10 Provocative Early Retirement & FIRE Blogs You MUST Read

Michael QuanEducation, FI / FIRE, Misc94 Comments

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Financial Independence, Retire Early

(*The FIRE continues to spread, friends!  So, I’ve updated this post with a couple of additional sites for 2019.)

Look no further. I’m bringing you the 10 best and most provocative FIRE (Finacial Independence, Retire Early) blogs the Internet has to offer.

These sites will challenge your beliefs about traditional retirement and inspire you with possibilities you may have never imagined.

FIRE it Up!

For the uninitiated, F.I.R.E., or simply FIRE stands for Financial Independence, Retirement Early.  If you are unfamiliar with the concept and terms, check out my comprehensive post – The Ultimate FIRE Guide: Unlocking the Secrets of the Modern Financial Independence, Retire Early Movement.

There are some really fantastic FIRE bloggers that have taught me a ton and helped me to better understand my own story of early retirement.  As FIRE bloggers, we all have our own take on “things”, and this is beautiful for readers just like you.

Whether you are a newbie, an experienced professional, or a fellow PF blogger, you get to pick and choose the best information and/or learn from those you naturally resonate with.

Today I’d like to share some of my favorite sites in this FIRE category.  These provocative FIRE blogs are the real deal.  These bloggers are living proof of early retirement or have found financial independence early on.  Although not all of them publicly state their net worths, a good chunk of them are millionaires and/or multi-millionaires.

FIRE and Early Retirement Blogs

Financial Samurai

Financial Samurai – There’s a good chance you already know of FS because Sam is a veteran blogger who writes tirelessly, with conviction, and is also entertaining.  Sam retired early in his 30’s after a successful career on Wall Street and is truly on FIRE (Financially Independent, and Retired Early!).

He has a work ethic that most of us can only aspire to but is very humble.  He’s willing to help out bloggers just starting out (like I was back in 2015).  I’ve had the good fortune of meeting Sam in person at FinCon and providing a guest post (the one I’m most proud of) to his savvy community.

Retire By 40

Retire By 40 – RB40 is by Joe Udo, a former Intel engineer, who had enough of the rat race.  He retired in his late 30’s so he could become a stay-at-home Dad (SAHD) and blogger… just like me!  Like FS, Joe has been around for a while (2010) which is a long time in the PF blogging community.  In fact, he chronicled his journey even before he quit.

Today he’s able to supplement his family’s cash flow with online income from his blog.  He’s amassed an impressive portfolio and well diversified into real estate also.  Joe’s a great guy and another blogger I was lucky enough to meet last year at FinCon.

1500 Days

Mr. 1500 (Carl) has been FIRE’d for a couple of years now.  I’m pretty sure he’s loving it.  He’s also been featured on some major news publications too. I first met Carl a few years ago when he came to San Diego for a vacation with the family.  Dom from Gen Y Finance Guy had set up a time to meet up with Carl and invited me along.  It was Christmas time, so I brought along some homemade chocolate chip cookies for him, and we’ve been friends ever since!

Carl’s writing is witty and fun.  His original premise of the blog was to track his journey to FIRE over the course of 1500 days.  Of course, you already know the spoiler (he made it, and then some!), but it’s really eye-opening to read his journey back before it actually happened.  If you see him at FinCon and want to catch his attention, just start asking him about his favorite pale ale.

Check out his Financially Alert interview here.

Think Save Retire

Think Save Retire – Steve is an active early retirement blogger that recently stepped off the rat race himself.  He doesn’t consider himself rich, but he’s saved diligently and amassed enough to FIRE with his wife.  He’s done a full 180 degree turn when it comes to pursuing the “finer” things in life and lives a frugal, but complete life with his wife.  They recently purchased an Airstream which they live and travel in now that he’s retired (btw, he’s only 35).

You’ll also find him as an active participant and moderator at Rockstar Finance Forums.  He’s helping J$ to consolidate the best PF blogs out there.  Steve is also an avid photographer.

Physician on FIRE

Physician on FIRE – PoF, as we like to call him online, is a practicing anesthesiologist and FIRE blogger who’s exploded into the PF community with a friendly and informative presence.  He does a fantastic job of helping his fellow physicians.  Unfortunately, many physicians aren’t financial savvy because they’ve focused their efforts elsewhere and they are taxed like crazy!  PoF is here to help bridge that gap and give them FIRE options they may never have considered.

He’s just been blogging a little over a year, but is quite literally EVERYWHERE!  I’m not sure quite how he does it all, but it’s certainly inspiring.  He’s also super generous, donating all of his online proceeds.  Oh and if that wasn’t enough, he gave away $100k to charity!  Respect.

Mr. Tako Escapes

Mr. Tako Escapes – Mr. Tako is a financially independent father of 2, savvy dividend equities investor, and fellow early retiree.  He blogs about early retirement, FIRE, and fun related hobbies that expose his naturally frugal personality.  Tako amassed over $2M in net worth by the time he was 38 years old and did it without real estate, businesses, nor an inheritance.

He also loves cooking and eating good food, but doesn’t spend a ton on it (like some other frivolous blogger I know personally).

Mr. Tako definitely marches to the beat of his own drum and I respect him for that.  Check out his Financially Alert interview he did with me here.

Early Retirement Now

Early Retirement Now – Mr. ERN and wife are on a solid trajectory to retire early in 2018.  They’ve already saved up a sizable nest-egg (as they’ve recently disclosed).

I actually only stumbled upon ERN recently but was super impressed with the detailed paper written about safe withdrawal rates for early retirees.  You see, once you actually retire, capital preservation and depletion should be a metric you are watching closely to ensure you can live indefinitely without needing to go back to work.  Mr. ERN took over 6.5 million samples to generate results that help early retirees like me to see the need to stay conservative with withdrawal rates and to NOT simply accept the commonly accepted 4% rule.

Root of Good

Root of Good – Justin retired early at the age of 33.  The great thing about his story is that he’s an example of a hardcore saver who has created wealth at a young age but without a huge salary.  His monthly expenses are truly a piece of art and subject to high levels of scrutiny and doubt (since most people can’t believe what he’s been able to do!).

Justin also publishes monthly financial reports similar to mine which allow you to follow along in full detail.  His NW has been very close to mine and you’ll see our numbers often duking it out!

Our Next Life

ONL was once an anonymous FIRE blogger.  But, it’s kind of hard to stay anonymous when you author your own book!  Tanja Hester’s book, Work Optional, is a practical guide to rethinking work & money.  She is an excellent writer and won numerous awards for her thought-provoking blog.  Her “partner in crime” is Mark.

I love her 10 Questions to Retire EarlyEarly Retirement is not for everyone

Choose FI

ChooseFI – ChooseFI has exploded onto the FI/FIRE scene with an incredible podcast that I can’t get enough.  Brad has already reached FI and Jonathan is well on his way.  Together they make a remarkable team.  Jonathan has a knack for refining complex ideas into easy to understand chunk.

As a side bonus to awesome FI content is credit card hacking how-tos also!  Brad is an expert in this field and helps you to walk through the exact steps needed to begin and optimize along the way.

Just Scratching the Surface

I should iterate that I’ve only scratched the surface here.  There are a ton of other great PF blogs out there that each brings a unique voice with their individual story.

Readers, what other FIRE blogs should I be reading?  Which of these FIRE blogs will you be (or already are) reading?

Michael Quan
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94 Comments on “10 Provocative Early Retirement & FIRE Blogs You MUST Read”

  1. I am a mother of two from Upstate New York. During pandemic, I have decided to achieve FI & retire early in my mid thirties. In order to achieve that, i have started to cut down my expenses and is keeping track of my savings better. But, with passing time it seems that inflation is taking me away from my early retirement goal. Now, I am reading all the FIRE related blogs to get some help. I am glad for the resource provided. thanks for this.

  2. Hi Michael, I found your site from a comment you left on mine! Only just started poking around but wow, I like the breadth of coverage. A lot of the PF/FIRE stuff I read is so insular it’s hard to find new things or people doing it differently so I appreciate the effort you put in here.

    One thing that stands out is I feel like people might accuse you of not “really” being retired since this clearly takes a lot of effort, but obviously it’s something you’re passionate about. The “update” post yesterday from LivingAFI where he wondered aloud if being less anonymous and more involved in the FIRE stuff would have made a difference is interesting to me. Clearly we all need some sense of purpose, a permanent vacation sounds great to me now but I also know I get bored on long weekends. Anyway now I’m rambling but thanks for linking me here, I’ll definitely stick around!

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  4. Thanks for the great list Michael! As I now have the foundation of FI in place, one area I often toss around in is how to continue my charitable contributions when I feel like I should instead direct all money to early retirement. I save at least 50%, and charitable giving to conservation/environmental groups is important to me. How have you decided on how to prioritize giving back and making it work with your FI model?

    Many thanks for your content and advice!

    1. That’s a fantastic question, Gary! I think the most effective way to approach it is to allocate a bucket for giving and make it a part of pay yourself first. The truth is if you’re generous pre-FI, you’ll probably be generous post-FI. The opposite also holds true. The point is it’s possible to save/invest for FI and also give simultaneously.

  5. I’m a big fan of the blogs you have listed and follow a few of them religiously (financial samurai, retire by 40, etc).

    It’s nice to see great minds think alike.

  6. Hello. Just stumbled upon this website. An old friend messaged me last night, raving that I’m part of some movement but she thought I was teasing her when I asked what movement she was referring to.

    This is the closest one I can find to what I’ve been up to lately.

    I retired for a few years on my book royalties to be a stay at home single mom. Royalties dipped so I went back to work, hit the books, and tried again. I’m saving my pennies and investing them in the stock market, with an eventual plan to go into real estate.

    I believe I’m a bit too old to be considered part of this, so I’m skeptical. I’m approaching the half-century mark, and simply want to see how far I can go in the other direction (I live cheap). Regardless, from what I’ve seen so far it’s definitely interesting so I plan to go through your posts as time allows.

    Have a nice day, and thanks for listing these blogs. It will help with my research.

    1. Thanks for sharing your story, Annie. That’s really cool that you were able to take some time at home with your kids in large part due to book royalties… how cool is that!? It’s never too late to accelerate your investing. 🙂

  7. Thanks Michael. Hope more women pipe up and add to the stories. PS: I didn’t mention the nameless ‘husband’, but there is one. He still works because he’s younger than me and is one of a dwindling number of people in the UK to get a final salary pension, which is worth a lot. I intend to top up my state pension with more national insurance contributions to get the full state pension (about £165.00 per week), but I can’t get that until I’m 67 as the UK is having a pensions’ crisis, as well as a Brexit crisis, and has upped the age you can get the state pension. Bearing in mind I could be dead by then, I’ll have to be good at forecasting so I don’t part with funds I can’t use. Also bearing in mind that that the combined outcome of Brexit and climate change could wipe out the UK, being dead could be the preferable option…

    1. Agreed, Trunkfish24! I do believe we’ll see more female FI influencers over time. Hope everything works out for you personally with the Brexit situation.

  8. The first thing I noticed when I read this was that all the bloggers are men and plenty of you are commenting on that. Michael wanted to know of any female FIRES. Well I’m one of them, but I don’t blog. Blogging seems too much like the work I left (journalism). I ‘retired’ at 52 but I don’t recognise the word ‘retirement’ in today’s world. You’re not retiring from anything – you’re just starting your dream life, so you’re both beginning and transforming. I know I’m not as young as some of you, but when you consider that, in the UK, the snowflakes are set to work until they’re about 70 before the state pension kicks in, I am pretty young. How did I do it? A mixture of luck and action. I’ve always been good with money and allocating funds for different uses – even putting aside a weekly amount to allow me to visit the hairdresser or pay for car parking. I started a personal pension young and ended up with three. Importantly, I never had children because I never wanted them, and the cost in the UK or bringing up a child is set at about £125,000 all up. My family also helped me with money and I invested in property as soon as I could in London, where I was building up my career. I was very lucky to make a lot of money from property during the boom period of the late nineties onwards. I’ve invested in more property in a cheaper area then London and get income from renting these out. Why don’t women blog about FIRE and why don’t they appear to represent FIRE online? My guess is that women tend to focus on family and other commitments before they put themselves first, and focussing on early retirement at a young age means to focus on yourself and what you want. Clearly I don’t have a problem putting myself first. Are women too multi-tasking? I’m a rubbish multi-tasker but I’m brilliant at single focus and that’s what you need for FIRE. Single-minded dedication and commitment. Are women just not bullish enough to put themselves first. I am. I don’t deserve anything less than you because I’m female. In my opinion, women work too hard for too little gain and care too much about what people think of them. They’re just too sacrificial. It doesn’t mean you’re selfish, not a good person, or not valuable to others if you work towards a financially and spiritually free existence away from an office with no debt or obvious burdens. It means you’re smart! Thanks for reading.

    1. Thank you for sharing, Sam! 52 is a relatively young age to “retire”. I like how you state that you’re simply transforming. Great job at being diligent in your early years so you can afford the lifestyle you have now. I believe women and men are equally capable of achieving FIRE, though I do believe our society influences the genders differently. It’s up to us to push through these barriers and you’ve got a great story to share.

    2. Hey Sam, I do love this list but I agree with you that there seems to be more male than female FIRE bloggers. In fact, one of the first articles on my blog raged about how I felt that people didn’t seem to believe or respect women who reached early retirement. Women are often written off as a stay at home mum, or living off the significant other. Times are slowly changing though and I hope more women will be joining this movement!

  9. Hi! Why are these blogs exclusively by men? There are a bunch of female FI bloggers and practitioners out there too! Saving money and having a happy life is gender blind. Shouldn’t your blog reflect that, rather than only including women (who are the main bread winners in 40% of households) as the nameless “wife”? I know from my own marriage that FIRE is a team effort, and if you both don’t actively participate it won’t work.

    1. You are actually not the first to notice this. However, at the time, these were the sites that I felt best covered the topic of early retirement that I was aware of. Since then, I have come to enjoy reading FIIdeas.com, TheFrugalGene.com, and of course, ONL.

      I agree that FIRE is a team effort! Check out my article on amazing Mom’s and their effect on money. 🙂

  10. Nice list …. good for encouragement … like GCC and M~R too … a 10 mill target sounds admirable

  11. Awesome List Micheal, my wife and I just started the journey. I already feel like im late to the party! Joe at Retire by 40 was the first blog I found and its inspiring to see so many different average people build huge net worth and retire early. Can’t wait to Join!

  12. I found my way into the FI/RE world as a reader of Mr. Money Mustache and Early Retirement Extreme but quickly began reading many that you’ve listed. A couple are new to me – so, thanks! I (very) recently threw my hat into the ring as a FIRE blogger. Figured why not! It’s another way to hold myself accountable to my goals and is a great creative outlet. Plus, the FIRE community seems to be full of so much positivity, which is something I want to be a part of and contribute to. Cheers!

  13. A great list of great blogs by great people. I’m always amazed how many well written posts these people are able to crank out. It’s almost like they don’t have jobs or something!

  14. Great list! I started with PoF, ERN, and Retire by 40. I’ve learned a ton from countless hours reading those blogs, and the effort those writers put into writing them is definitely appreciated.

    Education is entering a new paradigm where a lot of knowledge people need for their lives is now found online for free, rather than in traditional institutions. One university professor recently asked, “Why would I teach 300 students in a classroom when I can put a video on Youtube and reach 300,000?” That’s the future and blogs are going to be part of it.

  15. My little blog started out as advice I was writing down for my kids, but it was easier to put it online than use any other format.

  16. Thanks for the list Michael. I have read most of them and all have very good content/perspectives. After 10 years of trying to figure out a way to retire (rather badly), I am on the FIRE path now after reading some of these blogs. There is a lot of information and opinions out there, so it can be overwhelming to begin with. But several spreadsheets later, the fog does clear.

    I also started my own blog on personal finance and FIRE, particularly to help me understand better and focus a bit more on my side of the world (New Zealand / Australia). Hope to make your list one day!

  17. A cool list, they are all great FIRE blogs, all living life a bit differently.

    Yet all written by men….at least they are not all white men.

    1. Do you know of any good PF blogs by females who have already FIRE’d? I’d love to create a new list that represents women who have FIRE’d!

      1. I think you may have hit the nail on the head there – loads of woman working towards it, but not many really FIRE’d. Would you count The Frugalwoods are FIRE’d?

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  19. I just wanted to say it’s really interesting that all of the top blogs you’ve chosen are written by men. Do you think this is because women do not blog as much about personal finance? Or is it because less women are likely to FIRE? Is this because of the wage gap or career choices? What’s your experience with the male/female ratio in this FIRE world?

    1. Eugenia, this is an interesting observation for sure. I think you are correct that more men tend to blog about FIRE currently, although there are some. Perhaps I need a new list featuring those. Statistically speaking, I do believe less women FIRE than men because of career paths, wage gaps, and even child bearing responsibilities. Something for us all to consider, so thank you for the thought provoking question!

  20. Michael,
    Thanks a lot for this list. It’s very helpful. Some sites I already knew, like Retire By 40, and some are new. I’ll definitely visit all of them, including your blog. Have a great Thanksgiving!

  21. No MoneyHax? J/k. It’s a list I’ve grown to read myself, InvestmentZen is another good one, and don’t worry it’s apart of your Finance collective at AOL!

    1. Yup, the guys at InvestmentZen are great. I didn’t include them since it’s more of an aggregation site, vs. a personal FIRE site. But, there are so many FIRE sites out there now, I’m gonna have to do another 10 soon!

  22. Michael, love your site! Thank you for sharing your wisdom and helping others! Another great/helpful post.

    1. Thanks, FT. I love that the Internet is bringing this FIRE knowledge around the globe. Technology is the great equalizer and we’ve never had so many choices. I’m happy to live during these time! 🙂

  23. Very excited to learn about this F.I.R.E. Society and/or like minded group of individuals. Look forward to reading and learning more.

    New Convert

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  25. Great list Michael. Some of them have become good blogger friends for me. Obviously, I would like my site to be included as well but I understand the hard time you face in curating this list. I am happy to see some of my favorite blogs on this list. Like you, I also wonder how POF does it. With a full time senior management job involving global travel, I find it difficult to keep up with my weekly posting schedule and keep reading and commenting on many excellent blogs.

    1. To be honest, Mr. TFR, I just came across yours recently. But, really love what you’re doing there. I’m definitely gonna need to create another list since I left out so many other awesome blogs. 🙂

      And I really wish I could multitask like PoF! Amazing.

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  27. Great list, Michael! I can’t argue with any of those, because they are all interesting bloggers. I would add jlcollinsnh.com and madfientist.com. I think they have contributed a lot to the FIRE community.

    1. I should have made a top 20 list! Thanks for mentioning Jim and Brandon. They are definitely on the forefront of the FIRE movement.

      You’re coming up too, Chad! But, I thought I’d do a separate REI list in the future. 🙂

      1. Ha, Ha. Thanks Michael! I like the idea for top 20 list. But then you’ll have requests for the top 50, 100, etc:)

        And can’t wait to see the REI list!

  28. And also financially alert! but i guess it wouldn’t be right to include your own blog in the list!

  29. Some New names like Physician on FIRE and old names like FS,keep those lists coming up yearly,maybe do upcoming blogs also.

  30. Not really a FIRE blog, but I really like Philosophical Economics, which is a blog about finance. I have no idea who writes it because there’s no About page, but the guy is ridiculously smart. He analyzes the financial markets in ways that I’ve never seen anyone do before.

  31. Thanks for the list Michael. Some great blogs you’ve included. Financialsamurai and MMM were the blogs that have had the most impact on my life. I can literally indicate when I started reading these blogs on my net worth curve. I’ve turned my finances around thanks to those blogs.

  32. I’m new to the FIRE blogger scene, mostly focusing on Real Estate. There are several on this list I had not heard of and am excited to look around on. All these blogs have me feeling like less of a sore thumb in life, I didn’t realize how many people were on the path!

    1. Jessica, I’m glad you found some new ones on this list! Real estate FIRE bloggers are also awesome, perhaps I’ll do a round-up of some of those in the future.

    1. Awesome, it’s not an everyday occurrence when I can make Mr. Tako’s day! 😉

      I bet you probably made that “drum” out of re-purposed wood you found in the back of Home Depot.

    1. It certainly feels that way, Sam! Without the Internet, we’d all be tiny needles in a haystack. Together, we can inspire those that know in their “gut” that there is more to life than a regular paycheck. Thanks for leading the charge.

  33. Wonderful list, Michael. I enjoying reading all of these as well as your site too. I agree there are so many great blogs out there – I read a bunch – and I like them all for different reasons. Our Next Life is one I always enjoy, Ms. ONL writes very well and makes me think.

  34. Thanks for the inclusion in such a prestigious group of FIRE bloggers! It’s a great list and I’m proud to say I follow each of the blogs closely myself. As well as your blog of course! Thanks!

  35. Nice list! Obviously, I’d put in a pitch for my own website as a “must read”. 😉 I think what I’ve come to realize in my situation is that it does take time to carve out the entries, network, and build an audience. I probably clock in about 70+ hrs a week on my current full-time practice as I am building my net worth. This doesn’t include the time I spend outside of work dealing with work related issues. Perhaps I can make an active plan to cut back over the next 1-2 years.

    1. Thanks for the comment, SMMD. Blogging definitely takes a lot more time than I ever guessed from the beginning. Kuddos to you for being able to do that plus work a 70+ hour week in your practice!

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