Leaves Me Cold – HumbleDollar

Leaves Me Cold

Richard Quinn  |  September 5, 2019

ALTHOUGH it’s only been a few months since I first heard the term, I’m already tired of all the chatter about the “financial independence/retire early” (FIRE) movement. This so-called movement is so irrelevant that I don’t know why anybody, including me, writes about it—and yet my curmudgeonly instincts compel me to do so.

Don’t characterize me as a movement hater. To each his own. But consider a recent story in MarketWatch about a couple—he’s age 44, she’s 33, plus they have a small child—who plan to retire next year. My reaction: Simply being frugal for the next 45 years isn’t enough. There’s a lot more you need to think about. For instance, if you’re truly retired, what are you going to do, sit on a beach for eight hours a day?

I’m all for frugality. But then I read about FIRE devotees giving up luxury items and it all seems a bit pompous to me. Let me get this straight: You give up stuff to live on a tiny percentage of what you make—but that tiny percentage turns out to be pretty close to what the average American earns in total…

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Source: Leaves Me Cold – HumbleDollar


  1. I would guess, Mr. Quinn, that you’ve been around long enough to have heard someone, typically sporting a big smile, utter the phrase, “I can’t believe they actually PAY me to do this!”. Perhaps you’ve even uttered it yourself at one time or another. I know I have.

    Seems to me these FIRE folks wouldn’t understand the concept. More’s the pity.
    But it is their choice.


  2. I applaud the FIRE movement for putting emphasis on the importance of controlling expenses. However, it needs to be combined with the lessons from Your Money or Your Life to reach financial independence … the cross-over or breakeven point where unearned income exceeds living expenses. Unfortunately, short-sightedly, many don’t have basic financial acumen to understand and manage the enemy of any long term financial plan – inflation and feel the ONLY thing they can control is near term expenses.


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