Spark to Fire: What is FIRE?

“From a little spark may burst a flame” Dante Alighieri

Remember when I declared I was through making excuses for knowing very little about FIRE and Finances? Well I’m making good on my declaration and I’m going to be documenting what I learn along the way! Please feel free to add your thoughts and corrections (I’m sure there will be plenty) and I’ll update it so some poor soul doesn’t stumble across it and follow it to the letter!

My starting point was easy. Do I actually know what FIRE is? I like to think so but I’m sure the comments on this post may say otherwise!

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I do like to start easy!

So FIRE stands for Financial Independence Retire Early (I briefly went into this in my very first post) there are lots of new abbreviations popping up so I will have missed some:

FIRO – Financial Independence Retirement Optional – for those who don’t wish to quit their day job.

FI – Financial Independence

FI/RE – Old school classic! FIRE used to be written like this way back when! Check out the godfather of FIRE “Early Retirement Dude” who was working towards FIRE before it was even a thing!

But FIRE is much more than just finances! (As you can tell from my blog) Fire is hope. Hope that you can one day escape the rat race (if you so chose to) and have personal freedom and FI.

Where am I on the scale? Mr Fire and I are different at the moment. He wants to quit the day job to work on the family business in order for it to grow and take over our expenses. Me? I’m happy in my semi retirement for now but that doesn’t mean I won’t try new income producing ideas. I think since my job wore me down so much mentality that I am very scared reluctant to put myself through that again.

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Possibly one of the most important questions in the FIRE community!

For me its all about happiness and health. I have briefly touched on my abusive past (I would do a post on it but I’m not sure it would be that interesting) and I have felt trapped for as long as I can remember. Bring in Mr Fire. He was like a breathe of fresh air and is teaching me that I belong to no one and nothing. FI for me is freedom and I want that for Mr Fire also. I also think its independence. Owning nobody anything and not having to bother with all the corporate office drama that I have worked with since beginning work at 15.

Is there a formula to FIRE?

Yes although I don’t know from where it originated? The “traditional” route to FIRE fits this formula:

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Its important to note that this isn’t EVERYONE’s formula. It isn’t mine or Mr Fire’s. I’m hoping he will get a spare minute to write a post or two on here to detail it all.

This would have been our magic formula if I was able to keep working as then we would have simply saved my wages (£1.200) and this would have been our investments. It wasn’t possible and so we have to adapt. That’s what I love about FIRE is you don’t have to reach it the same way as everyone else!

My next post will be How to get to FIRE using this formula and others.

Whats your why?

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11 thoughts on “Spark to Fire: What is FIRE?

  1. ChrisFI

    Nice post LMF. For me it’s all about FI itself as a goal. FIRO sounds close too but I like the simple Path to FI itself. I really enjoy my work currently and I don’t intend to stop working at the moment but I love the idea that if work dragged you down or you became ill and work was making your health worse, you could simply stop or take a year off. It empowers you, it’s a wonderful enabler of care free options. It takes away the forced/no choice but to work situation that Grinds so many of us down. Chris

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Chris,
      I agree. I think that FI is really a safety net for those who like their job so it can be used as a big middle finger to your job if it becomes unbearable. I’m hoping we can get that for Mr Fire!

      Like

  2. I want the choice of freedom and for my husband to have it too. Every pound saved/invested gives us options other than debt and over-paying the mortgage gives us a sense of security.

    When you’re ready hun a job, should you be looking, will become available…might even be something unexpected!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. sam

    Hi LMF
    I’m at the opposite end of my financial (and life) journey to you and so have much more of an overarching perspective. I started out long before blogs of any kind existed, it was just self-help books then and very little in them about finance at all. Even though most of those in the online FIRE community have a head start on you in terms of initial income, it’s very supportive and helpful, and I’d like to offer my own reactions if they might help, too. I’ve not really seen any other blogs right at the beginning of the writer’s progress, but all things (that you touch on in your blog) considered I think you’re doing well so hope you can accept that we all learn by our mistakes.

    Perhaps in your enthusiasm for the concept of FIRE you’re being a bit overambitious (scattergun) in your approach and this is making it harder for you when you attempt something you’ve not yet fully got a handle on? Weenie’s wise responses, and others’, suggest this in specific ways. It’s understandable to be tempted by what seems to be easy money, especially when it appears that just now although your household is dependant on Mr LMF’s income (and you say you fear this is looking perhaps less stable going forward) speed in establishing other income streams may appear to be desirable but as always, what looks to be too good to be true, usually is.

    You may have an irrational (even unacknowledged) guilt that at present your contributions do not come in measurable financial form, and if so it would be hardly surprising if the resultant stress caused a panic attack when driving, since that’s something relatively new that you don’t yet have sufficient experience of to be fully confident in doing. One phrase you’ll hear a lot is ‘living intentionally’; being always aware and ‘in the moment’ is the goal of mindfulness, and that should bring the calm you need to focus more fully on one issue at a time.

    Concentrate on what you can control, like the food costs, which have come down; where else can you make savings? Try the frugal savers forum on moneysavingexpert.com, which also has a competitions thread that might interest you. Only then can you start to establish your emergency fund. If you are already confident with multiple current accounts for your betting adventures, why not swich them into an assortment of current accounts that pay interest? As well as those suggested by Weenie, Nationwide (5% for just a year), BOS Vantage and Lloyds all pay interest on balances of various sizes, and from time to time there are one-off switching incentives as well/instead, usually provided you can set up a couple of direct debits, pay in an average minimum of £1k/month and stay in credit. Maxing these out should bring in say £400pa on £14k, more if you have joint accounts too, and all you have to actually do is set up standing orders to move that minimum from one account to another each month, in a circular chain, with zero risk, and that could then be your emergency fund.

    Only when the emergency fund is watertight should you start investing. Unless you have a windfall that you can afford to tuck away for at least five years, generally the online consensus is to drip whatever you can afford via direct debit/standing order into an ultra-cheap, ultra-diversified (ie global) index tracker fund invested on an ultra-cheap platform, with the dividends reinvested (or just buy accumulation units rather than income), within an ISA wrapper for the tax benefits. Just remember that it’s in the nature of markets and currencies to go down as well as up, but you are young enough to wait out this volatility and your cash fund will provide ballast. In the long term, when you feel confident about concepts like asset allocation, you’ll be able to consider bonds rather than actual cash for your emergency fund especially short-term (because less sensitive to interest rates) or index linked or corporates for better returns.

    Bon voyage!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Sam,
      WOW thank you for your support and such a wonderfully detailed comment. I think you are right about me jumping in feet first to new “easy money” making opportunities due to feeling guilty over not bringing in an income.

      I think it s very telling that my earlier posts seem to hit a lot of making money ways and yet currently I don’t post about these at all. I have had a break from “easy money” to really focus on myself.

      I think its a big change to not work but watch your other half have to endure the brunt of going out to work when they don’t really want to.

      I’m glad you mentioned mindfulness as its something I am looking into doing after it being mentioned in the comments by one of m y readers. I’m hoping it will help ease the anxiety I seem to feel irrationally around driving.

      That’s great advice about the bank account switch and I didn’t know it could bring in such a decent amount per month. I will make sure I research it fully before doing anything though, I promise!

      I agree that I should leave investing alone for a while, especially until we have the emergency fund sorted out.

      Thanks for all your great advice.
      LMF X

      Like

  4. I really do think I have transitioned to FIRO from FIRE. I used to want to retire super early at like 36 or 37 but now I don’t think I would want that, I am enjoying my job and I feel so much more care free being on the path to FI. I actually look forward to work at times :o.. I don’t live to work at all but I just get a lot out of it. My last job though was awful so I really appreciate the good in this one. Good post!

    Chris@TheFIJourney

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Chris,

      That’s good news about liking your job. I guess that’s what I love about FI is that its interchangeable with where you are in your life. Once you have that pot of money behind you, you get a better perspective of everything!

      Like

  5. Pingback: Monthly Catch up April to May 2018 – Little Miss Fire

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