I was reading about wealth in a retirement book and it mentioned FIRE. It mentioned FIRE, I believe, in the sense of saving all your money early and young, then leaving work in your 30s. This is the media story portrayal of FIRE.
I’ve said many times that Early Retirement to me is someone who can retire before they hit their 60s. Of course, there are different levels of “early.” I was told the other day that I “retired as a child.” I didn’t take offense to that because I’m 3h, but I did think about the statement. Yeah, I was really, really young at 43. I thought I was at least a full decade into my wisdom level at that point…boy, there was—and still is—a lot to learn
I do think the focus of FIRE being on the Financial Independence portion of the acronym makes total sense. FI allows FREEDOM. FI gives you options. FI makes life easier. FI really does lead to FU money and the power of someone setting their own direction in life.
My question for this post asks, simply, Does FI equal Wealthy?
Having enough financial resources to be independent of producing more income for spending/savings is probably the true meaning of FI. But, is that same FI household—wealthy?
It depends… What does someone define wealthy as?
Wealth: – plentiful supplies of a particular resource. “Wealth is the ability to fully experience life.”
In terms of money, maybe that household has enough wealth to provide for their—and others—lives. Is their money level wealthy compared to the top-ranking Forbes richest? Nope. Is this household’s financial wealth equivalent to the richest neighborhoods in town? That’s an interesting question. Maybe they are compared to some of those households but not others. A FI household in the US is most certainly wealthier than over half of the world’s population, but a dollar isn’t the same as a rupee or rupiah.
In terms of time and opportunity, I would say absolutely yes, FI is wealthy. The most important units on earth seem to be health and time. Some books that talk all about health span and lifespan.
Since my priorities start with Health, Happiness, and Helping, it’s invaluable to have all my time to allocate as I choose.
Most of society lives with the visibility of showing what they “own.” Or, probably more accurately stated—what they owe on. People follow the spending/showing activities of those around them or in modern times—the spending patterns of those on social media. There is no regard to income determining spending ability. The Joneses are now virtual.
The mentality seems to be “look what I have…the same as others.” To me, the very most ironic symbol of this status is nike shoes. Showing your success through leather and rubber for your feet makes no sense to me at all.
I believe the #1 value of wealth is time ownership. Hopefully closely tied to that is health. How do you show time wealth? Is it being able to run errands Monday – Friday from 9am – 3pm? Why are there so many other people out at that same time? How can that be? Shouldn’t those other people be working?
I get the sense that all of this avoidance/anger/boycotting of back-to-the-office ties directly to the sense of wonderful that being at home and not in the office entails.
Stealth Wealth is a wonderful topic so well detailed in The Millionaire Next Door book series.
Maybe the true goal of this post is tied to the concept of Independence? Don’t we all want to feel independent and empowered?
*** Nothing in this article is to be construed as financial advice. I am not a financial planner, nor do I pretend to be. You should always consult your own professional when seeking advice. This post is not a piece of literary mastery, just a random thought I had.