The FIRE movement (which stands for “Financial Independence, Retire Early”) has become increasingly popular in recent years. I personally discovered it about three or four years ago while I was browsing Reddit, which has several FIRE-related forums.
If you’re not familiar with FIRE, the basic idea is to save and invest as much of your income as possible—usually somewhere between 50% and 75%. This gives you the option to retire early in your 30s, 40s, or 50s.
When I discovered FIRE, I was amazed that saving and investing diligently could allow someone with an average income to achieve financial independence. Just a few days after discovering the forum, I began to adjust my financial plans so I could FIRE, even though I love my job.
FIRE Isn’t Just for Early Retirees
Although many FIRE adherents dream of retiring from corporate life and traveling the world, that’s not the only reason people pursue it. Even people like me who love their jobs are flocking to the movement to build financial security for their families.
As an entrepreneur with my own freelance writing business, I’m lucky enough to do what I love every day. I get to work from home on my couch and write about personal finance, which has always been my dream job.
But because I don’t get a regular paycheck from an employer, my income can fluctuate from month to month. Saving a large percentage of my income helps me get through slow periods without having to worry about bills or significantly alter my lifestyle.
Planning to retire early also gives me peace of mind. If I ever face an illness or disability that leaves me unable to work, I’ll have a nest egg I can use to support myself. I don’t have to worry about everyday emergencies like an unexpected medical bill or car repair either, which prevents a lot of financial stress.
Why All Entrepreneurs Should Aim for FIRE
My aggressive investment strategy has not only been great for my personal finances, but also for my business. Instead of having to accept work I don’t enjoy doing or lower my rates during slow periods, I can hold out for high-quality projects.
I’m also able to invest in things that will help me advance my business like coaching thanks to my savings. I’ve even been able to pay for the equipment I need to start side businesses that will hopefully help me increase my income in the future.
This year I invested in tools so my fiancé and I can start a woodworking business. We’re hopeful that this new venture will bring in an extra $1,000 or more per month that we can put toward rental properties or index funds.
If you have capital available, you’ll be able to jump on any business opportunities you see and potentially build real wealth. You’ll also be able to take more risks in your existing businesses to increase your revenue.
How I Save for FIRE
I’m lucky to have a partner who’s on the same page about FIRE, which makes it easier to invest a significant amount of money every year. We try to live off one of our incomes and save the other, which is a strategy that many couples use to get closer to early retirement.
But when I was single, I still managed to save a good chunk of my income by being frugal. I cooked at home, bought my clothes used, and drove my car to the ground.
Although I’ve been able to loosen my belt a little now that I live in a dual-income household, those habits have helped us budget and live well on one salary.
As you can see, there are many reasons to pursue FIRE besides just retiring early. Having a large nest egg can give you peace of mind throughout your life, and make it easier to take risks in your business that could pay off.
Even if you’re not interested in retiring early because you love the work you do, it’s worth saving as much of your income as you can to give you more flexibility and freedom.
Vicky Monroe is a freelance personal finance and lifestyle writer. When she’s not busy writing about her favorite money saving hacks or tinkering with her budget spreadsheets, she likes to travel, garden, and cook healthy vegetarian meals.