What is FIRE?

In the grind of today’s capitalist world, where the traditional retirement age seems increasingly out of reach, the concept of Financial Independence Retire Early (FIRE) has inspired a movement that is reshaping our approach to work, savings, and life planning. This blog post explores the origins of the FIRE movement, the principles it promotes, the various types of FIRE, and current influencers who provide valuable insights into achieving financial independence.

The History of the FIRE Movement

The FIRE movement traces its roots to the 1992 book “Your Money or Your Life” by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin. This influential book challenged traditional views on money and work, advocating for financial independence as a means to a more fulfilling life. The core message is that by changing your relationship with money and aligning your spending with your values, you can achieve financial independence much earlier than conventional wisdom suggests.

In the early 2000s, the FIRE movement gained momentum with the rise of online communities and blogs. Notable influencers like Mr. Money Mustache (Pete Adeney) and Jacob Lund Fisker, author of “Early Retirement Extreme,” became pioneers in spreading the message. Mr. Money Mustache, in particular, popularised the idea that extreme frugality and smart investing could lead to early retirement, attracting a large following with his practical advice and engaging writing style.

It was Fisker’s book and blog that got me hooked on the movement, followed by Mr. Money Mustache who took the reins after Fisker stopped posting prolifically. Once you go down the rabbit hole, there are days of content to explore. I’ve shared some links below – thankyou 🙂

Achieving FIRE: Core Principles

Achieving FIRE requires a combination of disciplined saving, frugal living, and strategic investing. Here are the core principles that underpin the journey to financial independence:

High Savings Rate

One of the fundamental tenets of FIRE is maintaining a high savings rate, typically between 50-70% of your income. This requires a shift from a consumer-centric lifestyle to one focused on mindful spending and prioritizing needs over wants.


Living frugally doesn’t mean depriving yourself of joy but rather finding contentment in simplicity. This involves cutting unnecessary expenses, optimising essential costs, and finding free or low-cost alternatives to expensive habits.

Investing Wisely

Investing is crucial to growing your wealth and achieving financial independence. Many in the FIRE community advocate for low-cost index fund investing, which provides diversification and aligns with long-term growth. Real estate, dividend investing, and other strategies also play a role, depending on individual preferences and risk tolerance.

Passive Income

Building streams of passive income, such as rental properties, dividends, or royalties, is another key strategy. These income sources reduce reliance on traditional employment and provide financial security.

Mindful Living

FIRE isn’t just about money; it’s also about living a purposeful life. This means aligning your spending and saving habits with your values and long-term goals, ensuring that your financial decisions support the life you truly want to live.

Types of FIRE

The FIRE movement has evolved to encompass several variations, catering to different lifestyles and goals. Here are some of the most popular types of FIRE:


Lean FIRE is for those willing to live a minimalist lifestyle with very low expenses. It involves extreme frugality and cutting costs to the bare minimum. Individuals pursuing Lean FIRE aim to retire with a smaller nest egg, often around $500,000 or less, depending on their lifestyle and location.


Fat FIRE caters to those who want to retire early without sacrificing their current standard of living. It requires a higher savings rate and a larger retirement fund, typically over $2 million. This approach allows for more luxurious spending and greater financial security.

Coast FIRE

Coast FIRE is for those who save and invest aggressively early on, then let their investments grow without additional contributions. By the time they reach mid-life, their investments have grown sufficiently to support their retirement without further savings. This allows for a more relaxed work pace or part-time employment in later years. Our Family seeks to implement Coast FIRE. You can find more informaiton about our story on our Coast FIRE Post, but as I write this article, I wonder if we’re actually targeting Basita FIRE, or perhaps there isn’t a gread deal of difference. Drop a comment if you have a different view!

Barista FIRE

Barista FIRE involves reaching a level of savings where you can cover most of your expenses with passive income, but you still work part-time or in a low-stress job to supplement your income. This approach provides a balance between work and leisure, offering financial security without the need for a full-time career.

Influencers and Resources

The FIRE movement has a vibrant online community, with numerous influencers providing insights, strategies, and inspiration. Here are some notable figures and resources:

Mr. Money Mustache

Pete Adeney, known as Mr. Money Mustache, is one of the most influential voices in the FIRE movement. His blog offers practical advice on frugality, investing, and achieving financial independence. Visit Mr. Money Mustache


ChooseFI, founded by Jonathan Mendonsa and Brad Barrett, is a popular podcast and blog that covers various aspects of the FIRE journey. Their content includes interviews, case studies, and actionable tips for achieving financial independence. Visit ChooseFI

Our Next Life

Tanja Hester, author of “Work Optional” and creator of the blog Our Next Life, shares her journey to early retirement and provides resources for others looking to do the same. Her blog focuses on mindful living and sustainable financial strategies. Visit Our Next Life

Mad Fientist

Brandon, known as the Mad Fientist, delves into the technical aspects of achieving FIRE, including tax optimization, investment strategies, and financial planning. His blog and podcast are valuable resources for those seeking detailed financial insights. Visit Mad Fientist

Financial Samurai

Sam Dogen, the Financial Samurai, offers a unique perspective on achieving financial independence through a combination of frugality, investing, and career optimization. His blog covers a wide range of financial topics, including real estate, investing, and lifestyle choices. Visit Financial Samurai

The FIRE lifestyle

The FIRE movement is more than just a financial strategy; it’s a lifestyle choice that prioritises freedom, intentional living, and long-term planning. Whether you’re aiming for Lean FIRE, Fat FIRE, Coast FIRE, or Barista FIRE, the principles remain the same: save aggressively, spend mindfully, and invest wisely.

As you embark on your FIRE journey, remember that the path to financial independence is personal and unique. Use the resources and insights from the FIRE community to tailor your approach, and stay focused on your goals. With dedication and perseverance, achieving financial independence and the freedom to retire early is within reach.

For further exploration, check out the blogs and podcasts mentioned above, and immerse yourself in the wealth of knowledge shared by the FIRE community. Your journey to financial independence starts now—embrace it and make it your own.

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