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WHAT IS F.I.R.E?
You may have seen the acronym F.I.R.E and wondered what it is. F.I.R.E stands for Financial Independence Retire Early. It is a financial movement that focuses on making your money work for you by living below your means and investing.
The ultimate goal of FIRE is to be able to retire much earlier than expected. There are some who have retired in their 30’s or 40’s by following their financial plan and making a few lifestyle changes to meet their goal. Those who succeed are solely able to live off of withdrawals from their investments.
THE FIRST STEPS TO PURSUING F.I.R.E
Those who pursue FIRE have specific financial goals in place. Creating a financial plan and sticking to it is crucial. Pursuing FIRE is a journey. Success doesn’t happen overnight.
- Set Goals:
Goal setting is a powerful resource that will bring you focus. It forces you to analyze the situation and make clear decisions on what you want to accomplish.
- Where do you want to be in 10-15 years?
- What does a meaningful life look like to you?
- Track Your Expenses:
You need to know what your annual expenses are in order to know how much money you need in your nest egg. Your nest egg is where you will withdraw your money from when you reach financial independence. Also, tracking your expenses will make you more aware of frivolous spending.
As a general rule of thumb, you will need to have 25x your annual expenses in order to reach FIRE.
- Make A Financial Plan:
This is where you decide what you are going to do in order to reach your financial goals. Your plan can include investing in equities, bonds, real estate, etc. To make the most of compounding you want to save early and often. Investing more money for a longer period of time will lead to exponential growth.
HOW TO REACH F.I.R.E. FASTER
There are many things that you can do to decrease your expenses and boost your net worth which will ultimately get you to FIRE faster.
- Set a budget
- Pay off your debt
- Live more frugally
- Trim your expenses / determine your wants vs. needs
- Start a side hustle / find new sources of income
The main thing that you want to do is spend less, save more, and ideally find ways to make more money if possible. Living below your means is key in order to reach financial independence. You should also become more mindful of your spending and only spend money on things that are meaningful to you. This awareness will help you to reach your financial goals faster.
Whether you have a goal of FIRE or not, it is important to create good money habits. And be consistent with it.
CAN PEOPLE WITH KIDS REACH F.I.R.E?
The short answer is YES! We are a family of four who are pursuing FIRE. We have a clear goal in mind and having children does not change that goal. Yes there are extra expenses with kids. But there are also a lot of other ways to save and make money.
The biggest expenses that most people have are housing and transportation. When we decided to purchase a house, we chose to buy one that was affordable. And because of that we were able to pay it off in two years.
We do not buy new cars and do as much car maintenance as we can on our own. There are also many other ways that we are able to save. We cook a majority of our meals at home, we don’t have cable or pay for any streaming devices, and drive a hybrid car which saves on gas.
Having a goal of financial independence has also forced us to learn a lot about finances in a short amount of time. We are excited to be able to pass this knowledge on to our children and instill in them good financial habits. We want them to know that they have choices in life and that they don’t have to follow the norm.
WHY PURSUE F.I.R.E.
Everyone has a different reason for wanting to FIRE. Maybe it’s because you hate your job and don’t want to sit in a cubicle for the rest of your life. Or you want to spend your time traveling the world. Either way, reaching financial independence will give you options and allow you to choose how to live your life.
Reaching FIRE would also give you your time back. With a typical job you spend time working in order to make money to pay for material things. If you are financially independent you are not tied down by your work, debt, and financial obligations. When you attain FIRE your investments pay for all of your living expenses. It is at this point that YOU can choose whether to work or not.
Being financially independent allows you to spend your time as you please. Time is such a valuable resource that cannot be replaced. And we often don’t realize how precious it is until it is too late.
Setting a goal to reach financial independence was an easy decision for us. We would rather work really hard and smart for 10 years to retire early than continue to work 9-5 jobs until we are in our 60s.
Reaching FIRE is about gaining freedom and being able to live life on our own terms.
About the Author
Patti is an Occupational Therapist, wife, mother of two, and blogger. When any free time presents itself, she can usually be found cooking, reading, hiking, and traveling. Patti, along with her husband, Jason, created “Our Life On FIRE” which focuses on their family’s journey to financial independence. Patti is dedicated to educating and inspiring others on how to live a meaningful life full of purpose and intention. You can connect with her on Pinterest and Facebook.