It was during the darkest year of my life when I discovered the FIRE movement and learned about financial independence. I learned about it from a blog post titled The Shockingly Simple Math Behind Early Retirement written by a guy that was calling himself Mr. Money Mustache. That article resonated with me like few things ever have. Something inside of me clicked and it’s not an exaggeration to say that my life hasn’t been the same ever since.
I’d just found something that would help me go from broke and unemployed to financially independent in about 13 years. I’ll retire early when I’m 49 years old, all because I learned about one simple concept called Financial Independence. And just like we tell our friends and family whenever we find a great new restaurant, or find a binge-worthy show on Netflix, I want EVERYONE to know about financial independence.
Shockingly Simple Math
When I first learned about FIRE I was unemployed, had a negative net worth, and was hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt thanks to student loans, car loans, credit cards, and a mortgage. I was spending more money than I was making and had exactly zero dollars saved, but as long as I could pay the bills on time then I felt like everything was okay.
But, nothing about my financial situation was okay. I had no plan and was directionless.
Then I learned a few simple concepts:
- To retire, I needed to save up 25 times my annual expenses
- The money I was saving should be invested. Ideally in index funds
- I can spend 4% of my investment growth each year and never run out of money
These ideas come from the Rule of 25 and the 4% Rule. Together they combine to create some shockingly simple math. Here’s what it looks like:
International Financial Independence Awareness Day
Learning about these basic financial rules of thumb made a huge difference for me. Prior to learning about the Rule of 25 and the 4% Rule, I had my head buried in the sand. I knew my financial situation was bad, but I really didn’t’ know what to do about it. So, I did nothing. And that made things worse.
This shockingly simple math was like a light in the darkness. I could now see a path forward, and finally having a clear path forward was extremely motivating.
It didn’t matter that I was broke, unemployed, behind on my mortgage and weeks away from losing my house, I was suddenly excited because for the first time in my life I knew what to do! For me, this is the magic of financial independence. That’s why I’m happy to participate in International Financial Independence Awareness Day, I want to help spread the word.
Improve Lives by Improving Finances
Lucky for me, I found my way out of the financial mess that I was in. Had I not randomly stumbled on that blog post when I did there’s no doubt in my mind that I’d still be kicking that financial can down the road. Knowing that I should be doing something, but not knowing what it was. Thank God I found out about this concept when I did. I’m terrified to think about where I’d be today otherwise.
And that makes me what to help increase awareness of financial independence, the Rule of 25, and the 4% Rule.
The mission of Camp FIRE Finance to is to “improve lives by improving finances”, and International Financial Independence Awareness Day aligns perfectly with that mission.