A World on FIRE (JHP Day 19)
You might think that title is a little confusing. An all-caps typo on my part, maybe - not to mention the fact that the picture above doesn't exactly look like a 'world on fire', or apocalyptic by any means.
But it's intentional - what I want to talk about in this post is actually something relatively new to me - a movement that I've heard about a lot in the past, but have only recently started to give some serious thought. And it's got a lot to do with freedom.
A key theme throughout all of my writing, the little projects that I do in my own time and the thoughts and ideas that I love to hear about - is this concept of working with the long term in mind, so that years down the line, I can sit back having built a future that I'm happy with.
To some extent I think we're all chasing that - a life lived without being restrained to responsibilities that just aren't fun - a job we aren't fulfilled by, bills, insurance, taxes, commitments to other people. Whatever it is.
I once heard an amazing quote from Naval Ravikant, which was something along the lines of - if we dedicate all of the next few years to training our entire population in engineering and the scientific fields - we could remove the need to work, and perform hard labour, ever again.
Everything would be automated, and everyone could devote their time to creative fields like art, or academic research - things that they truly felt a calling for. Initially I thought it was quite an optimistic idea, but it slowly started to make sense to me. Getting to a point where you can automate the most basic functions, both as an individual human, and also through society, would free up so much more time for all of the other things in life that mattered.
Which brings us back to FIRE. The focus for today's post, and the acronym that has caused thousands of people across the world to start working harder (and smarter) than ever before:
Financial Independence, Retire Early.
In all honesty, the acronym sounded a little weird to me on my first encounter - and also a bit confusing as to why I would even be interested - seeing as I'm 21 years old and retirement for me is probably around 40 years down the line. But it's come to mean a lot more than just having a few more years to pass the time after I retire, or a little more cash in the bank.
To give some context to this post, and my reasons for writing it - I started listening to a new podcast yesterday, called ChooseFI. The first episode I clicked on, Ep 392, was a summary of the podcast so far, and a great introduction to what it was all about, for new listeners: a space for this community of people, all chasing FIRE, to come together and discuss how they've managed, or are managing, to reach financial independence.
More and more people today - especially in the younger generations, are realising the value of building diversified income streams, to allow them to get to a point where they can free themselves financially. Over the course of an hour, I was introduced once again to the concept, and the myriad of ways in which I had the opportunity to capitalise on one of the best uses of my time - working towards a future where I wouldn't have to work.
At least - that was my initial incentive. What I found out as I listened further, was that actually, being free of work isn't really the end goal.
As humans, we intrinsically get bored if there's nothing to do, nothing to chase. Sure, a week or two on a beach, sitting in the shade of the sun without a care in the world is something we all strive for from time to time.
But the reality of that being the only thing we're left to do, if we take away the idea of money - is actually quite bleak if you think about it.
So, Why FIRE?
Like I said at the start of this post, this whole movement is largely centred around freedom. Not just running away from responsibilities we feel restrained to, for reasons such as money - but also running towards opportunities that we feel excited to be a part of and work on.
I'm slowly learning more about it as time goes on, but it's given me a lot of food for thought when it comes to the kinds of things I pursue early on in my career, to position myself in the best way so that as I get older, I can be happy, fulfilled and proud of the person I become. I hope sharing these experiences can do the same for you, and give you an insight into the amount of opportunities available - I'd highly recommend listening to the episode:
Is it Even Realistic or Achievable?
One form of backlash that's quite common in this space, is around the topic of whether FIRE is actually even feasible. How can you possibly make yourself financially free so early on in your career?
There are a few truths that I've discovered from listening to videos and podcasts around the topic, and I'm going to lay them out here.
Firstly, It's possible.
Purely from looking at the number of podcast episodes from that first dive into the community - it was clear for me to see that there had been a lot of discussion on the topic. And not only that, but countless cases of people who have successfully reached the goals that they set themselves, building ways of freeing themselves up from previous commitments. Whether that be average 9-5 workers in the middle of their careers, or high school students who haven't even made the jump to college yet. It's very achievable to reach the goal of FIRE, given that you put in the work. Which leads to the next point.
It takes a lot of work, and a lot of time.
FIRE is by no means a get rich quick scheme, or a scam to funnel people into selling their lives away. Everything I've seen from discussions is that it's a community of people dedicated to being smart about the idea of working to provide value. Which points to the final point, and a core tenet of FIRE.
It's often based around the idea of finding ways around trading time for money.
To be successful and actually achieve a level of financial independence, you need to be smart about where you spend your time. That often means switching from selling your services - through a regular job where you get paid for a certain number of hours worked - to building products that can automate the process for you, and allow you to make money while you sleep.
I watched this video from Ali Abdaal a few years, ago, and it really got me thinking about the opportunities available online today:
To summarise, FIRE has become a much greater interest of mine recently, and given me a lot to work on, building strategies to succeed in my career, and have an impact on people in the best way possible, while also allowing me to free myself of unwanted struggles. It's definitely going to remain a focus of mine in the future, but these past few days have really reframed my perspective.
On the off chance that you've read something on here and loved it, or want to read more, feel free to shoot me a message on my socials:
The feedback helps massively. Thanks!