
I’ve yet to run into a person who regretted saving money, yet i’ve run into hundreds who regret how much they’ve spent. Let that sink in.
Now let’s look at the retire early portion. This is the part of the F.I.R.E movement that takes the most heat because many people equate early retirement with things like laziness, a poor work ethic, boredom, an unsustainability. The great part is, is that it’s completely optional. Once you have reached FI you now have the option in front of you to continue working full time, part time, or not at all. You may even decide to start volunteering or just spending more time doing things you enjoy. This is also great for the people who say they love their job and don’t want to leave. If you fall into that category then by all means stay at that full time job and enjoy it. Understand that early retirement doesn’t mean you stop working, it only means that you can now begin working on your passions.
Try to imagine what aspects of F.I.R.E fit within your life and how it can be applied. Maybe you have no desire to pursue this idea and that is fine! It doesn’t have to be for everyone. Luckily for me I have found this idea and I am all in. Story after story of those who have achieved F.I.R.E continue to motivate me and make me realize there is so much more to life than spending it not doing the things you enjoy.
Please feel free to leave a comment and explain what best suits you and your future. If you haven’t already please subscribe to receive updates on all new articles that are posted. Thanks for reading.