Reading about the FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early) movement has been quite interesting, not because it is novel – if anything, it is quite dated. It is interesting because it is a signal to the ways in which timeless available truths keep being recycled with new buzzwords.
There are two areas that easily demonstrate how we repeatedly live below the ideals we profess – our financial and our eating choices.
It is not a lack of knowledge that makes people spend more than they earn or eat more than they need. When we are getting over-stretched in our finances or over-bloated on meals, we know, but in the moment, we care less. We bank on a future that will make things better. A future where we will get a windfall or maybe suddenly start making better choices, before any life-threatening calamity. We forget that the handle of the future is always with us, now, to wield as we please.
If the FIRE movement gets people excited enough to change their savings, investing and spending habits, great. Sadly, I am not overly optimistic, because we have had too many books, lectures and fireside advice on the basic principles of financial independence –
- Save first, save for the rainy day.
- Live on less than you earn, less is more.
- Invest with “safety of principal” leading, you can only grow what exists.
The goal is for your returns on investments (passive income) to surpass living expenses. When that happens, you become financially independent.
Retiring early is a different choice. It largely depends on whether or not you find meaning in the work you do.
– Osasu Oviawe