It is hard to not feel intimidated by the world of FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early). Especially while reading blogs like Mr. Money Mustache, the Mad Fientist, and Early Retirement Extreme. All of these are excellent resources, but I can’t help but feel like I don’t belong in this world. And should I let this feeling make me run to the hills and not look back? Is there any way for me to fit in? Sometimes I feel like I should just go on a spending spree and not look back. Here are the 8 main reasons I don’t feel like I fit into the world of FIRE.
- I don’t own a bike. – Yes, I admit it. I live approximately 1 mile from work, and I drive. An SUV no less. Do I think it is ridiculous? So here is my excuse. I have a job where I need to travel between multiple sites throughout the day. But you say, I could bike to all of those locations. True, but I do have to dress professionally for work and do not feel comfortable biking in a skirt or suit. Not a very good excuse, and I do feel ashamed by this. Not only is this costing me money, but it is also leaving a bigger carbon footprint on our environment. How can I be accepted by the FIRE community now?
- I am not a man. – This one is hard to say. I have to admit that when I first started reading blogs and listening to podcasts regarding FIRE, it was hard to find a female voice. Over months of looking, I realized that I have now found a few female voices that I really enjoy. FIRE Drill podcast with Gwen from Fiery MIllenials and J from MIllenial Boss is a down to earth podcast with great stories.. I also enjoy listening to Paula Pant from Afford Anything. There are more females out there, but their voices are definitely not as loud as the male. So come on ladies! Let them hear from us!
- I am not a millennial. – Oh man…is it too late for me? I am close to middle age, and I am just getting started. Many may ask, is it too late to start? Heck no! But it is hard when I am taking all of my advice from someone who is 10 years younger than I am. Look at what these amazing millennials are doing. I wish I would have known then, what I know now. I maybe would have been one of those that retired at 35. Oh well, hopefully I have a story at 50!
- I am not in top physical shape. – I think it comes from all the biking. Or maybe the frugality of grocery shopping. I am just not sure. But it seems that everyone who is on the path to FI is in amazing health. They are on amazing journeys to optimize their overall health and not just their wealth. I am impressed and motivated to make changes in my life too.
- I own a 2600 square foot home. – Do you have to live out of an RV? Or have a one bedroom apartment with 5 roommates? No, but you sure hear enough about house hacking. Housing is one of the main areas to cut money in your budget, so when I say that I have this huge suburban home that I cool in the summers and heat in the very cold winters, I can only assume that people are judging those bills. I have thought about downsizing, but my husband isn’t quite on board. This house fits our family perfectly and change is hard. Plus, he has built a pretty sweet woodworking shop in the basement that I know he doesn’t want to give up. But maybe someday. I keep planting the seed that we will need to downsize when our kids are out of High School…eight years and counting.
- I have kids. – All my fellow moms and dads out there…don’t you always wonder what people without kids spend all their money on? I feel like I would be rich if I didn’t have to spend money on kids activities, or extra food, cell phones, entertainment, etc. What a life it would be! Does that mean you can’t achieve FI with kids? No, but it does take other things into consideration. I do believe that once your kids are old enough, it does increase your cost of living per month. I just don’t think I can live off of $2000-3000 with two kids. But there are many inspiring people out there that have kids of and are making it work. There is hope for me!
- I didn’t have a side hustle. – When I first started looking into how to get out of debt, I was drawn to the make money quick schemes like watch movie previews, fill out surveys, gigs off of Criagslist, but these never really worked out. At one point, I even considered getting another job in the evenings, but I didn’t want to be away from my family. And as I have learned about FIRE, it has led me down the path of thinking of myself as an Entrepreneur. Really! I would never have thought that possible. But, now I have many ideas of different side hustles I could do. And I am excited about them all.
- I like to spend money! – It’s true. I am a spender. And I dream of lavish vacations in first class, having money to spend on anything that I want. It is hard to be on a budget. Wouldn’t it just be easier if I didn’t have to worry about that at all? True, but really, what do I need to be happy? Everyone says it is a lot less than you think.
I have not met any of the main members of the FIRE community in person, and maybe someday I will. I pray that I don’t act like a star struck fool, because they are just like me and you, a regular person that is just trying to build a better life. And best of all, every person I have mentioned has shared their story online to teach and inspire others. They are bringing good to the world, and I only hope that this article reaches a few that might say, there is no reason to be intimidated by this community. Life isn’t a competition…it’s a dream you make come true.