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Nine Tips for Pursuing Financial Independence & Retiring Early (F.I.R.E.)

Amon and I started pursuing financial independence almost nine years ago. I remember how it all began. Amon came home from work one day and told me he wanted to retire before he turned 40.

Wait, what?!

At the time, we didn’t know anyone that had retired early and we had never heard of the FIRE movement. In fact, when Amon first brought up the idea of retiring early, he didn’t tell me he wanted to reach “financial independence.” He didn’t say he wanted to reach “FIRE.” Instead, Amon’s exact words were, “I want to retire before I’m forty.” My response: “Why not? What’ve we got to lose?”

After that, we got started.

When we started pursuing “FIRE,” we didn’t have the luxury of researching a FIRE strategy on podcasts, Youtube channels, or blogs. In fact, the FIRE resources available in 2011 were very slim - with the FIRE movement being more of a whisper at the time. Flashback to 2011, when we started our FIRE journey . . . Fun facts:

  1. Podcasts (as we know them today) were invented in 2004 by a former MTV video jockey. They weren’t widely popular back in 2011. Today, however, more than 51% of the United States population has now listened to at least one podcast.

  2. Youtube was founded in 2005. In 2011, Youtube was attracting 490 million users worldwide per month. Youtube has since quadrupled it’s numbers - with more than 2 billion users worldwide visiting Youtube each month in 2020.

  3. The first blog was created in 1994. By 2011, there were roughly 170 million blogs in existence worldwide. Compare that to 2020, where there are more than 500 million blogs worldwide.

Fast forward to 2020, where more FIRE resources are now available and where Amon and I have since reached financial independence, quit our federal government jobs, and retired before forty.

Interested in how we achieved FIRE? It’s as simple as one, two, three (four, five, six, seven, eight, nine).

1. Get your mindset right

If you want to pursue FIRE, you have to adopt the mindset that you will be successful in pursuing FIRE. No Debbie Downers allowed. If you hit a bump along the journey, get back up and keep pushing. Believe in yourself and think positive.

2. Create a budget

To reach FIRE, you must create a budget. You have to track your budget and you have to record your monthly expenses. This will help you in two ways. First, it will help you identify areas that you’re overspending. Second, it will help you calculate your FIRE number.

3. Calculate your FIRE number

Don’t pursue FIRE aimlessly. Pursue FIRE with a goal. Remember your budget? Use that as a template to calculate your FIRE number. This number is the amount of money you would need in a stock portfolio in order to reach financial independence and retire early. You calculate your FIRE number by estimating your annual expenses in early retirement and multiplying that number by 25. Whatever number you get, that is your FIRE number.

4. Break your FIRE journey into steps

Don’t look at your FIRE journey as one long marathon. Break it up into mini-steps. Focus on completing one step at a time. Not only will this help you to maintain your focus over a longer period of time, you’ll also be able to better track your success as you get closer and closer to FIRE.

5. Reduce your expenses

There are currently more than seven billion people living in this world. The percentage of those people that are pursuing FIRE is entirely miniscule. This means that if you’re pursuing FIRE, you are unique! You are special. You are not the Joneses and you don’t need to be!

With that established, focus on reducing your expenses. Do you really need that six bedroom house for your family of three? Do you really need that brand new 2020 Range Rover to get you to work? Do you really need to eat out five times a week? Reduce, reduce, reduce!

6. Make more money

While on your FIRE journey, you need to focus on making more money. Easier said than done, right? I know! Here are some tips: 1) make a list of your talents and things you enjoy doing and think about ways to monetize those things; 2) consider whether there are untapped needs that you can fill; 3) check out our Youtube side hustle videos with more than 50 different side hustles and commit to starting at least one side hustle; and 4) ask for a raise at work!

7. Become financially literate

I’m just going to be blunt with this one: If you are not financially literate, you must become financially literate. In pursuing FIRE, your goal is to amass enough money to retire early. To achieve your goal, you need to know how to best amass that money and how to best protect that money once you retire.

Here’s some good news: If you’re not currently financially literate, there’s no reason why that can’t change. Amon and I didn’t gain our financial literacy from our parents or from school. Everything we learned, we taught ourselves. In other words, if you have absolutely no financial literacy, there is hope! Need some help? - Sign up for our Stock Market Investing for FIRE Course!

8. Invest, invest, invest

I was a big saver when I was younger. I still am. BUT, I came to realize an important lesson: There was no way for us to save our way to FIRE. We had to invest!

Compare money in a savings account to money in the stock market. If someone puts $1,000 into a savings account every month for 30 years, it could grow to $365,065 (based on a 0.09% return, the average interest rate for savings accounts). Alternatively, if that same $1,000 were invested each month into the stock market for 30 years, it could grow to $1,468,150 (based on a 9% return, the average annual return on the market (taking into account inflation) for the past 100 years).

My advice to you: decide on an investment strategy that works for you and focus on growing your money through investments!

9. Surround yourself with positive people

There are toxic, negative people in this world. These toxic, negative people LOVE company. Do not join them. Stay as far away from negative people as you can. They’ll try to derail you. Surround yourself with positive people that support you. It will make you FIRE journey that much more enjoyable!

Because remember, you are on a journey. Your destination is FIRE. Throughout your journey, and upon reaching your final destination, you just might find that the journey is just as rewarding as the destination.

How to Calculate Your Financial Independence Number When Investing In Stocks & Bonds | Our Course!


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Hello, We’re Amon & Christina

We’re former federal government employees that focused on saving, making, and investing money so that we could grow enough wealth in our investments to never have to work again.

And, guess what? We did it! At the age of 39, we reached financial independence, quit our jobs, and . . . we retired!

So, if you’re interested in learning how to save, make and invest money on the road to financial independence and retiring early (i.e., F.I.R.E.) - this site is for you!

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F.I.R.E. Master Class

Our comprehensive course on reaching financial independence and retiring early.

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Stock Market Investing for F.I.R.E. Course

Everything you need to know about investing in the stock market for financial independence & retiring early (F.I.R.E.)

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How to Move to Portugal Course

A Step-By-Step Course to Relocating and Living in Portugal. 

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The F.I.R.E. Workbook

Create your own Financial Independence Plan with our Financial Independence Retire Early (FIRE) Workbook. Available in three formats:  MS Excel, Google Sheets and PDF.


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