This is a guest post from Logan. Logan is a CPA, personal finance expert, and founder of the finance blog Money Done Right, which he launched in July 2017. After spending nearly a decade in the corporate world helping big businesses save money, he launched his blog with the goal of helping everyday Americans earn, save, and invest more money.
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Every year, the FIRE movement seems to get more and more publicity.
Now, if you’re not sure what exactly “FIRE” is, it stands for “Financial Independence / Retire Early”.
Those who are a part of this movement aren’t satisfied with the status quo of working for forty years (or more) and instead want to live frugally for perhaps ten or twenty years so they can stop working in their 30s or 40s.
I’m fully on board with one-half of that movement — the “FI” part. But the “RE” part? Not so much. Here are five reasons why.
1. I get bored when I don’t have enough to do.
Don’t get me wrong — I love scrolling through my Instagram feed and seeing the wonderful lives of those who have successfully “FIRE’d” as they galavant around the countryside in their RVs, spend six months on a sailboat, or travel the world full-time.
But personally? I get antsy after traveling for more than two or three weeks. I simply don’t feel like I’m being “productive” enough, and I’m anxious to get back to full-time work mode.
Maybe you could chalk this up to youthful naivety, and maybe once I’ve had another ten years in “hustle mode” I’ll think differently, but at this point in my life, I’m not too keen on having absolutely no career goals for the rest of my life.
2. I want to contribute as much as I can to the world around me.
There are a lot of problems in this world, and while I can’t singlehandedly solve any one of them, I can contribute to solving the problem of poor financial literacy. This is why I started my personal finance blog and work on it full-time.
So even if someday I become financially independent — meaning that I have enough cash flow from investments that I don’t have to work for a living — I would not want to retire early.
I would want to continue my mission of spreading financial literacy in every way I can.
That said, one could reasonably ask, “Well, couldn’t you make the world a better place by volunteering for no compensation?” Yes, of course I could. But here’s the thing: I’m fairly confident that I would lose motivation rather quickly when pursuing something for which there is no financial reward.
I know that I put in my best efforts toward something when there is a pot of gold at the end of the endeavor.
3. I want to provide the best possible life for my children.
My wife and I recently welcomed our first child into the world — our little boy Hunter. And we definitely want more children in the future.
I want to provide the best possible life for our children, and this would not be possible by simply banking some “FIRE number” in an investment account that we could “live off of” to retire early.
Maybe we could still afford to send our children to the finest universities while still retiring early if I had, say, a neurosurgeon’s income. But I don’t.
And being happily middle class, it’s not likely that I can simultaneously retire early while also laying the kind of financial foundation I want to provide for my children.
4. I want to keep my mind sharp.
I’m a big believer in lifelong learning.
Of course, one could very well continue to educate themselves throughout their life without having a job or running a business, but I’m not that disciplined.
See, I’m not the kind of person who just wants to learn new things for learning’s sake; I need the prospect of financial gain to encourage me to always be learning.
I also find that being able to apply new learning to a job or a business prevents that learning from becoming mere intellectual head knowledge.
5. I may need to support my parents as they age.
Being the firstborn child has its share of downsides. But one great thing about being the firstborn is that your parents are in your life for a long time, and you can enjoy them when they’re the most youthful and energetic.
So as my parents’ first child, I’m lucky that my parents are still relatively young, especially compared to how old some of my peers’ parents are.
But I know that my parents won’t be young forever, and there will very likely come a day when they will need long-term assistance, and this assistance will come at a cost.
I wouldn’t want to shortchange my parents and their medical care in their older years because I “FIRE’d” in my 30s or 40s.
Conclusion: FIRE for You but Not for Me
One of the great things about money in the free world is that can choose to do as we please with our financial resources.
Some may prefer to spend their cash on enjoying life in the here and now, while others may prefer to stock more money away now so as to be able to stop working earlier in life.
Some may prefer to go “childfree,” while others may choose to embark on the long and oftentimes costly journey of parenthood.
Some may enjoy the carefree life of nomadic living, while others may want a more traditional place to call home.
Similarly, one may choose to “go with the flow” and spend the majority of their adult life in the workforce, and another may choose to FIRE at 35.
But FIRE doesn’t have to be an “all or nothing” kind of thing. It’s perfectly OK to apply many of the core FIRE principles in your life while not necessarily intending to actually retire early.
This is the path I’m taking: learning as much as I can from successful early retirees, but not necessarily seeking to retire early myself because I have other goals in life that take priority.