FIRE at 35
I turn 35 today.
And I am planning to resign from my current company in approximately one month and 25 days.
Yes, I’ve reached my FIRE goal. Hurray!
F.I.R.E., in other words ‘financial independence early retirement’ is a concept that has seduced many in recent years by its simplicity and immediacy. It’s a way of realising extremely early retirement through a deliberate lifestyle.
It’s a simple concept really - save religiously and accumulate enough savings while thoughtfully investing it in a way such that the anticipated 4-6% of annual returns you derive from the savings can fund your lifestyle entirely. If you are like me, once you realise the magic of FIRE, every dollar spent on that extra (insert useless item / clothing / tech toy) will come under the exacting standards of your new found self awareness.
But you need a LOT of money to retire!
Honestly, you do not need a lot to FIRE. Neither do you need to survive on ramen daily. Let me give you some examples below of how much you need to safely retire.
Assuming 4% withdrawal rate (more on this later) and life expectancy of 100 (average in US is 79)
Retire at 35 years old.
Annual spending $50,000
Fire target: $1.25m
Retire at 40 years old
Annual spending $60,000
Fire target: $1.48m
Retire at 45 years old
Annual spending $30,000
Fire target: $0.8m
Impossible you say? The maths has been modelled to death by banker and the typical FIRE persona - aka software engineers. You can check them here if you like to crunch some numbers, but this is a blog that does not plan to inundate you with numbers.
But I like my job
Yes, there was a period where I loved my job too, but circumstances change and hard choices often have to be made. In today’s world, consumers and shareholders alike are looking for immediate gratification. As a result, companies are forced to operate on increasingly thin margins, and pensions are now about as rare as cassette tapes. To make problems worse, the pace of technology is changing rapidly and wealth is increasingly concentrated in the top 1%. Instead of thinking that your company owns you a living, its better to start getting independent and plan for your own future happiness.
My message to everyone is clear, you don’t have to work 40 years till you are 65 years old to retire. You don’t have to wait till you retire to travel and enjoy life. At the same time, you also do not have to own the next fancy iPhone or toy or car to reward yourself for slogging at your soulless corporate job. Life can be different if you are committed towards a FIRE goal.
Sure, not everyone has the luxury of achieving FIRE at 35 but early retirement is a concrete, tangible and very achievable goal to work towards. It’s about getting to a place where you have a choice not to work anymore, and if you do choose to continue working, its by choice and not out of necessity of paying your bills.
In this blog, I hope to share with you my steps in achieving FIRE and I hope I can inspire you to start adopting some or all of them. Put it this way, if you really want to kick a bad habit or achieve mastery in a new skill, you need to start moving in the right direction. And the path to FIRE is no different.
In my blog I will cover the Starfish principles, 5 core topics to achieving financial independence.
What to start doing today. Travel hacking. Credit card hacking. Eating well on a budget. Determining your real savings rate. Where to shop and compare prices. Reducing clutter.
A beginner’s guide to investing. Low cost index funds. Owning & investing in property. Portfolio allocation.
Happiness & post-FIRE
You have reach your FIRE sum. Now what? Deciding when to quit. Building buffers into your FIRE goal. Negotiating work from home or flexible work. Your work identity. Resisting the ‘one more year’ syndrome. Mini retirements. Testing your budgeting. Living a fulfilling life. Planning your withdrawals. How your portfolio shifts. Social life. Travelling. How to pass it on.
I am also planning to develop a sticker pack of illustrations for motivating you or your loved ones on the path to FIRE. They will be sold at cost and all proceeds go towards funding this blog. I hope to launch it in the next few months and will be announcing it via the newsletter and on the blog!
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