The Frugal Weirdos Who Have No Fun

And live a life of deprivation.

I am sick of this stereotype about the Financial Independence; Retire Early (FIRE) community. Recently, a friend shared an article with me from AOL that called early retirement a fantasy. Boy….. Are they wrong!

Last month, Steve from ThinkSaveRetire retired at age 35. There are countless others who have done the same. Early retirement is not a fantasy but a goal anyone can accomplish with a bit of planning; a goal I will accomplish.

Early Retirement Ahead
The Argument

The awful AOL article says the path to early retirement is not sustainable. The author claims her husband and her were burnt out from extreme budgeting. Furthermore, she complains about having only one short and inexpensive vacation a year. She groans about the lack of material gift giving for Christmas, birthdays, anniversaries and other occasions. All of this is hog wash!

Additionally, the author argues that the early retirement crowd does not live in the present. Her article recommends finding a job or career that is enjoyable instead of extreme savings for 15 years (typically FI is achieved in 7-10 years). The author also thinks those who ‘retired early’ retired are frauds since many still work or have some form of income.

The Rebuttal

It’s decisions not deprivation…. stupid! Working towards early retirement or financial independence is not about extreme budgeting or depriving yourself of enjoyment. Rather, it’s about decisions and allocating resources to maximize your happiness and financial well-being. The Latin word for ‘decision’ literally means “to cut off”. Every time we make a decision we are saying ‘no’ to every other option by cutting off all other choices.

Ultimately, we all are responsible for our own decisions. I am debunking the frugal stereotype of the FIRE community with my upcoming travel plans. As a DC local, the inauguration is miserable time to be around the city. (*DISCLAIMER* Regardless of which party won. NOT a political statement. Read the city is flooded by tourist, prices are jacked up and roads shut down).

So… I am flying to Colorado. A long weekend filled with skiing sounds like the perfect getaway. Skiing is something that I enjoy LOVE and will do more of when I reach FI. My travel plans show that I am living in the PRESENT and enjoying life.  I made the DECISION to live in the PRESENT. This is at the risk of pushing back my early retirement a few months (years?). Saving money is still a big priority this year. I believe many of the FIRE community share the same view.

More Counter Arguments

While we are still talking about the present…  I am a forward thinker and will always look for ways to improve my future. I live in the present but I will never reach my goals without thinking about tomorrow. (Cue Fleetwood Mac’s Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow).

The author came across very materialistic complaining about the lack of gifts. Perhaps she could try not being a materialistic person or try making her gifts like Gwen at Fiery Millennials.

The author of the AOL article also believes that life after retirement does not get any better. This statement blows my mind! Mr. Money Mustache and Go Curry Cracker seem WAY MORE happy than before they retired. Neither of them are dying to go back to a day job. Why would anyone want to waste 40+ hours a week to do something that is not necessary? Goodbye alarm clock and goodbye useless conference calls. Hello waking up when you want and traveling whenever you feel like it. Who would not want more time to spend with family or volunteering? FIRE provides freedom.

Lastly, according to AOL’s retirement calculator, I will need over $21 million to retire. This is just flat out laughable. Their calculator’s maximum savings rate is capped at 40% which is a shame. For a more accurate retirement calculator, visit the Mad Fientist’s Time to FI Calculator. What are your thoughts? Do you think early retirement (or financial independence) is a fairy tale? Maybe, FI is a a bedtime story we tell our kids. Or do you believe it’s a goal that can be achieved?

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