As you read this article, please keep in mind that this was my mindset at the very beginning when I was learning about becoming financially independent and retiring early. At that time, I used both “FI” and “RE” interchangeably. Nowadays, my viewpoint has shifted slightly on the “RE” portion. Instead of retiring early, I’m looking to become financially independent and redefine my life’s work – whichever comes first. Learn more about my current goals on my about page and more current articles.
The decision to embark on the FIRE path did not begin until 2013.
At that time, I came across this concept of normal people ditching the 9-5 decades earlier. This intrigued me to want to learn more.
How could I become financially free and possibly retire early?
It was at that point that I prompted the conversation with my husband. Naturally, he was skeptical about the whole process.
Sure, he wasn’t quite enthused about my ideas for getting there, but that was just me brainstorming out loud.
I was just entertaining the idea of retiring at 35. No big deal, right?
In this article, I will proceed to explain why I decided to take the reins and change my mindset from being career-focused to retirement driven.
This could possibly be one of the craziest decisions I have made in a long time – to pursue FIRE with a vengeance.
Financial Situation Prior To FIRE
My now-husband and I joined finances in our early 20’s. Everything we earned was jointly shared.
In the beginning, we worked various jobs in order to pay for college, an overpriced mortgage, and other living expenses.
It wasn’t until our mid-20’s that this shifted. We were at the end of our college careers, the mortgage was refinanced, and there was suddenly money left over to spend on wants (vs. needs).
Once this occurred, we realized pretty quickly that we didn’t need both incomes to live. As more money was made, it was placed into savings.
We began saving for the future with no clear objective other than aiming for financial stability, building a life, and eventually upgrading our situation.
This was the case until I learned about FIRE.
What Made FIRE Enticing
In early 2013, I had just started a brand new job.
I was excited about the future of my career and my path to personal and professional success.
It didn’t take long for me to realize that the role was not going to fulfill any working desires.
Long story short – I started to see the reality of working for a company that didn’t align with my career goals. My first career position was amazing. They appreciated hard work. Working for the new company was vastly different. I was just a number among hundreds of people.
Does this sound familiar?
Also, I felt stuck. I was in the midst of studying for my certification exam and working full-time.
I couldn’t up and leave – where would I go? Sure, I didn’t like the job itself, but the environment, amenities, benefits, etc. were stellar.
So I stayed. There was an understanding that once I got my certification, I would be considered for a job in a different department.
All that was left for me to do was delve into my studies for the exam. This would end up taking over a year of my life.
During this time, I also started listening to financial podcasts and reading personal finance blogs.
This is when I learned about the FIRE community.
I started to realize that putting my focus on a far-reaching initiative would be a great way to get through the workdays.
The motivation for FIRE was the job I had. Once I started on the progression, I knew that it was a bigger opportunity.
It was no longer just about my lack of job satisfaction. The job was one chapter of my book. A speck on the horizon.
The truth was I realized that I would always be reliant on a 9-5 if I didn’t do something different.
The dreams of an upgraded lifestyle would ensure that both my husband and I would be tied to the 9-5 for a long time.
Yikes, this was the wake-up call.
FIRE Or Not To FIRE
I was living a safe, unassuming life.
Prior to learning about FIRE, I was content living the life that both my husband and I had created for ourselves.
I remember the early days when my husband worked overnight delivering donuts and attended school during the day to earn his degree. On several occasions, this meant sleeping in his car.
For myself, it meant working and going to school full-time to change careers from a Hairstylist to an Accountant.
All this drive and determination was to provide for a future that would be more secure.
Now we were contemplating traveling down an alternate path with the idea of retiring early. Was this the right path? We would have to determine this very question as we proceeded towards the beginning of our FIRE quest.
Will FIRE Work For My Life?
It wasn’t enough that the goal was something both my husband and I wanted to work towards. I still had to find a way to get us both there – and with both feet planted upon arrival.
Easier said than done.
Sure, there was money in savings, but how was there going to be enough to retire early and say goodbye to the 9-5?
Cue the growth spreadsheet that I used as a prelim assessment of the situation.
Read more about how I determined FIRE would work for my household: Financial Freedom Goal And Redefined 9-5 Pursuit.
Also, I highlight the moves my household made in order to even consider financial freedom. You will be able to gain some insights if you’re seeking to begin your journey to becoming financially free, retiring early, and/or redefining your life’s work.
Read more about my mission HERE.
*As with all financial and investment decisions, consult a professional. Read disclaimer here.
Join The FTD Community
+ Access to the "FTD Library"
+ BLOG UPDATES 1-2X A MONTH
Want a new and improved way to budget your money?
Looking for finance + lifestyle resources?
Are you thinking about retiring early, and if so what was the learning process like for you? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!