Have you ever heard of the FIRE movement? FIRE stands for Financial Independence Retire Early. It’s when people invest/save more than 50% of their income for a period of time so they can retire early. Some retire in their early 60’s, 50’s, 40’s or even in their 30’s.
I find this movement fascinating because it shows that when people put their minds to a goal and focus on it, it can be achieved. From what I’ve seen and read, those who are focused on FIRE usually live pretty frugal, have low debt, work multiple jobs or work many hours so they can invest as much as they can reach financial independence and not have to work a traditional job.
Now how does this relate to us as a family? Let’s compare our scenario; we live pretty frugal lives, our house is paid for, we do invest (but not intensely) and we have over a year’s worth of living in the bank. We also are pursuing different business adventures. So are we pursuing FIRE? The simple answer is yes… and no.
We are pursuing financial independence, but we have no interest in retiring early in the sense of not working. But rather we want to have our own business that’s doing well and employing others (we still wouldn’t mind working a standard job, but our preference is business ownership).
So what are we pursuing? We are pursuing REFI meaning we want to live as we Retired Early while staying on track to Financial Independence. How is this possible or how can someone live like they are retired early when they still need to work?
Well let’s look at the characteristics of a person that’s retired:
-Usually, they work less, start their own business or don’t work at all
-They spend more time with their kids and/or grandkids
-They travel or vacation more
-They volunteer or serve people more
And all this is what we want to achieve. When bills and debt are at a minimum, a person can work less or pursue their own passions. When one realizes they only have 18 summers with their child, they strive to make the best memories with them and not spend most of their days working so much. When one realizes that this country is filled with so much history and beauty, they may want to travel more and live in an RV. And when one knows there is a need to fill, they want to make themselves more available. This can be working from home, getting a less stressful job, or working in your business. That’s how you can still live like your retired but still work.
So my approach is why should I wait 10, 15, or 20 years before I get to enjoy these things. I want to enjoy them now. I’m not saying I don’t commend anyone choosing FIRE, I think it’s wonderful. It’s just the reverse works for us better at this point in our lives. And if you are a single mom or dad, you can still live this way. It may take some sacrifices in the beginning, but once you save up the funds, you can pursue your dreams.
Life has it’s ups and downs, plus it can be cut short at times. So we want to make sure we live life to its maximum.
What if we were pursuing the FIRE movement wholeheartedly? If we continue to work full-time, though we never got a raise, we would be semi-retired in 5 years and probably reach FIRE in 9 years. That would mean we could retire in our 40s. It is tempting to follow this plan, but it would not fulfill us.
How about you? What is the movement that works best for you and/or your family? Maybe your movement is off-grid living or climbing the corporate ladder. Whatever the case, just make sure you’re happy doing it.
Until next time.