Financial Independence Retire Early (FIRE)

I mentioned that my wife and I recently retired from the rat race to slowly travel the world. We left the corporate world in September 2018 and was on a cruise ship headed towards Asia a few weeks later. You can follow our adventures at The Wandering Asian Couple. We have now settled in Chiang Mai Thailand and will be here for a couple of months. Chiang Mai will be our base of operation while we explore this city and other cities/countries nearby.

Having a sound financial independence plan with recurring dividends have provided us with this great opportunity. Read more about my investment style here.

Reaching FIRE Without Knowing What FIRE Was

I’m new to the FIRE community. I didn’t even know we reached FIRE and only decided to stop working a few months ago. I thought, like most people, that one works till their sixties and accumulate as much wealth as possible. My wife was the one who put the idea of early retirement in my head. We knew our dividend income more than covered our expenses and this was the foundation to our financial independence. The income from selective options writing and tactical swing trading was ‘icing on the cake’. With this knowledge, we took the plunge and gave notice to our corporate jobs. We then told family and friends that we would be travelling until the Canadian winter was over. We effectively would become snowbirds.

Learning More About The FIRE Community

Now that I have retired from the rat race, I have more time to pursue things I’m passionate about. I have started to scour the net for bloggers, YouTubers and podcasts to learn more about this community. The FIRE community provides people with concrete ideas on budgeting and investing. Utilizing Bruce Lee’s philosophy that martial arts is an individual expression and that there is no one way of expressing oneself, so too is investing.

Absorb what is useful and discard what is useless and add what is specifically your own  ~Bruce Lee~

Everyone has their own way of reaching financial independence. I have learned how others are investing and may start incorporating some of their ideas (will talk more about this in another post).

Not Everyone Agrees With FIRE

While scouring the net I came across this podcast on Afford Anything. It’s an interview with Suze Orman titled, “Why I Hate the FIRE Movement”. Suze talks about how early retirees will miss out on the value or importance of compounding if they stop earning and investing. Suze says she’s witnessed first-hand catastrophe or accidents that cripples one’s finances. She also mentions that as one gets older more of your finances will be required. Eg. Will you require full-time health care when you’re older? Will a serious injury or illness require thousands (or more) of dollars worth of additional expenses? One of Suze’s other key point was that work provides value and fulfilment in one’s life.

FIRE Is About Freedom

For my wife and I, FIRE is about freedom, it isn’t about doing nothing. It’s about having the freedom to do whatever you want. It’s about experiences, it’s about living life and creating your own roadmap. As I’m writing this, I’m sitting in a café in Thailand drinking honey lemon tea recovering from a tough Muay Thai session. In a couple of months, I could be in Vietnam, Indonesia or Malaysia. FIRE has given me the opportunity and the freedom to accomplish things on my bucket list and be anywhere in the world.

In a recent Facebook post by Suze, also found on Afford Anything. Suze acknowledged that she was given incorrect information on the FIRE movement. She started investigating what FIRE is and is now open to some of its concepts. Although she still believes one shouldn’t stop earning income at such an early age.

What do you think? What does FIRE mean to you?

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