FIRE stands for Financial Independence Retire Early and if you are researching retiring early you’ve certainly stumbled across the FIRE movement.  FIRE first came into light in the book “Your money or your Life” written by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez back in 1992.  The movement is based on saving a large portion of your income and investing such that you’re able to retire at an earlier age.

What’s not to like about FIRE? The movement encourages you to live within your means, strive to live debt-free, save an above average amount of your income and invest your money so you can retire early and enjoy your freedom. From a financial standpoint, I love everything that the FIRE movement stands for and promotes.

There is one problem. The problem that has many folks abandoning the movement. Let’s just say “Your FIRE burned out.” Often times folks who start living the FIRE lifestyle start taking things to the extreme. How much of our income can we save?  60%? 70%? How about 80%? Perhaps they pick up a second job to save even more. Before long they are so focused on saving and investing, they no longer are going out to enjoy a meal, movie or even a cone of ice cream. No money is being spent on anything other than the bare necessities.

“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”

Such an extreme lifestyle will often come crashing down. The freedom that you are chasing for in retiring early is sacrificing a healthy quality of life now. Life is about enjoying the journey and if you are so disciplined today that you won’t even take a vacation because it costs money then there is a real issue here. A number of folks are leaving FIRE because they have sacrificed enough and they realized that their savings and investing at such extreme levels have gotten in the way of them enjoying and living life.

From my stand point as a retired 26 year financial advisor, I love what the FIRE movement promotes but you know as well as I do that some people push things to the extreme. Using FIRE techniques to save a good portion of your income and invest what you can and strive to retire early are wonderful goals to have. Just make sure you enjoy the journey along the way.  Life is meant to be lived.

Live free my friends,
Eric Gaddy