Spoiler alert: If you like a bit of suspense, read Fritz’s original blog post before proceeding. For those who want to reveal it quickly and easily: If you haven’t guessed it yet: It’s your age.
Or as Fritz wrote: “For the first time in life, age has nothing to do with this decision. Unlike driving, voting and drinking, there are no legal restrictions on when you can choose to retire. As long as you can tick the important factors listed above, you can make the decision to retire regardless of your age.” (Here in the column, the factors are presented as questions, not check boxes.)
Speaking of age: At 70, I am the oldest of the three bloggers and Seed is the youngest. All three of us (ie Gilbert, Seed and I) are technically still employed and probably consider ourselves semi-retired.
I also wrote a book about it called Elimination from the winning round (Milner, 2019), co-authored with former corporate banker Mike Drak. All three of us and Drak value “financial independence” over the classic traditional “full retirement”.
As most of my readers now know, my abbreviation for “financial independence” is “Findependence,” which appears in my finance novel independence Day (Trafford Publishing, 2013) and my website. The basic philosophy is to work because you enjoy it, not because you need the money. Or as financial planner Doug Dahmer aptly put it in 2019 money in retirement Column of mine, “Work optional.”
FI, not RE
Some younger financial bloggers prefer the term FIRE, which stands for Financial Independence, Retire Early. However, I increasingly see the focus on FI rather than early retirement.
Some FIRE bloggers talk about retiring in their early 30s, which I think is far too young. However, if you look closely, you’ll find that most FIRE bloggers are actually talking about quitting the paid, 9am-5pm corporate routine. And instead, they build independent lives that can include blogging (paid for through advertising, affiliate links, etc.), book deals, paid public speaking events and/or media appearances, and more.
Yes, money is still a big problem
Let me close with some final thoughts on these five “factors”. Age aside, money must come first, which is why Gilbert listed it first. Seed’s blog post dives deep into money, using charts to explore risk of return and the different “buckets” one should divide one’s money into. There are essentially three categories: cash savings for emergencies, income from dividend stocks, and stock income from exchange-traded funds (ETFs).
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