The concept of FIRE (Financial Independence / Early Retirement) certainly seems to be sweeping the nation. One need only look around as FIRE related articles creep into the mainstream media.
While still in its neophyte stages as far an an economic theory/lifestyle goes, there does seem to be consensus that it is a ‘movement‘, dare we say, even a ‘revolution‘?
The reality is that yes, not only is this properly asserted as a movement and a revolution, but a viable one that could actually make for real change in the world.
Why did I write this post? Just another bandwagon post about how awesome FIRE is? No, I wrote this to spell out why I think we are witnessing the birth of something truly special.
I have been involved in ‘movements’ before. I have tried my hand at ‘revolutions’ before, but there was always some piece of the puzzle lacking that kept the idea from getting any real traction.
There is a specific set of ingredients needed for the petri dish of wanna be ‘isms’ to flourish. Miss out on even one and you will likely flare up and fade out.
In no particular order you need;
1 A Defined Idea/Cause
2 Believer Energy
3 Grass Roots Support
4 Monetary Backing/Funding
5 An Outlet for your Information
6 Some Degree of Luck
We are close to a definable explanation of what FIRE is, Financially Independent (FI), means not having to work for money. Early Retirement (RE) means quitting your job/career and pursuing other activities with your time.
It is a cause because we were wasting our lives chasing a materialist consumer fantasy thinking we needed to work until a socially acceptable age. It was killing our spirit and sometimes just literally killing us. We had our priorities wrong. Changing our attitudes about money and its relationship to happiness has changed our lives and we want to share that thinking with anyone who will listen.
Go to a FinCon and you will have no doubt there is a tangible energy among FIRE adherents to ‘preach the gospel‘.
Do yourself a favor and go to rockstar finance directory and search the blogs by age. Count the Boomers. Then count the Xers. Now punch in Millenials and forget even trying to count them. Believer energy is in great supply.
Grass roots support is the killer for a lot of unorthodox ideologies. Without it, you might have fervor and cause, but it will not grow and thrive.
FIRE is a big tent. Look around you at an event like FinCon; 50/50 gender mix, healthy minority contingents, professions represented from all walks of life. It moves across class and income lines. FIRE is not restricted to a political affiliation, geographical area, or even a national identity.
It has adherents from all manner of backgrounds.
When it does manifest factions like Fat vs. Lean, they seek to elevate the broader concepts as a whole and do not look upon the differences as a dividing factor.
Add to this cup of precursors the beginnings of financial backing that we are seeing. Annual conferences that are on par with any other groups. Local meetups busting out all over the place. Real attention from the bigger fish already established in the financial world. People who are not afraid to commit resources to the promotion of something they believe in.
The utilization of blogs, social media, podcasts, and Youtube channels to spread the message is truly a technological blessing. We are the newsies of our time. Never before in the history has a small viewpoint had such access to the masses.
Much the same way that today you can publish a book without the help of a publishing house, we can be an economic voice for change without a major television or print entity behind us. They
will eventually come are coming to us. The future is now!
An Idea whose Time has Come
Lastly, the notion that the timing of your rise must be well timed. This part is usually beyond your control, but this is how you build a juggernaut of momentum. The zeitgeist is behind us. There is a wind blowing at our backs.
People are asking the right questions. The status Quo never looked so shaky.
Strike now my brothers and sisters, strike hard and strike true and we will carry the day!
P.S. A recent article on Bloomberg pointed out the ‘fallacies‘ of our fledgling movement. Here is the quote that defines the mindset of our detractors;
“There are positive aspects to the FIRE movement. It has got people thinking about saving and long-term investing in a productive, positive way. That definitely is not a bad thing, but saving and investing should be for the purpose of future consumption or for charitable contributions, not so you don’t have to set your alarm clock.”
WoW, just WoW – There is much to be done my friends.