What is F.I.R.E.?
FIRE stands for: Financial Independence Retire Early.
The goal of FIRE is to build up a large asset base that provides you enough income to live off. If you are able to do this, you then don’t need to rely on a full time job to earn money, and you have the freedom to do what you like. These assets can be a combination of property and/or shares, and can provide income by providing good yield or selling down. Most in the movement will have a FIRE number that they are working towards, which they have worked out is the asset base $ they need to live life how they are now. Getting to this number often requires sacrifice, and may have people living quite frugally and tunnelling any extra money they have towards investments to reach this number.
How to work out your FIRE number.
Your FIRE number is the net worth you would need to be able to “retire”, or in other words the amount you would need to be able to live off until your super kicks in. This is a general rule of thumb so in reality you may need more or less, but ideally it is just used as a general target.
First, you need to work out your yearly expenses. Lets use an example of $40, 000. You then need to multiply this number by 25 to get your FIRE number.
40,000 x 25 = 1,000,000
Therefore, if your living expenses were 40K a year, your FIRE number would be 1M. The thoughts behind this is that once you reach this number, you could live off of 4% of that a year. The hope is that the stock market goes up every year so while you are drawing down 4%, your investment is still going up in value overall. If you decrease your spending, it is much easier to reach your FIRE number. Firstly, because you are funnelling more towards your investments, and secondly, your actual FIRE number will be lower as your expenses are decreased. This is why you may see many of those in the FIRE community living frugally.
Some in the FIRE community are reaching financial independence as early as their late 20s or early 30s, which is super impressive. While the retire early is part of the acronym, most of these people are far from retirement. What this financial independence does do is allow them the freedom to spend their time doing what they are passionate about, rather than doing it for the money. Sure, they may still earn money after reaching FIRE, however often the job they are doing wasn’t chosen based on the salary.
What I like about FIRE
I love the financial independence part of FIRE. The idea of having the freedom to do whatever I like really appeals to me. I quite enjoy working and filling my time so I don’t think I would be one to retire early, however to spend my time doing only what I want to do seems pretty good to me. Working slightly harder now so I can have a better life in the future is a great compromise for me.
Despite this, I don’t necessarily agree with being very frugal to get to FIRE quicker. While I believe it is important to be mindful with your money, I do not understand why you would want to miss out on a range of experiences, or live off rice and beans during your twenties and thirties, just to retire in your 40s. While I am young I want to be able to experience many different things and build my life experience, even at the expense of taking longer to build my wealth.
While there is no set number or set way to reach FIRE, I think everyone can benefit from the movements ideology. Being smart with your money early in your life and investing in yourself will allow so much more freedom later in life. By receiving a passive income in your 30’s or 40’s onwards could allow you the flexibility to have an extended holiday, work part time, or work for the love rather than the money! Working 40+ hours a week until I am nearly 70 and only then having the time and money to do what I want does not sound great to me at all. My question is- why wait until I am in my late 60’s?
Check out the resources below for more inspiration if you don’t want to work until your old and grey.
Aussie FIRE Bug Podcast and Blog
Captain FI Blog and Podcast
Mr Money Mustache Blog
Canadian born blogger- one of the original people in the FIRE movement.
The investment platform I use- Pearler, is aimed at people looking to reach financial independence by investing for the long term. They have a bunch of different FI calculators and can help you set up goals to reach financial independence. If this sounds like you and you want to give it a go, use the link below to sign up and get a free trade!
by Grant Sabatier
by Lacey Filipich
The best FIRE books for 2021
(disclaimer: I have not read all of the books in this list)