Dragons! You're going Down!

Caught on F.I.R.E.

by the way the dragons are a metaphor for our debt and life stress

Dragons! You're going Down!


Let's Get Started, Shall We? 

Sipping cocktails on the beach of some deserted island in the middle of a monday is a dream for some but a reality to others... FIRE is a movement that creates freedom for individuals who strives for nothing else but Financial Independence Retire Early (F.I.R.E.)

I was introduced to this concept about a year ago but didn’t give it much attention. I thought cool, I wish I could do that, but I’m over a half a mill in debt. Guess that’s for someone else, not for us. Then the beauty (or destruction) of youtube started to continue to suggest videos similar if not the same to that concept, so naturally, a binge of education on this principle started. I probably watched 50 videos of other FIRE people striving and achieving FIRE (financial independence). Again, I jealously looked at them as must be nice, they started with either no debt, little debt and/or a huge income. Every FIRE journey is different, no two are the same, but the destination is the same. A dramatic switch in perspective, a lifestyle change, frugality initiation, and a renewed realization of what true happiness is to those people that has achieved FIRE. Notice I didn’t say anything about money yet…

The Core Principles of F.I.R.E.

- Spend Less than You Make

- Avoid Debt

- Invest the Surplus

As stated by J.L. Collins from his book “A simple path to wealth”

Untitled photo

I would expand these Cores by stating that after reading 9 books on the subject and 10 others regarding money in general or investing, that the true core of FIRE isn’t necessarily about money or or having more, its having enough.

My Core Principles on FIRE

1. Freedom from materialism

2. True Happiness in what Defines Who YOU Are

3. Becoming self aware of WHY you need what you need, want what you want, and strive to become whether that’s rich or just holistically fulfilled

4. Peace in understanding your existence here on earth

A year ago I stumbled on a TED talk with a peculiar man named Pete Adeney AKA Mr. Money Mustache  in that video he explains how he went from college to the workforce as an engineer and never really changed his lifestyle from when he was a kid which was being uber frugal and he would claim that he accidentally realized he could retire early. And he did, he retired at the old age of 30 just before his son was born. He is now 45 and thriving. He is an expample that it works. But, "ah, yeah that’s just one guy” says the naysayers, well turns out he is not the only one, Kristy and Bryce, Brandon aka Mad Fientist, J.D. Roth, Elizabeth Thames, Grant Sabatier, and so so many others. Its a movement that is gaining momentum as opposed to steaming out. Many have blogs explaining their story and how you too can achieve financial freedom, some even have their own books explaining their journey and the concepts in explicit detail.

I tried to get into it and bring my wife along but we had recently had Daisy our first born and being new parents is quite time consuming and to actually have time to watch something extra curricular was just not happening. I kept the idea in the back of my mind and adored the idea of what it could do for us but hadn’t really got into it wholly at this point. After about 6 months of watching that TED talk we moved to the house we are in now, had our boy Elijah in May and things started to settle down. I am an avid Audible listener [link for audible] as I have read hundreds of books from there, perhaps I should say listened to. I drive upwards to 200 miles per day, music gets old after a while, audible has been a lifesaver for me.

My wife loves to listen to it while she cooks and does her work activities throughout the day. But one day while perusing through the audible database of recommendations, I stumbled on a book titled "meet the frugalwoods" entertained by the title and cover, I read the summary, it sounded intriguing. I had just got off a binge of reading parenting self help books and was ready for more of a story based book. Little did I know this ladies story and the information she provides was far more than I could have imagined from my initial thought, just looking for a story on someones life. She spoke about her unique story and how she found freedom through frugality and simple living.

This book lead to another ingenious recommendation by audible, “the simple path to wealth” by J.L. Collins [ LINK TO AUDIBLE BOOK] And This is the book that has changed everything.

I have read most if not all of Dave Ramsey and his crews books, I have read a lot of the mainstream investing books, I have read all the famous “millionaire next door”, “Rich dad poor dad”, and the like kind of books, but this book, “the simple path to wealth” blew my mind! Besides the fact that J.L. has an amazing voice to listen to (as he is the one the narrates the book) the book illustrates his failures and more importantly his Successes. He explains in great detail, that the history of the stock market has always gone up, even during the stock market crash in the late 20’s, WWII, Vietnam, Korean War, and more recently 2008, the stock market through time, has always gone up. The blip over a 20 year period incorporating those economic catastrophes is just that, a blip, a 2 year period where the stocks ticked lower and lower and it becomes as the economic community likes to call it a bear market (Stocks lower than usual).

No economic catastrophe has ever lasted greater than 3 years, generally after a 3 year period the stocks start to rise, recover and gain from its original value after just 5 years, becoming a bull market. Bull markets typically last 7-10 years, with this latest one (the one we are in now) becoming the longest in history. He explains as will I in future posts what to invest in, why to invest in it and how to overcome a crash.

He also explains how Financial Planners are really just planners for their own pockets as opposed to yours. As he states in his book, “No one is going to take care of your money better than you will” I took that to heart.

After reading this “life changing book”, I was hooked. I started talking to my wife about it, reading blog post after blog post, listening to even more books on the subject and I am convinced more and more that the future of our family is saving, investing, and living with fulfillment.

It's a paradigm shift, the biggest hurdle from you being able to retire early is you and believing in yourself! This is when people in the economic industry start to talk about depravity. "But I need my Starbucks in the morning", there’s a reason that the word buck is in their name, it takes plenty of them to satisfy that habitual caffeine addiction when you simply could brew your own in the morning. They talk about depravity because in order to achieve FIRE (Financially Independent) you must save more than you ever had before.

Your 10% savings into your 401k, although very good compared to the general population, is just not enough. Some FIRE individuals are saving upwards to 80% of their income! But how? How sustain that lifestyle? They must be single. Nope, married with 7 kids from one couple I heard about.

They achieved FIRE at 34 and are now traveling the world all the while making passive income through the stock market. See once you have enough saved you can earn through your dividends and YOUR interest earnings.

Albert Einstein famously quoted that Compound Interest is the 8th Wonder of the World

Untitled photo

The 4% Rule:

The 4% Rule comes from the Trinity Study done back in 1998. They took a stock retirement portfolio held up over every 30 year period between 1926 to 1995 and found that with inflation adjusted withdrawal rate of 4% of your portfolio each year is considered safe as it survived the retirement years 98% of the time over a 30 year period. This is where the Famous 4% Rule comes from. Having enough money in your retirement will accrue interest, pay you dividends reinvested, compound, and once you reach your FI Number (Financial Independence Number goal) you’re ready to retire with a inflation adjusted 4% withdrawal rate.

So what’s an FI Number: take your monthly expenses times that by 12 for your annual expenses and you have your FI Number to safely withdrawal 4%

For Example. If your monthly expenses is $4,166 x 12 = 50,000 per year for your annual expenses times that by 25. 50,000 x 25 = 1,250,000 that is your FI Number.

Once you have achieved this number inside your heavily stock/bond portfolio you have reached Financial Independence. You no longer have to worry about your job, worry about getting laid off or fired, or worry whether or not social security will be around to support you when you reach a certain age. But get this if your annual expenses are only 30K per year, then you will only need to save 750,000 inside your retirement portfolio. A full half-a-mill less! There are loopholes, strategies, ways to save this much, and to do it quickly. Grant Sabatier saved a whopping 1.25 million dollars in 5 YEARS! That’s it FIVE YEARS! He went from having a negative balance inside his checking account to accruing over a million dollars in just five years. He explains how he did this in his excellent book “Financial Freedom”

This is just a personal explanation about a very simple, but detailed topic. I caught the FIRE-bug and I am going to try and spread it like wild FIRE. Nobody should have a life filled with life-depravity, that’s what consumerism does to us, we buy something, feel a bolt of dopamine, and then hours, maybe a day, definitely after a week, maybe a month at most, its gone, no fulfillment. Some items even get stuffed aside, laid dormant, never again giving that once sense of joy.

Real joy comes from a more innate center of your being. Real joy is who you really are, what do you like to spend time on, who do you like to spend time with, where do you like to spend your time… Notice I said SPEND 3 times on something that has 0 monetary value. Its because Time is the True Currency in Life. We can always get more money, money is infinite, time is not! The FIRE community understands this and wants to embrace the time we are here on earth and do the things that spark a passion or simply have more time with family.

Time to Take Acton

1: Make a list of 10 things that you loved doing this past week. 10 things that spark Joy in your life. 10 things that make you truly and utterly happy.

2: once you have your 10 things list, write down 3 things that you desire for your future, really do it. What do you long for? What are you striving for?

3: Take your lists, analyze them, does anything really require that much money? If it does make note of that and adjust your budget to satisfy those joys in your life and cut the rest that doesn’t. You will find the things that bring you joy are not necessarily that expensive, so why do we spend so much money on anything else?

4: if you are married or in a committed relationship, have her/him do the same thing 1 and 2.

5: Take a few minutes together, maybe even at dinner, go through your lists together, anything similar? If so way to pick a good match for you, with the things that differ adjust the budget to fulfill one anothers happiness and cut the rest out of the budget.

6: On the things that don’t require money, analyze how to get your life to the point where every day enlists your list of joys. This is what FIRE is all about, a lifestyle change to realize what truly makes you happy and cut the things that don’t

This is just a quick synopsis on the idea of FIRE and how you can find more information on the subject of FIRE. More articles are in the works about specifics of this topic and can be found in the "Financial Sanity"  section of this blog (coming soon)


* What makes you truly happy? 

How realistic does it seem to actually save 50%+ of your income right now? 

* Have you heard of FIRE before? What first brought you into the FIRE community?


  • No Comments

Jpeg Jim Fine Art Photography

Hi, my family and I are part time travelers that make it work realistically without any trust funds, business payouts, or family money. We have normal day jobs and love our hobbies.

We’ve worked hard, planned hard, and dreamed harder. Trusted in God to get us to a place where we can travel on average once a month.

We’re just a simple family trying to make the best life for our kids as nothing is ever perfect & life can often be a trainwreck (Traveling Trainwreck - our youtube channel).

We aspire to explore, learn and grow as humans both big and small. But sometimes things don't go as planned and a trip turns into a train wreck and we are left to make the most of it and learn from experiences because after all, that's what its all about. The Experience. Hoping this gives real life examples on how to handle life for our kids to learn from.

Join us as we show you our journeys, adventures, the good stuff and the not so good stuff and what its really like to travel with kids :)
Powered by SmugMug Owner Log In