One of the biggest movements in the world is the FIRE movement. FIRE is Financially Independent Retire Early. Calmncents from Twitter likes to call FIRE the Financially Independent Retire Eventually. Either way, they are quite similar.
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The FIRE Movement
What is the FIRE Movement? Most people are trained to think that you work 40 plus years of your life. You retire at the age of 65, and live for a couple of years and die.
The government tells you that the retirement age is 65 or 67 or at least that is the date you can receive entitlements like Social Security and Medicare in America or your Super in Australia.
Why do you need to retire when you are 65? If you have enough money could you stop working earlier?
That is what the movement is about. It is about stopping work earlier so you can enjoy your free time and live life without worrying too much about money.
Mr. Money Mustache was one of the earlier blogs that talked about retiring when he was 30. Yes at the age of 30, he had accumulated enough money to stop working and live life the way he wants.
The FIRE movement is about accumulating enough wealth to do what you want when you hit your Financial Independent number or FI number for short.
Let’s break this down a bit further.
Your FI number:
First you need to find out your FI number. So your FI number is determined by the 4% Rule, which states that you will withdraw 4% of your portfolio for retirement. That is the basic gist of the 4% rule.
First take your annual spendings multiply it by 25.
Annual Spendings x 25= FI #
For example: If you spend $40,000 a year, your FI number would be $1,000,000.
Now since you have your FI number you will need to figure out how to get to that number.
Savings Rates help to reach your Financial Goals
Savings rates is something that will continue to help or halt your financial goals. The higher you save the more money you will have to achieve your goals.
If you save 10% of your income it will take close to 40 plus years to get to those financial goals.
The FIRE community is committed to trying to save more than the normal person. In America, the average savings rate is around 7%.
If you can slowly but surely improve that savings rate from 10% all the way to 30% then to 50%, it will help you to achieve your goals faster.
The more you save the better it will be for your goals and to help you reach FI.
Where do we place the money?
Since we are now saving so much money there needs to be a place to put it.
For starters, we need to have our money working for us. The easiest and simplest way is to find a total market index fund/ ETF to invest your new funds like VTSAX.
Instead of letting that money sit in a bank account earning less than 1%, it can go out and make more money for you through investments.
The money can earn 6-7% in the stock market. Like I said, make it easy and invest in a total market index fund. This is a place where you can let your money grow as you reach your status of FI.
There are other ways to have your money grow like through real estate investments, which BiggerPockets podcast talks about, but I like the simple path to wealth so I choose index funds like VTSAX.
Other Terms Related to FIRE
FIRE is just one type of movement going on. There are other movements related to FIRE, but can be summed up with different names like Coast FI.
Coast FI is FIRE, but once you hit the number that will allow compound interest to help your portfolio grow to your FI number then you can just coast to the finish line.
Basically starting early in life to save and invest can give you a head start in life. Once you hit that Coast number just quit the job you don’t like and pick up the job that you are more passionate about and coast to retirement.
Coast FI #= FI# / (1 + Expected Growth Rate)^# of years till retirement.
Coast FI #= FI#/ (1+Expected Growth Rate) ^ # of years till retirement
Let's say you want to retire at 65. Your FI # is $1,000,000. You have 30 years until retirement.
$1,000,000/( 1+6%)^30= Coast FI. This will equal $174,110. There you have it your Coast FI #. Once you hit this number you can just coast to retirement.
You can then do any job you would like as in work at a coffee shop, or do something you are passionate about that still helps pay the bills.
Fat FIRE is being able to live it up in retirement. No more worries about overspending or being frugal.
You can live in any country around the world.
You have the opportunity to eat the finest foods and drink great drinks.
It is the opposite of Lean FIRE.
Lean FIRE is the bare bones part of FIRE. You cut your spending to barely surving mode. These people live in low-cost living areas, and live a mostly minimalist lifestyle.
Barista FIRE is similar to Lean FIRE. You or your partner will work a part-time or even a full-time job just to help cover some of the expenses.
What happens when you retire?
Retirement is the beauty of the FIRE movement. You can do whatever you want once you hit your FI number. Life is no longer about going to a job you dislike. If you like the job and it is your passion, you can keep going.
A lot of people, take off and do some traveling. When you are 65 or even older your body cannot do as much as it could have when you were younger.
Do the things that make you happy
You can be a stay at home father or mother. Jeremy from Gocurrycracker.comis a stay at home dad in Taipei, Taiwan. He has two kids that he can spend some glorious time with and not have to worry about working a 9-5 job. He can use his time for his family.
Other passions of yours may pop up. People often have passions that they wait to pursue later in life.
Follow Your Passions
Kristen Shen from “Quit like a Millionaire,” had a passion for being a writer. Writers may not get paid as well so she worked as a computer engineer until age 31, quit, traveled, and started writing. No longer did she need to worry about income, and she could pursue her passion for writing.
There are many opportunities in the world for people once you hit that FI number. No longer have to work at a job you dislike, you can now pursue other things in your life.
That is the beauty of the FIRE movement. It is giving opportunities for people to work hard early in life and pursue new adventures in life once they hit financial freedom.
What are you waiting for?
It is time to make a move. Time to set up what your financial goals should be. I like to keep track of my Net Worth every month to track how Mrs. FE and I are doing our goals. Our plan is to hit FI in 12 years. It would be great to do it earlier, but who knows.
Here are your steps to move forward.
1st: Determine your FI number
2nd: Figure out how to achieve that FI number.
– It can be saving more money by spending less. You can start some side hustles to earn more money or even learn how to negotiate your pay to earn more at your job.
3rd: Go for your goals and start now.
– Time doesn't wait for anyone. It is time to start doing something now. The more you wait, the less time you will have to achieve these goals.
The FIRE Movement revisited:
I love the FIRE Movement. It is a great way to motivate myself in achieving more wealth. The people I have interacted with and come in contact with are either striving to achieve FIRE or already have achieved it.
Some of the best resources that I can share are these people:
Take a look at thefinoneers.com for Coast FI.
These resources have helped me learn and strived to do better in my financial life.
Is FIRE something you are interested in? What are you doing that can help achieve your goals?
” Spend less than you make, stay out of debt, and invest the rest”
I’m Steve. I’m an English Teacher, traveler, and an avid outdoorsman. If you’d like to comment, ask a question, or simply say hi, leave me a message here, on Twitter (@thefrugalexpat1). Many of my posts have been written to help those in their journey to financial independence. I am on my journey, and as I learn more I hope to share more. And as always, thanks for reading The Frugal Expat.