The Makings of A Real Movement

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.


12 thoughts on “The Makings of A Real Movement

  1. Nice blog post.

    Have to say that I clicked and read the Bloomberg article. I found it unnerving and misguided. Even though we are on a FIRE path, it does not mean that we are saving to die with a large nest egg. Of course we are saving for future consumption. However we are saving for future mindful consumption and not necessarily another unneeded ivory back scratcher. I do not feel like any of the FIRE advocates are arguing against mindful consumption of items that add value and true joy to our lives. These people just do not care to get what is being stated by the FIRE movement.

  2. In my mind FIRE just makes sense…It’s hard for me to imagine any plausible scenario where someone would have valid arguments against it…It comes down to being responsible and securing mine and my family’s future. It’s sad that FIRE isn’t just the norm and there even has to be a movement.

  3. Well, FIRE has definitely reached Australia. And boomers. And single mothers.
    Sometimes all in the one body. *waves*
    I agree that the boom in technology has been huge for this movement.Free exchange of ideas is an amazingly powerful thing.

  4. i have to say it’s a fun thing being a content creator and active participant in this. i like the fact that some folks couldn’t care less about ever buying an individual stock but are trying to get to the same place nonetheless. some care about fitness as a cornerstone and others are determined to live on 2 grand a month. they’re all pretty cool flavors of the same thing…that is not wanting to need to be a wage slave.

  5. I sort of wish the mainstream media attention would just go away. FIRE isn’t for everyone and that’s ok. If flying first class and buying expensive jewelry does it for you – as it appears to for the author of the Bloomberg article – then great keep on spending and my index funds will keep on increasing in value as a result.

    I don’t have a favorite religion but if I did it would be one that didn’t involve any proselytizing. Pagans don’t proselytize, right? Similarly with FIRE, this phenomenon, movement, revolution, whatever you want to call it has certainly changed my life, but that doesn’t mean I think everyone needs to get on board.

    But then I see things like the U.S. suicide rate increasing dramatically, the U.S. life expectancy decreasing 2 years running, and our continuing decline in the World Happiness Report, and I think, maybe there does need to be a greater effort in this country on optimizing for happiness.The FIRE movement could certainly help with that. It’ll be interesting to see how the Playing With Fire documentary goes over when/if it gets released.

    • I agree its not for everyone. I would just like to see it disseminated enough that the masses can make an informed choice.

  6. Viva La Revolucion! I do think FIRE movement has a lot of things going for it. The biggest benefit is that anyone who is willing to listen to those who preach FIRE understand its basic simplicity. There is nothing complicated being a FIRE walker. It really is simple math. Everyone has tools at their disposal to make the journey possible. Hopefully it catches on and start a new trend.

Let's get things nice and sparkling clear