Everyone it seems is talking, reading, or blogging about the FIRE movement that is sweeping across the world of personal finance. FIRE is short for “Financial Independence, Retire Early”. Advocate/blogger Mr. Money Mustache, who retired with his wife at age 30 after saving over 70% of their annual income, found a receptive audience when he first started writing about their journey back in 2011. Since then, the FIRE has spread. Reddit alone has over 446,000 subscribers in its FIRE community, sharing on topics such as travel hacking, geoarbitrage, and the best ways to fill your days after you’ve retired at 35. How does someone who hasn’t inherited a fortune, sold a tech company, or won the lottery become financially independent by age 35? While a high income certainly helps, FIRE seekers get there by saving and investing prodigiously, minimizing debt, and having a great understanding of their spending. There is lean FIRE which involves cutting expenses to the bare bone while building up an investment portfolio that can safely meet that no frills budget at a 3-4% withdrawal rate. That doesn’t sound like much fun. At the other end of the spectrum is fat FIRE which targets the same 3-4% withdrawal rate, but with a much larger investment portfolio and annual spend. That sounds better.
At Columbia Pacific Wealth Management, our number one priority is to help our clients achieve and maintain Financial Independence. We aim to have a deep understanding of our clients’ cash flows and seek to build portfolios that are low cost, globally diversified, tax efficient, and sustainable. Many of our clients do end up deciding to Retire Early. Others work less but travel more. And then there are those clients who wake up every day and love the work that they do, FIRE and all. Financial Independence has always been about having choices. Retiring Early is just one of them.