Subject: FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early)
Here’s the good news. You being the cunning, ambitious and resolute person you are, I think you’ve got a real shot at reaching the ability to “retire” within 10 years. Isn’t that great news?! The best right?!
But let me explain briefly, I’m defining retirement as the ability to retire from whatever you do to earn money. It’s not that you will retire, you may enjoy your work. Cool beans. But if you are like me, having the flexibility to work whenever and wherever you want, the ability to make decisions free of financial stress or obligation sounds pretty tasty. A worthy pursuit for sure. But here’s the rub. It won’t happen if you don’t have your “why”. So let’s get started.
If you were like me, you are already asking yourself, “How do I get started”? I got you fam, check out this Beginner’s Guide with an easy step by step description. Here are the first tools you need to get started: Time. Energy. Patience (and I suppose a computer, access to the internet, ability to comprehend, etc.). In other words, if you want to create more wealth and happiness in your life, you might need to clear some space for it first. You should be ready to devote an hour or so every day this week to finding time to review these articles and podcasts. It will serve you well, and soon, you’ll likely be hooked on this FIRE thing like I was. Soon enough, we’ll all be laughing together as “retired” folks with total control over our lives. So grab a pen and paper, and don’t be afraid to jot down some questions, thoughts, ideas, etc. while you go through this. Ready? Lets begin.
We are about to go where many haven’t ventured before. Buckle up, it’s gonna be a wild ride!
Let’s start with some fun language. (NSFW) It’s a rallying cry for the WHY in FI (Financial Independence).
JL Collins on FU Money.
Now, let’s frame this up against the world we live in today.
Mr. Money Mustache on the loop of lunacy.
Ok, now that you’ve got that mental framework, you should be open and ready to receive this next idea.
Mr. Money Mustache on happiness.
Let’s take a video break, watch MMM himself give a super fun talk about the importance of work, keys to happiness, and general FIRE pillars at the WDS, hosted by my favorite Side Hustle guru, Chris Guillebeau.
While we are doing multimedia, let’s rock a podcast? This is the ChooseFI podcast episode that Taylor was listening to when everything clicked. She came home and said… “Quit your job, I’m all in. Let’s do this, how do we start?” The hosts, Brad and Jonathan have become good friends, this is one of their most popular episodes.
Ok, back to some reading. By now, you MAY be feeling like you’ve been spending far too much money on things you don’t need. Let it go, it doesn’t matter. All that matters is what you do moving forward. This Mr. Money Mustache article touches on the “Sunk Cost Fallacy”, an argument proposing you FORGIVE yourself for any past mistakes or regretful decisions.
OK, phew! That was a bit of homework! But you are starting to get the sense that there might be something here, no? But what the hell, I still don’t know what to do with my money, investments, etc. What’s going on Scott? WHOA friend…..hold up! I’ve got you.
Now sit down for this one. Here is the article that has shifted so many perspectives in the FIRE community. It sums up the concept behind FIRE and allows you to start planning your own path. THIS is the genius that is Mr. Money Mustache. Enjoy.
Almost done, it’s important to understand the “4% rule” (JL Collins would call it a guideline). At this point, Tay and I started to see the light.
Brad from ChooseFI counts this last article as one of his all time favorites. That’s because it puts all this together. If you were like me, you’re wondering how skipping the morning coffee shop, skimping and saving could possibly work, or be fun for that matter! Give me coffee or give me death! Well, there’s good news. This isn’t about depravity. It’s about readjusting the way you approach your spending. Here’s an example of how that can be done, or as MMM so eloquently puts it, “how to go from middle class to kick-ass”. And remember, if you don’t earn the same salary as is used in this example, there are all kinds of tips and tricks to improving that as well. But let’s first focus on the power of the savings rate. You’ll be even more incentivized to earn more when you have defined and achievable goals.
Ok, I’m assuming you’re hooked by now. One of Taylor’s first responses was “Why isn’t EVERYONE doing this?”. Well, that’s because many of us have no idea about the power of the savings rate. Our public school system is failing to teach our children financial literacy. Many of us haven’t been shown the ease and effectiveness of index fund investing. And finally, just because it’s simple doesn’t make it easy. There are still some hoops to jump through. You may be asking yourself, “How do you get your spouse on board? Can I do this with kids? I don’t earn enough. How do I get ahold of the money I have saved up in retirement accounts if I’m retiring early?” Don’t worry, I’ve got you on these too. The FIRE community has your back. There is an amazing treasure trove of answers from people who I now count as friends. They are real, they are mostly all retired and they are some of the most interesting, giving, happy and fun people I’ve met in my life.
Once you’ve gotten through this, call me. There are so many more details to discover. If you want something else to soak up immediately, I highly recommend listening thru all of the Mad FIentist’s podcast episodes. Catch up on the latest conversation in the community over at ChooseFI. Soon, we will get together over board games and homebrew to laugh and rejoice in this newfound path to freedom. Or at the very least, I’d love to hear what you think about all this! Fresh perspectives are the spice of life! I can’t wait.