What is FIRE?
If you’re familiar with the concept, you can probably skip over this – maybe (perhaps you would like a review or to gripe about how your definition differs my own). This will be a general definition just to give a glimpse on the concepts.
FI/RE stands for Financial Independence / Retire Early. When you can cover your expenses without having to work – congratulations, you are technically financially independent. Job losses or sudden changes will not a be a big detriment to your current lifestyle or standard of living. Your basis expenses can be covered by income not from your job. Based on that definition, you could technically already be FI, if your investments can generate enough income to cover all your expenses! The retirement part is purely optional. The most awesome part of FIRE are the options it bestows – doing things on YOUR time-frame and on YOUR own terms. How could anyone not want this? How nice does it feel to sleep in and wake up late? (nice, toasty, cozy bed).
Lean FI is essentially the same concept of being able to cover your expenses from most of your investments. Except for Lean FI, the amount of money to survive on is less – this is purely based on the person’s lifestyle behaviors and the luxuries they choose to abandon to lower expenses. The most generally accepted definition is being financially independent while living on 40k USD per year or less. Perhaps, all your expenses do not need to be covered by your passive income sources by being supplemented by a part-time job (although some would argue that this is what Reddit calls, “barista FI). Think of it as achieving the same goal, but with MORE optimization and doing with less material possessions (similar to minimalism – topic for another day).
4 Ways to Achieve FIRE:
- Investing: This could be achieved through a couple of methods – buying stocks, real estate, or businesses. Whatever spend money on that will garner a profit. Best type return is passive and consistent. It is difficult to achieve outside of probably purchasing low-cost index funds or owning an established business/real estate. Generally, the higher the return, the higher the risk.
- Making More Money: Raises through work, changing jobs, side hustles or starting a small business. Pursuing additional education for certain people can help achieve this, creating more options or gaining specialized skills in the workforce. For others, it will require additional hours of labor. Focusing on your career or building a profitable business is a good bet.
- Optimizing Spending: This is one of the more controllable methods. Clear all debts that doesn’t generate profits to avoid interests payments is possible. Lower your standard of living and make the most use of every, single dollar. These are your tiny workers who will help build your future – don’t sacrifice them for useless junk. Numerous methods and philosophies to achieve this.
- Luck: Besides some minor luck we can make for ourselves through hard work, this will be out of your hands. Most of us will not have this blessing – we will not win the lottery, buy the next Google/Amazon stock on the ground floor, find some hard drive with 200 bitcoin or somehow get a huge inheritance from an Aunt you never knew. Wishing it “could” happen, isn’t a reliable method of achieving FIRE. DETERMINE THE FUTURE WITH YOUR OWN HANDS!
Use all the methods in combination to achieve your dream!
Why should you care?
By reading this far, you probably are one of the majorities who doesn’t want to work forever till you’re dead and want to control your own destiny. You want the ability to make decisions, not solely due to financial obligations (oh, how many times we have to hold our tongue and grit our teeth at a job we despise). It also frees you to always make the right, moral decision and speak our conviction, not due to financial obligations. You won’t have to worry about biting the hand that feeds you, because you would be that hand. Also, think of the positive impact you can have around you – if you just had the time to do it! Maybe you’re just lazy and want to play video games all day and drink Mountain Dew. Whatever the reason is, being financially independent gives you that choice.
It’s not impossible. I’ve have met and talked to people who has done it. I honestly believe that most people can achieve some form of FI (or at least financial stability) through changes in their behavior and optimizing other aspects of their lives. Most do not realize the amount of waste until you really examine your own life. It is also important to be realistic about the expectations one hopes to achieve. We are not all going to retire like Bill Gates or Warren Buffet.
I am not going to lie and make everything sound all rosy – if you have a high income, it will be easier to achieve. That’s just a fact that cannot be refuted. People who does not have such blessings will have a harder time. Everyone has their own goal and path. While one person’s goal is 5 million, another person’s goal might only be 500k. Even if you do not reach the goal, the mindset will lead you to have a more satisfy, meaningful and stable life with less financial worries. If you’re ready, please look for future posts and seek out other blogs for differing perspectives…
- Reduce stress
- Time to actual pursue worthwhile goals or activities
- Able to move in slower pace
- Able to take care of daily task while not at peak times
- Not having to work at something you’re not passionate about
- Not only profit driven
- Stay in good health
- Social circle will change. – for better or worse
- Lacking structure for some
- Sacrifice will have to be made (depending on your viewpoint)
- Need to keep private about financial status
- Difficulty explaining your “job”