Some articles report that FIRE individuals retired on $1 million, expecting to live off 4% annually, or $40,000. Personally, I think this is way too low. What if their investments decline? Is the 4% guaranteed? What about unforeseen expenses such as health care, education, etc.?
Additionally, people who FIRE, can expect their Social Security income to be small.
Second, play devil’s advocate with those selling the FIRE philosophy. I’ve read several articles and blogs from self-proclaimed FIRE folks that say they “retired early and so can you.” But after further inspection, they aren’t truly retired. They either have a spouse that still works, or they continue to earn income through their blog, side jobs, etc.
Again, none of this is bad, but is it really retirement or simply working from home? Could they maintain their FIRE lifestyle if they quit blogging, or working from home? This I question.
Finally, there’s nothing wrong with working. Many individuals receive great satisfaction from their job – giving a sense of purpose, pride, and contribution. Many individuals would could retire, choose to continue working for other reasons – money aside. They have a sense of purpose, and many love what they do. Why would they retire?
Personally, I have nothing wrong with FIRE. I think it’s a lifestyle choice that can work for many individuals. For individuals considering embracing the FIRE philosophy, it will be important to do their due diligence, prepare for extreme frugality, and save more than they expected. It’s not something to play around with; after all, we all know what happens when we play with fire…
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