In an earlier post I mentioned FIRE, the movement about trying to reach Financial Independence and Retire Early. I explained the part about Financial Independence, but I wanted to dive deeper in the Retire Early part of the movement.
Is retiring early the only reason to strive for Financial Independence? For some people, it is. Work hard, save money, invest wisely, retire at the ripe age of 28 years old. I personally think that retiring early shouldn’t be the only incentive to start looking more seriously at your financial situation.
Let me give you an example
The father of a friend of mine used to run a business. When he was around 55 years old, he decided it was time to sell his business. He made quite some money with the business and the sale, so he decided to retire. It wasn’t long after his retirement, he started to get restless. What to do with all this time? And he knew exactly what he wanted. He started a new business and works there with a few friends around 4 days a week. Not because he needs it, but because he likes it. Every time I see him, he has new stories about how much fun he has at his job. This is what FIRE stands for. Being able to choose what you want to do, not what your financial obligations want you to do.
As you can see, people who work hard enough to retire early, usually don’t want to retire! At least, not in the usual sense of the word. People who work hard enough to retire early are usually very smart, intuitive, resourceful, patient and/or driven people who won’t be able to “chill out” every day and watch Netflix or lie on the beach all day.
Then, why FIRE?
FIRE is more than just retiring early. If you are financially independent, or “en route” to Financial Independence, you have more options than people who work every day to be able to pay for their food / housing / lifestyle.
I watched a TED Talk a while back about a woman who worked very hard and was on her way to becoming a senior at her firm. Then one day, she got sick and had to stay in bed for a few weeks. By working so hard and just focussing on her job, she abandoned her health and paid the toll. When she finally got better, she decided to go on a “mini-retirement”. If I remember correctly, she went on a trip around South-America for a few months. The reason why she was able to do this, was because she had multiple properties that she was renting out to make (some sort of) passive income to cover her expenses, even when she wasn’t working. Throughout the years, she went on several “mini-retirements” and experiences first hand how freeing Financial Independence can be.
Not only working or going on holiday should be your motivation for Financial Independence. What if your car breaks down? You will have the money to get it fixed at the garage. Or… you could buy a new one! I’m not telling you to be reckless with your money, but… you could!
I could never…
For some people, Financial Independence and Retiring Early seems impossible. It seems like something just for the upper class, just for the rich people, just for entrepreneurs. So they decide not to try. I used to be like that. Looking at people who had loads of money or investments or properties, saying “I could never have all of that because I’m not from a wealthy family and I don’t have a business”. But reading and hearing other people’s success stories have convinced me to start trying. I have nothing to lose and everything to gain!
Financial Independence is all about options. And to be able to have those options, you have to be willing to put in the time, effort and sacrifice your daily comfort for your future freedom.
Are you already on your route to FIRE? Or do you think you’re not in the right position or timefram yet? Let me know in the comments below!