Jump to content
tony

Fanning The Flames Of The FIRE movement

Recommended Posts

Ditto! Thanks Tony,

I love these young people! 

I wrote this comment: 

The FI and FIRE communities are a threat to not only financial advisers of which FI and FIRE community will not employ but the entire powerful consumer market. These young people get it. I was fortunate to attend one of their conferences in my neighborhood last summer, CampFI Southwest. They understand 100% about investing, stocks, bonds, real estate, and the most important skill in the 21st century, frugal living. Everybody must live below their means to achieve FI or FIRE. I truly respect their categorical rejection of climbing the super stressful corporate ladder with the fake "rich" images complete with huge debts: $5000 suits, beautiful 5,000 sq. ft. home, and expensive cars, super expensive private schools for the children, maids, and opt for a less (A LOT LESS) stressful life, with quality TIME with family and friends, and doing what they love. My hat is off to these young people!

BTW, the FI and FIRE are the modern day counterculture movement of the 1960s.  In those days, my Boomer generation rejected the consumer culture too. But by the 1980s, much of the counterculture movement went out the window and we opted for the borrow and spend. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I did the FIRE movement, but IMO too many of its leading proponents arent transparent enough with how they've been able to achieve their FI and RE. Many skip right past how they had comparatively low or no student debt because of inherited wealth, let alone the discussion of how their upbringing might have tracked them into a college or career with more opportunity (like I got). They are often conspicuously silent about the prospect of inherited wealth or the reality that many (like me) have to support a parent (maybe because they never adhered to the positive admonishments of the frugal living). 

I realize I'm probably far left here, but I do think that the FIRE movement has a huge blindside when it comes to equity and how their own imagined independence is actually founded on their inheritance.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don’t follow the individual people who FIRE or how they tell their stories. However, anybody who starts their analysis with the math should clearly understand that you need to earn massive sums of money and/or receive an inheritance. There is absolutely no way around that.

I hit the FI part but haven’t chosen to RE yet. I grew up in a family/community where college wasn’t optional and my dad told me to get a Computer Science degree so that’s what I did without even knowing what it was or how much income it generated. When I was in school I vaguely heard how India was going to decimate my field with cheap labor, that ultimately didn’t happen but it could have I suppose.  In my career I’ve had a couple connections that led to faster/larger raises. I also graduated at just the right time to prevent me from buying a house at the peak, instead I bought at the trough.

So I got lucky and I’m now able to save roughly 100k/year plus whatever my spouse saves. My perception of my spending was in the right ball park, but when I began tracking my spending I realized that I’m not exactly the minimalist I thought I was and I realized that even fewer people were FIRE candidates than I originally thought.

I think it is easy to live in your own bubble without a lot of reflection and mathematical analysis, so your assessment definitely rings true to me. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dustin and Ed,

For heaven's sake give these young people a chance. Of course, there are questions. Mine is health care.  As I have said before, I attended one of their conferences last summer. About 50 young people came from all walks of life, mainly from California.

One young couple in their early 20s stood out for me. The met in school in Mexico where both were born and raised. I was very impressed when her father trusted her, over an older son, to take care of the family finances should something happen to her parents (she is only in her 20s!). Also, the most shocking piece of advice her father told her is to immigrate to the United States because "they treat women better than in Mexico!" 

Already stereotypes of children of the wealthy can only do this! I beg to differ because I met and talked with them. My late hubby and I started with nothing and started saving for retirement in our middle 30s and 20 years later we were millionaires, in our middle 50s. And we were teachers living in expensive Los Angeles.  It is easy to build a nest egg to a million these days because of the quality investments available at extremely low costs and building a real estate portfolio.

Most people lack the discipline to live below one's means and have absolutely no interest in managing their money or who convince themselves that it cannot be done. These young people have gobs of discipline and knowledge because they found a community of support to learn more. These young people are taking advantage of this opportunity because they feel that social security and pensions will not be available to them. But most important, they want to have choices to do what they want, and to live financially independent.

Again the stereotype: Only a few are quitting their jobs and becoming famous bloggers!? Of course not. It is so amazing that these courageous young people are challenging the stress-filled status quo head-on of working till you drop, with debts because of big houses and expensive cars and dying soon after retirement. They reject that kind of life and they are committed to frugal living to be financially independent. For that, some of us claim they are all filthy rich? 

Are some of these people going to make mistakes? Of course. We all make mistakes.   

Absolutely, so some were born with a silver spoon and making huge amounts of money at a young age. But to claim with no evidence that most have inherited their money is way out of line. I respect even those highly talented privileged young adults are rejecting the corporate lifestyle and opting for a better life because they value time over corporate stress and the borrow and spend culture. 

I have read both books by the gurus they worship for good reason, both are great personal finance books. I gave them a five-star review on Amazon: Your Money or Your Life by Vicky Robbins and The Simple Plan to Wealth by CL Collins, and the most famous blogger of all time on frugal living, Mr. Money Mustache. I personally share and love the philosophy of rejecting the consumer culture and becoming FI. I think we all can agree here. 

I love these young people because they get what the few of us have been trying to do here on this website for almost 20 years for our teacher colleagues. It has been frustrating sometimes trying to enlighten our teacher colleagues, so to find any group of people who get this very simple plan right out of the gate of life is personally refreshing to me. 

Steve

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I love the fire movement, but people safely retiring in their thirties (and many in their forties) were either born rich or are making obscene amounts of money. The math behind that is inescapable.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, EdLaFave said:

I love the fire movement, but people safely retiring in their thirties (and many in their forties) were either born rich or are making obscene amounts of money. The math behind that is inescapable.

Your math is inescapable but does it really matter how they become FI? What they do after FI is a mystery and it will be an interesting journey to observe how it works out for them. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In my view it matters because...

The wealthy have a long history of creating and perpetuating the (false) narrative that a person’s character determines their level of success. This means that the wealthy/powerful aren’t inclined to address structural issues in our economy because anybody struggling “deserves” to struggle. It also means they segregate themselves from these “inferior” people, which is bad for everybody.

Interestingly this narrative is often internalized by those struggling, leading to a sense of inferiority and shame, which also prevents them from pushing to address the structural issues.

So if FIRE folks are incorrectly claiming that anybody can FIRE if they just stop their indulgent behavior, then they’re contributing to that culture. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, EdLaFave said:

In my view it matters because...

The wealthy have a long history of creating and perpetuating the (false) narrative that a person’s character determines their level of success. This means that the wealthy/powerful aren’t inclined to address structural issues in our economy because anybody struggling “deserves” to struggle. It also means they segregate themselves from these “inferior” people, which is bad for everybody.

Interestingly this narrative is often internalized by those struggling, leading to a sense of inferiority and shame, which also prevents them from pushing to address the structural issues.

So if FIRE folks are incorrectly claiming that anybody can FIRE if they just stop their indulgent behavior, then they’re contributing to that culture. 

1

I guess you want them to give up because they are stooges to the narrative. Yes, it is that simple ED. Anybody can be FIRE but it does require discipline and knowledge. They get that from their communities, their meetings all over the country. That's powerful stuff that we in the education community could learn from.

I have read their books and been to a conference, and chatting with them and listened to their presentations. Super wealthy people do not mingle in the middle of the desert in August to support each other. Super wealthy people don't buy a duplex and rent out the half and live in the other to build wealth, start saving the minute to get their first paycheck (no matter how high it is), or live frugally.  

With all due respect, you bringing in topics that have nothing to do with these amazing young people. These young people hate debt, are anti-consumer and therefore, anti-capitalist, as you can get. 

They are the 1960s version of the counterculture, they are challenging the establishment. I wish them the best, and I think they will be just fine, and good for the country too. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
42 minutes ago, sschullo said:

Anybody can be FIRE

This is untrue as proven by mathematical analysis. At best statements like this provide false hope, at worst they lead people into an early retirement that their portfolio can’t sustain.

A small percentage of this nation earns/has enough to retire early in the way most would define the term and certainly the way some FIRE folks present it (i.e. retiring at 50 doesn’t count, having to work after you “retire” doesn’t count, etc). I know most can’t do it no matter how frugal they are because I’m part of that lucky group who can, I’ve seen the income distribution in this nation, and I’ve done the math.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 minutes ago, EdLaFave said:

This is untrue as proven by mathematical analysis. At best statements like this provide false hope, at worst they lead people into an early retirement that their portfolio can’t sustain.

A small percentage of this nation earns/has enough to retire early in the FIRE-sense (i.e. retiring at 50 doesn’t count, having to work after you “retire” doesn’t count, etc). I know because I’m part of that lucky group and I’ve done the math.

You agree with Suzi? Math doesn't consider the qualitative aspects of these young people life philosophies of whom you never met. These young folks reject the materialism of the masses and opt for quality time. You think that is not enough, but it is HUGE. If their portfolio can't sustain, then they go back to work or work longer. Okay, so some might make a mistake. Again, we have all made mistakes. Its a journey that you say shouldn't even be tried because your math doesn't support it. 

I can list mistakes that just about all workers make despite their incomes:

  1. not knowing the power of compound interest
  2. spending too much and saving too little during their entire working lives, that is, not having the discipline  to live below their means
  3. not knowing what a stock is and how it grows
  4. not knowing the difference between an annuity and a mutual fund
  5. trusting somebody in a suit who just happens to walk into a classroom to handle your 403(b) TSA for an entire career, and never looking or questioning the product.
  6. Not learning the investing process
  7. Not knowing how fees eat into an investment over many years

The above mistakes are made by the vast majority of the public, but NOT THE FIRE COMMUNITY. Remember its a community, not just individuals with false hope. 

It is way too soon to cast cynical judgment about what counts and what doesn't count. These young people are just trying to do something different, and there is nothing wrong with the message and the positiveness of the philosophy that less is more, and that they are on their way to handle the finances without an adviser just fine.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Suzi is shockingly incorrect.

This absolutely is a math problem.

I haven’t said FIRE shouldn’t be done. I’m literally working on FIRE for myself.

I said the majority of people don’t have/earn enough to safely retire early. That is an inescapable mathematical reality.

Positivity that isn’t grounded in reality is dangerous, just as any delusion is.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

But Suze says that the math doesn't support FIRE either. 

It's a cultural problem of our schools not teaching financial literacy. Math is the symptom, an important symptom but a symptom that these young people are well aware of. 

Great movements were are often initially viewed as dangerous and delusional. Calling what they are trying to do "dangerous" and "delusional" is not warranted. These young people and the FIRE movement messages are great! We preach frugal living here all of the time, and learn to manage our own money without an adviser. Nothing wrong with those ideals. Whether your math supports it or not is beside the point. It is in the effort and trying that counts, living up to one's ideals are wonderful gifts to give to people, and that is worth a lot of our respect especially against the powerful and damaging consumer culture that we live it. Borrowing and spending are dangerous to our health and well being of individuals and our country. The FIRE movement is trying to break free of that real danger. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...