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Good Citizen / Bon Citoyen

FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early)

Anyone else out there on the FIRE train? If so, let's trade tips, stories, and challenges!


What brought me to Public Mobile is the ability to pay $0 for mobile service (I just joined this month, and I'm well on my way). I'm posting about FIRE here because I figured other frugal people may be drawn to Public Mobile as well, so there might be a  decent chance of finding fellow FIRE adherents here. (Any fellow Mustachians?)


For those who haven't heard of FIRE, you can post questions here too.


I'll attempt to describe FIRE in a paragraph. Basically, it's about working toward financial independence (FI)—the point when you have saved enough money to stop working for the rest of your life (approx 25 times your annual expenses, if invested, should last forever). It's also about retiring early (RE) as an option, rather than waiting until you're 65, the age you're supposed to retire. Most in the FIRE movement consider the definition of "retirment" as quitting the 9–5 job that you're working at for the money. Instead of working the 9–5, people who have reached FI often shift focus to their passions, and they don't have to worry if they don't end up making money off of it. But if they do—great!


Personally, I'm 34 years old and I'll be retiring in one year. I'm looking forward to spending lots of time with family, learning languages, travelling, and dedicating plenty of time to creative pursuits.

Great Neighbour / Super Voisin

Re: FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early)

I love this idea! Do you have any tips when it comes to saving for your retirement ?

Good Citizen / Bon Citoyen

Re: FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early)

Thanks for your response! Yeah! I've been living it for the past couple years, so I have lots of tips haha. What in particular are you interested in? Maybe I'll give a few broad, overarching tips, and you can let me know if you'd like me to get into the details of anything.


  1. Focus on happiness. FIRE is more about mindset than anything else. If you adopt a mindset that focuses on happiness itself—long-term, lasting happiness—FIRE just happens natually. Unnecessary things, luxury, and convenience will lose their appeal, while spending time nurturing relationships, working on hobbies you're passionate about, and fighting for causes you believe in will take the front seat.
  2. Reduce spending. The average middle class Canadian probably spends 10x more than they need to, and they're probably sacrificing a lot of freedom and happiness to keep up that unnecessary spending. If you're not saving at least half of your take-home pay, consider yourself living beyond your means and make some adjustments. If you can challenge yourself to save 75% of your take-home pay, your working career will only be 7 years long.
  3. Invest your savings. Your dollars are like workers, and each dollar sitting in a savings account is like a worker lying around doing nothing. Get your money to work for you by investing. When you have a dollar invested in shares of a company, you have thousands of people working to grow that dollar. You can expect a simple portfolio of low-cost stocks/bonds to double every 15 years or so, while every dollar sitting in a savings account will forever be losing value as it can't even keep up with inflation.
  4. Be confident. You don't need millions of dollars to retire happy. If you have 25x your annual expenses, you can safely stop working. Who knows what the future holds. You might get rich by accident while working on your passions, or stumble across a part-time job that you love and would've done for free. You might lose half of your money somehow, but that's okay because you're a skilled person who will be able to find work if needed. So retire when you can—there's no need to keep working one more year in perpetuity.

Anyways, those are the 4 overarching tips that came to mind. Feel free to let me know if you have any questions about any of them, and I can get into some details Smiley Very Happy

Good Citizen / Bon Citoyen

Re: FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early)

It is very wise of you to have planned so well, that you can retire so young - greta for you!!


I think the "approx 25 times your annual expenses" is way too conservative.  Because if it is based on the current 'working life's annual expenses' - although it is always best to have more $$ saved - it can lower the confidence of some who may want to try FIRE.

Here is the reason: The current 'working life's annual expenses', are much higher than when one is no longer working - such as driving back & forth to & from work, work related outfits, luch/meals, etc, etc.

Note: I am NOT knocking the FIRE idea at all - I am simply trying to note that it may be easier than one feared...

Good Citizen / Bon Citoyen

Re: FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early)

Thanks for your comment, @JuniorJunior!


I completely agree that the '25 times annual expenses" rule of thumb is conservative—it's just a rough guideline. It's overly safe because it's based on how much you would need for the money to last the rest of your life without every contributing to it again, and it'll work even in most worst case scenarios. FIRE will look different for everyone, and most people will continue to make money or work in some form post-FI, so they definitely don't need 25 times their expenses. And like you said, many people will have lower expenses once they've left the 9-to-5, so 25x is an overestimate.


That being said, saving 25 times your annual expenses in 10 years is a goal that's definitely within reach of middle class Canadians. If you start in your 20s, you can retire in your 30s with 25 times your annual expenses. It doesn't hurt to be conservative for peace of mind and so you have a safety margin in case of a black swan event.


What matters is your savings rate: the percentage of your take-home pay that you're saving/investing. To amass 25 times your living expense in 10 years, the math works out to a required savings rate of 66%. So as long as you  save/invest 66% of your income and live off of the remaining 34%, your working career is only 10 years long.


Once you shift your mindset and understand that every dollar spent on something that doesn't permanently increase your happiness is a wasted dollar, saving 66% becomes too easy, and you can go for even more. For example, my current savings rate is 76%, in which case it only takes 7.6 years to save 25 times my annual expenses, which is more than I need to last the rest of my life.


In short, I agree that FIRE may be easier than many people think Smiley Happy