There has been a lot of online media coverage in recent years regarding the “F.I.R.E.” movement, which stands for “financial independence, retire early.” Basically the premise is to save 50-70% of your income and retire early in your 30’s or 40’s. Is this even possible? Well yes, but of course we need to dive a little deeper to understand what this movement represents.
In my view, the FIRE movement is a perfectly logical response to current times and the environment in which we live. Skyrocketing debt, lack of affordable housing, stagnant wages, and poor job security all play a part. You have repeatedly been told since youth that the proper path is to get a good education, work into your 60’s and then sail off into retirement. This is a fallacy, of course, and many young people today have figured it out. If I asked “what is more valuable to you, time today or time 20-30 years from now”, how would you respond? The fact is that the entire establishment wants you to believe that time in the future is more important. Why? Because they have a vested interest in keeping you working, likely for someone else, for all of your prime years. However is there any guarantee that you will be healthy in your 50’s, 60’s and beyond? Is there a guarantee you will even be alive? Of course not. Time, in fact, is all that we really have.
The other part of FIRE that is open to interpretation is what defines “retirement”. Is it laying on a beach somewhere sipping pina coladas? Owning a yacht or Ferrari? Do you have to be not working? No, No, and No. I contend retirement is simply doing what you want, on your own terms and when you feel like it. You could still be working, but at your own pace and not for someone else’s arbitrary deadline. So call it semi-retirement. In the end, it is dictating your schedule, not having someone else or an organization dictate it for you. This means more time with your family, hobbies, or simply sitting in your background and enjoying the weather.
My previous post started to lay a foundation on how to save money. It is not just saving more of what you earn, it is avoiding or reducing variable costs. This is just a kernel of thought however in the grand scheme of things. In a future post I will talk about one of my all time favorite ways to “beat the scam” and get ahead. The owner occupied 2-4 unit rental.