F.I.R.E. - A frugal way to future financial freedom?

When a F.I.R.E. starts to burn

Some 1.5 million years ago, humans discovered fire.

Bring it back to present and humans have discovered fire once again, except this time it’s F.I.R.E. and it’s more of a gamble whether you’ll get burned or not.

F.I.R.E. but without the matches

Financial Independence, Retire Early is a movement devoted to the idea of making your money work for you, to the point where you can retire early and comfortably.

Basically, F.I.R.E. members have mastered the art of frugality so that they can retire as early as their 30s and 40s. They stick to strict budgets, prioritise saving over spending, and are big on investing in shares and property via exchange-traded funds (ETFs).

If you thought you were good at saving because you picked up the $1.99 bread instead of the $4.99 one, F.I.R.E. members will have you re-evaluating your choices.

F.I.R.E. is the “newish” millennial – the one who saw the side hustle and took it to another level. The one who decided it was time to make their future the true product of their reality (the long hours, the job juggling). The ones finding their way to a point of freedom that most others their age wouldn’t see until late retirement.

With millennials being pushed further and further away from “living the dream”, it doesn’t seem like such a surprise that the F.I.R.E. movement has spread internationally. By bringing people closer to the unattainable (a home, financial freedom), F.I.R.E. positions itself as the wildcard of the millennial dream.

Keeping you warm

At the heart of F.I.R.E. is the desire to do things differently. Grind for a certain amount of years, then live life the way you want for the rest of your life. The beauty of F.I.R.E. is the security it provides to a generation otherwise used to a lack of security – from seeing the effects of recession to climate change. For those in it, F.I.R.E. is a way of controlling what is otherwise an uncontrollable future.

It provides the opportunity not just to retire early, but to invest time in the things you love. For F.I.R.E. members, the initial struggle only paves the way for time and freedom to do the things that fulfil them.

Though for some F.I.R.E. members, a frugal life can have its downside.

Don’t get burned

No, no, F.I.R.E. won’t lead to everything in your life going up in flames. Though it does have its drawbacks.

Fully investing in the F.I.R.E. lifestyle without proper consideration for external factors has the potential to backfire. It could mean less time socialising with friends (food is the great bonder of people, after all), partners who can’t quite keep up with your lifestyle, and, of course, the minor detail of everyone you know still having at least 25 years on them before being able to retire.

What we’re saying is, it can be lonely, so working out what’s most important for you is needed.

How to get your F.I.R.E. burning

  • Curb your spending
  • Prioritise saving over buying that thing you didn’t really need but really wanted
  • Have a side hustle
  • Put aside 50% of your salary (or a little more if you can)
  • Learn how to budget and keep expenses low
  • Know where to invest your money
  • Leave the credit cards alone – debt is not your friend