FIRE-Lite: A More Sustainable Alternative To F.I.R.E

If you’re in the financial world you have probably heard of the term “F.I.R.E” which besides sounding scary is actually one of the best philosophies you can follow in relation to finance. It means Financial Independence Retire Early, which I don’t know about you but I am all about retiring as soon as possible so I can actually enjoy my retirement. Instead of being an old man who has to use a cane to shuffle into my golf cart. I can be a slightly older, middle age man smoking a cigar and chugging my liquor before losing all of my money, because I suck at golf. However what if we could supercharge the R.E of F.I.R.E, basically allowing us to retire even earlier than before. Well, with a semi-F.I.R.E approach you can do just that.

So, what is this “Semi-F.I.R.E, or F.I.R.E Lite?” well to simply put, it’s leveraging skills and minimalism to “retire” even earlier. Notice, how I put “retire” in quotes, well this may not be a total retiring method because you do actually have to work but this is where you leverage your skills to do something you love part time. Essentially instead of working for 25 years you can speed this up to something like 10 years. The objective of your investments is generate enough income to pay the bills (mortgage, rent, electricity, sewer, trash, etc.) will having your part time job to generating spending money. Personally I am one of the people that believe people should have something concrete in their lives and having a part time job that puts them in the community. Keeping the hours low keeps people grounded and reduces stress because they are not dealing with the pressures of a full time job.

The beauty of this strategy is for one the time required is usually around 10 -15 years, and also the fact now that your job opportunities become endless. Essentially a part time job landscaping , or working at store, selling stuff you actually have an interest in, become viable options for financial independence. No longer do you have to stay until 1am on a Wednesday night filling out stupid reports for your boss, so he can afford that luxury cabin in the mountains. But if you have the urge to flex your working knowledge, you can branch out into consulting and leverage those skills you built up during those years working and generate a large income. Seriously, if you become good or knowledgeable enough your 20 hr a week consulting gig can generate you more money than your actual job. It’s not unheard of for financial/ I.T/management consultants to generate $100 an hour. Which, if they were only working a 20 hr week would generate $104,000 a year. More than enough to put away for full retirement, while keeping their sanity because they are building their own brand and not making some one else rich.

Of course any F.I.R.E based retirement method will have drawbacks. For example, you will have to believe in minimalism, which really could be considered a benefit because you’ll de-clutter your life in the process. But in any case you’re going to need to actually set up a budget and stick to it. Retiring early will require some self disciple. So no, you can’t go partying with celebrities on their yachts (unless they pay for everything, then go ahead, knock yourself out). But you won’t have to trudge into the office everyday to the same sniffling and click-clacking from the keyboards as you question your own sanity.

Disclaimer: I am not a financial investment professional and any investment decisions should be made with the help of a financial investment professional. Also timetables and salaries discussed in this article are estimates only.

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