As I near my 10th year of early retirement, I’ve had a lot of time to reflect on what it means to “FIRE”. And, I’ve been toying with the idea of redefining FIRE altogether. If nothing else, it’s an interesting thought exercise…
The FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early) movement has been gaining popularity in recent years, as more and more people are looking for ways to achieve financial freedom and the ability to retire early. But what if we were to change the acronym slightly? Instead of “Retire Early,” what if we replaced it with “Retire Eligible“?
Redefine the Meaning of “FIRE”
Would you want to achieve “Financial Independence, Retire Eligible“?
The FIRE movement would still focus on achieving financial independence, but not necessarily make it a direct goal to retire early. There are in fact, many people who achieve financial independence that don’t actually retire early at all. Instead, they continue working in their current job or start a new career that aligns with their values and aspirations. They realize that work is not just about earning a paycheck, but also about personal growth, learning new skills, and making a difference in the world.
Financial Independence is about Optionality
The key to achieving financial independence is to save and invest as much as possible, while also being mindful of your expenses. This allows you to build a nest egg that will provide you with enough income to cover your living expenses, so you don’t have to rely on a traditional 9-5 job to make ends meet. This way, you can focus on the things that truly matter to you, rather than being stuck in a job you don’t enjoy just to pay the bills.
But what does it mean to be “Eligible” for FIRE? Being eligible for FIRE means that you have achieved financial independence and have the option to retire early, but you also have the option to continue working in a field that aligns with your values and aspirations. It means that you’re no longer tied to a traditional 9-5 job and can choose to work in a field that you’re passionate about. It gives you the freedom and flexibility to pursue your dreams and make a difference in the world, without being held back by financial constraints.
The Benefits of FIRE Remain
One of the key benefits of being eligible for FIRE is that it allows you to have more control over your life. You can choose to work in a field that aligns with your values and aspirations, rather than being stuck in a job that you don’t enjoy. You can also choose to work in a field that allows you to have a more flexible schedule, so you can spend more time with your family and loved ones. This way, you can have a fulfilling career and a fulfilling personal life, without having to choose one over the other.
Another benefit of being eligible for FIRE is that it allows you to have more control over your finances. By saving and investing as much as possible, you can build a nest egg that will provide you with enough income to cover your living expenses, even if you don’t have a traditional 9-5 job. This means that you’re not beholden to any one employer or any one industry, and you have the freedom to pursue your dreams without financial constraints.
In conclusion, the FIRE movement is not just about retiring early, it’s about having the freedom and flexibility to pursue your dreams and make a difference in the world, without being held back by financial constraints. Changing the acronym from “Retire Early” to “Eligible” is a subtle but important shift that accurately reflects the true goal of the FIRE movement: financial independence and the ability to make choices about one’s life and work.
So, let’s change the FIRE acronym once and for all, from Financial Independence, Retire Early, to Financial Independence, Retire Eligible. This change will better reflect the true purpose of the FIRE movement, which is about achieving financial independence and the ability to make choices about one’s life and work, rather than just retiring early.
Readers, what do you think? Is this a good idea, or should we stick with what has worked already?
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I personally redefined FIRE years ago to be Financially Independent / Recreational Employment and more recently the RE has changed slightly to Recreational Endeavors
Interesting one, Dom. “Recreational” adds an element of FUN. Love it.
I love this. I have always considered FIRE this way, so to change the “E” to eligible makes a lot of sense.
Thanks, Zach! I think there are a lot of us who think this way. It’s just that “retire early” is so sexy to those who think they want it! 😉