Why did you finally get rid of the traditional fire movement

When purchasing through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.

There was something very attractive to me about Financial independence / early retirement movement (Fire) when I found out about it a few years ago. The idea that if you understand your numbers, you can invest aggressively, save, reach retirement within a short period of time and start living your life better when you reach your ideal retirement number.

FIRE people are the people with whom we read about retirement at age 32 Save over a million dollars. Or, the 27-year-old who never had debts and worked a high paying job and improved every financial decision for Hit their fire number before 30. Looking back, I’m amazed that I felt so strongly about the FIRE movement, because nothing in my financial life indicated that FIRE would ever be a good fit for me.

Over time, I began to ask myself some questions about FIRE, and I realized that FIRE is so deeply connected to the imagined life that most people want to live and play in this hopeful future. but It wasn’t like that for me.

What has changed for me

I didn’t really like the idea that I would have to be financially deprived for the next 10 to 12 years in order to access my FIRE number. Part of the reason I don’t like this is because I’ve already sacrificed years for Pay off more than $60,000 in unsecured debt. I was dealing with the side, lived in a small houseAnd I said “no” often to purchases I felt would negatively impact debt repayment goals.

These were big financial moves at the time, but I kept thinking about my life ahead. I started dreaming of what my perfect fire life would look like.

  • Waking up normally without using an alarm clock
  • Traveling on road trips in my home state of Colorado, visiting relatives, or traveling abroad whenever you feel like it
  • Pursuit of intellectual interests to my heart’s content
  • Help others financially or by volunteering when possible
  • Go to lunch and get those groundless mimosas

What I found to be a problem with FIRE was that I didn’t want to wait years to live my best life. Especially because I was over 32 years old when I stumbled upon this financial quest. In fact, I was in debt, career exhausted, and exhausted – it didn’t look good for FIRE.

Also, the more I think about the financial independence/early retirement movement, the more I find myself wondering why there are not so important conversations about access and financing in the FIRE community.

The truth about the fire

Here’s the thing: money – fire math – it’s working. If you invest at a much higher rate than most people, have no debt, and earn a great salary, you can easily achieve your FIRE goals.

But what if you are someone like me who faces a lot of financial headwinds? My access to FIRE wasn’t the same as a 27-year-old without debt and a high paying job.

FIRE is based on being debt free. There is no way you can invest more than 50% if you are also actively paying off debts as I was.

In addition, the more complex your finances, the more difficult it will be to work on FIRE. In my case, I had a very complicated debt situation. It wasn’t until recently that my finances were streamlined enough that I could focus on traditional fires. If you are dealing with a large number of creditors, etc., this affects your ability to focus on FIRE.

Furthermore, working towards FIRE requires a similar financial skill set to pay off a large amount of debt, learn how to negotiate your salary, etc. It takes time to reach a comfortable rhythm that will push you towards your goals.

There also seems to be a lot of conflict within the FIRE community about working after you hit your FIRE number, which frankly doesn’t make sense to me. Why not work if you enjoy it?

Things changed for me when I learned about Slow FIRE

Fortunately, there are a number of ways to approach FIRE depending on your financial philosophy and the reality of your money. In the end, I learned about Slow FIRE, which was incredibly attractive as a financial philosophy.

With Slow FIRE, you are investing, saving and working towards your final FIRE number, but you are likely to do so at a slower rate than regular FIRE folks who tend to approach the financial steps of getting a FIRE more aggressively. Basically, Slow FIRE practitioners know that it will take some time to reach the final FIRE number. The slow fire followers may still be cleaning up their financial foundations. This may sound like finishing off debt, cutting overall expenses, and looking to increase income. These are essential steps in your shooting journey.

Basically, Slow FIRE is similar to the regular FIRE movement with a few major exceptions.

  • Slow FIRE practitioners focus on designing and realizing their FIRE lifestyle now. This may include working remotely in order to create more flexibility in their lives. It is also an indication of the fact that they will be working longer in order to reach their FIRE number. There is no business shameful because business factors largely lead to slow fires.
  • Working is a big part of Slow FIRE, but the focus is on working in a way that works best for you now. Indeed, COVID has created a huge opportunity for professionals to design their best life now while earning income and focusing on their future.

I appreciate that Slow FIRE is a much friendlier way to start the process of financial independence.

The message “early retirement” is the wrong message

I’ve lived the “retirement” lifestyle for the past seven years while working, and I don’t regret anything. During that time, I also paid off more than $60,000 in debt, started a business, and increased my income. “Retirement early” is the wrong message. Most people have no idea what their lifestyle will look like in retirement because they focus so much on the financial side of FIRE. My point is that the early retirement part of the FIRE acronym is a complete distraction from the most important thing: financial freedom.

Financial independence creates opportunities to change the course of your life. Having the money to get away from situations that don’t serve you well can make a huge difference to your overall quality of life.

At the end of 2014, I decided to kick a 9-5 to the curb and go by myself. I wanted to work on my own terms, spend more time with my family and friends, and take care of my health. The only year my finances really mattered was 2020, during a once in 100-year pandemic.

The past seven years have shown me that conventional fires distract from what I know to be true:

  • Freedom of debt creates freedom of life now
  • Flexibility of time is important. Now is a great time to find a job or work in a profession that values ​​flexibility and the freedom of time. You don’t have to be an entrepreneur to design your best life right now. By canceling my commute, for example, my life has improved significantly
  • Commitments related to inflation, health, and family may affect the FIRE retirement nest egg, so there is no shame in continuing to work at a job you enjoy while you can

In the end, I’ve learned that the journey to FIRE can actually be incredibly fun and I hope more FIRE people will believe and share this message – it doesn’t have to be all about suffering and deprivation for a bright and shiny imagined future. The journey is as important as the final destination.

Write a Comment