Retirement! I love my wonderfully happy LifeInFIRE.
FI/RE, for many people, can be simply defined as living the wonderful life—or a future goal—of Financial Independence/Retire Early.
The date of “early” can simply equal being able to retire.
- It may be to retire at 60 with enough financial independence to not be dependent on Social Security’s determined retirement age/options.
- You may be a great saver (and of course a great spender) allowing you to leave the working world in your 50’s.
- You could be an extreme outlier who’s a super saver finding financial independence in your 40’s, some people even FIRE under 40.
- Many people now have the great idea of mini-retirements. Maybe taking a year off every few years. They save with a plan that allows them to travel or volunteer or learn something new.
- Maybe even being able to retire at all, at say 70 or 75 even when you didn’t think retirement would be possible. This does not have to be the same as the 19th century, when you worked your entire life, until the day you die.
To be sure, the Retirement Early half of the acronym gets most of the attention, but it’s the FI half that really makes all the difference. Consider that many people in the past decade+ have been laid off, left work for medical or family reasons, or had a drastic employment change. Of these people, many had a hard time finding comparable new employment in the very tough economy. It goes without saying that a large percentage of older workers were targeted in these cost-saving moves, in which their age amplified their struggle to find new employment. Many of these people may have thrown in the towel and decided to abandon the job hunt and “retire.” Now for the hard question, did these workers build some FI prior to this stressful forced “retirement?”
If you’ve been in the jobless—no matter how temporary—situation, you know the stress. The stress is lessened by having an emergency fund. Actually, working and living with an emergency fund lessens stress even if there is no employment change. Savings gives you freedom, power and the ability to set your own path whether in FIRE or while working.
I often think about the saying “he who has the gold makes the rules.” Every little bit of additional savings, the little bit more of control you have.
Get some “gold,” and make some rules for yourself. It’s a wonderful goal to enjoy each day in your own way.