FIRE: Financial Independence, Retire Early

What is financial independence?

Financial independence is having enough wealth such that you no longer have to work for money. You become financially independent when your wealth’s assets produce enough income to cover your expenses.

https://www.financialindependenceretireearly.com/

The concept of FIRE, and the deeper discussions of compound interest, is something I only came across recently, but with threads on help with first time investing starting to crop up, and the discussion around Stocks and Shares ISAs I thought people might find it interesting.

I’ve seen US based blogs and articles before, but very few UK ones.



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There’s a UK focused FIRE reddit:
https://www.reddit.com/r/FIREUK

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I would love to know how I could have saved £192,375 by the time I was 28.

I did read an article once that if you saved your child £100 a month from birth to 18 then they would be set for retirement at 65 due to compound interest. I can’t remember the whole article and it could have had more complexity, but it was an interesting read. I would like to try and find that article again.

From his website, some lovely snips:

  • earning between $50,000-$80,000
  • save over 60% of my take home pay
    • between 25-28 he saved $50k a year
  • [girlfriend] covered the entire $36,000 down payment of their home (and appears to be as economically savy)

Doing the maths, his worth increases around ~3% per month.
To pick an example, in September he contributed to 45% of his value increase, with $1000.

Chart of Net Value

I wrote about this recently :nerd_face::point_down:t3:

If you were to pay just £2,500 a year into a pension for just the first two years of your child’s life, taking advantage of the £2880 government tax relief (as of the time of writing), and the money then remained invested growing at 7% a year with compound interest until they turned 70, a fund worth £551,000 would be the outcome

https://link.medium.com/AcP7K81ZzR

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Your Money or Your Life, what rubbish. I do not know who came up with these options, but they absolutely do not reflect the full depth of the philosophy of this dispute.

I wanted to discuss it on such an unbiased service as this one, because on the FIRE forums they just throw stones at me.

For those who do not know, FIRE Movement https://rockstarfinance.com/history-of-financial-independence-early-retirement-movement/ is a movement that stands for finance independence, retire early. The bottom line is that you try to earn enough money and invest when you are young in order to leave your job as soon as possible and live on dividends from investments and savings, instead of working you focus on something else (by the way, for me a big question is how are you going to spend so much time).

Honestly, I think the whole story is sad and devoid of any meaning.

Let’s do a mental experiment.

Meet Mr. Lucky. Let’s imagine that Mr. Lucky has a good start-up capital: a house or apartment, which he has inherited. Mr. Lucky is not a bummer, he is a highly paid professional in some field and, all of a sudden, he decides that everything is enough for him and he wants to quickly leave his job and focus on something more interesting. He lays off most of the funds every month and at the age of 35 he comes to work with an application for dismissal.

He has a good monthly income in the form of the percentage of his investments, as well as that, he wants to change his house for a small apartment. In principle, he has enough to live. Not for the kind of luxury that could be in his earnings from the past.

What’s next, Mr. Lucky?

– I must travel, I worked for so many years not in order to continue to sit in my kennel.
– But it is expensive,it will eat more than he planned to spend monthly. Well, that means cheap travel. Did you count on that, Mr. Lucky, giving up your successful career?

Maybe you don’t need to travel, but you have to focus on your family: your wife and children.

– Your children need you to run around with them like a brood hen and try to replace all their surroundings?

You took the time that you would like to spend with friends and become more versatile, made useful connections and learned to put yourself in society. And with your wife, such close communication will not exactly break the balance to which you have been used for so many years. You can quickly get tired of each other and when everybody is bored with an abusive father, what’s next?

The only thing that can justify such behavior of Mr. Lucky for me is the fact that he worked in a well-paid job that did not warm his soul. All that time he was saving in his «pillow» in order not to let his family down for himself. And, in the end, he left this job in order to start doing what his soul is for.

– For example, I have started writing a book.
– Good luck with that, Mr. Lucky. We hope that this is really your vocation and it will not disappoint you in a year. And if you get bored, will it be it worth sacrificing so many years for it to eventually not justify the means?

My opinion boils down to the fact that it all becomes some kind of cult and people are more interested in the process of counting money, calculating the period of leaving work and so on, making their choice in favour of dying young at work in order to afford to idle in an old age with an average income.

Life must be in balance. At any age, you can find time for family and hobbies, for gardening, home repairs, reading books, and so on.

And if you understand that you are working at a hated job in the hated sphere, just change it now. Yes, you take a step back, but after a couple of years of zeal you will reach the same point and move on even faster, because you are doing what you like to do, which is your hobby.

What do you think of it all, guys? Maybe I do not know something about these people?

The opinion of the author is subjective, please do not beat me with your sticks.

If Monzo would be the first bank the natively supports FIRE by design that would be awesome.
I mean, it not much different from just good money habits, but dialled all the way up to 11.

Part of the principle of FIRE is that reaching FI does not necessarily mean you stop working, it just means that you don’t have to work in order to maintain the lifestyle you’ve been accustomed to. It might mean that you just switch jobs to something that might not be as well paid, but you enjoy more, because you’re no longer worrying about making as much money.
Another point that Mr Money Mustache espouses is that spending more money does not correlate with happiness, and this is usually completely uncorrelated to the amount you earn, the only difference is the more you earn the more you can save. If you are living perfectly happy living on Y, but earn 2Y, you aren’t going to be 2x happier by spending 2Y, so why not save Y for as many years as are necessary to bring in Z as passive income (and Z doesn’t have to be the same as Y, it’s entirely your choice depending on the lifestyle you want when you FIRE).

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Thank you for clarification!
And what is your opinion about that movement?

FIRE does not necessarily mean you are unhappy with your home, or it is a place too small.

Very likely, since people who can budget their whole life can probably handle budgeting a holiday.

Need? No. But there’s no longer the issue of who runs when you do need to be around (from anything as boring as clubs, to urgent as the doctors). Society is generally moved away from the single breadwinner, for multiple reasons, at the cost of not having a parent available.

FIRE does not mean you stop socialising, and working does not guarantee these advantages either.

People go on FIRE because they are balancing a period of saving with a period of rest. You may be able to find the time, but that cannot be said for everyone (and I think you underestimate the challenge of balancing life & money). Reading books is hardly a challenge and is a bad example.

I personally don’t do FIRE because to save enough would be an impact on my lifestyle that I’d rather not, but there are people who live frugally anyway or earn enough (e.g. software developers, financial workers) that living on savings isn’t a bad life such that FIRE makes sense. It entices people who are stuck on the grindstone, but it’s hardly a bad movement to reflect on your life and spending. As someone said above, it’s not about stopping all together, it’s removing your general dependency on working pay check to pay check - but for life.

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FIRE is one of those things where I find it’s based in really solid principles but to me, there’s still something uncomfortable about the way it’s promoted.

Having said that, it is a dream to get close to financial independence but not to compromise too much on having fun today. I find the /r/UKPersonalFinance/ chart to provide a much better balance personally. :slightly_smiling_face:

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I had wondered when the concept of FIRE would make it’s way here to the Monzo forum.

It certainly is picking up in popularity. I started using Monzo as my main account after discovering FIRE. It really dawned on me that while I knew I was spending within my limits I actually had no real clue what I was spending my money on!?

I don’t live as frugally as a lot of FIRE people do but it has definitely pushed me towards investing (where I used to think putting money into stocks was all a gamble).

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https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-new-retirement-plan-save-almost-everything-spend-virtually-nothing-1541217688