I’ve been reading a lot of recipes and of course follow tons of food blogs on Instagram (which by the way, is a bad idea if you are ever hungry and can’t make your food look as good as the professionals) and for some reason it made me think of the recipe for FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early).
I thought it would be an interesting idea to see what exactly goes into “FIRE” since it seems to be what everyone on the personal finance blog world (including myself, but I am not aiming for FIRE in my 30’s) is aspiring for. Mr. Tako Escapes says that people who have FIRE are not special snowflakes, and that FIRE can be replicated. Note that I haven’t actually completed this recipe but have started it. The recipe for FIRE may take a long time to make depending on the ingredients that you have on hand and available.
Okay, you ready? Here’s the recipe:
Buy high MER mutual funds, never look at your investment portfolio for the next ten years, and live pay cheque to pay cheque.
Just kidding! I have to credit my husband as this was actually his joke when I told him I wanted to write a recipe for FIRE. He’s pretty funny sometimes. Anyway, back to the recipe for FIRE.
the ultimate recipe for fire (financial independence retire early)
Usually servings yield 1-2, but may serve up to a family of 4.
Many early retirees can retire as an individual, retire in their 30’s and travel the world. However, this is probably not as fun as having two servings. Therefore, the usual serving yield for FIRE is two. Two incomes can make FIRE faster and in less time.
Two DINKS (Dual Income No Kids) are optimal for this recipe because children can tend to put a damper to Financial Independence Retire Early. At the same time, having kids can ignite your desire to FIRE because you want to be able to spend time with them and NOT feel the guilt of working full-time, coming home at 6pm exhausted and cranky and tuning out your children when they tell you about their day, only to have them go to bed at 8pm, 2 hours after you get home. You are tired of the rinse and repeat daily grind. You may want to make FIRE because you don’t want to be sandwiched taking care of the young and old while working 9-5.
FIRE is low in carbohydrates (5g) , high in protein (30g) , and moderate in fat (unsaturated fat, healthy fat, 10g). This unique nutrition profile allows for a slow-burn of FIRE and ultimate long lasting satiety.
With a 4% Safe Withdrawal Rate put into consideration and implementation, the estimated time that FIRE lasts before you get hungry again is an estimated 30 years, give or take a few recessions and market adjustments. If you want a longer lasting FIRE, consider not touching your principal and decreasing your safe withdrawal rate to 2.5% or less. However, this increases cook time.
- 4 CUPS of high savings rate, AT LEAST 40-50% with the intention of investing this money
- 1 TBSP of a high salary after graduation from college, preferably $75,000 and increasing up to >$100,000 annually after a few years, therefore you have a high take home pay (this allows you to have a higher savings rate than someone who makes $40,000 a year).
Of course you FIRE can be made with less but to decrease the cook time, a larger dose of salary is optimal.
- Strain out the student loans from college or consumer debt, otherwise this will add to the preparation and cook time for FIRE
- 2 CUPS of a strong desire for FIRE and not working a 9-5 soul-sucking or time consuming job until age 65, which is the ‘conventional’ retirement age. A strong desire to do as you wish with your time- whether it be gardening, traveling the world, or family
- 1/4 CUP of low cost of living in your desired locale of retirement (for example, retiring in Vancouver, BC where a 1200 square foot townhouse in a ‘not great’ part of town cost over $1,000,000 is not considered ‘low cost of living’)
- (OPTIONAL) 1 heaping spoonful of a FIRE partner– If wanting at least 2 servings for FIRE, ensure you find someone who has the same values in life (frugality) and wants FIRE. Don’t waste time and money finding a compatible life partner.
- Alternately, if you have kids and your spouse wants to continue to work you can FIRE as a Stay at Home Mom/ Dad (SAHM or SAHD) as Financial Samurai often mentions. This will decrease the cook time for your personal FIRE but likely not for your spouse- they may not want to enjoy FIRE as much as you do.
- (OPTIONAL) A side hustle or FIRE job like a monetized blog that allows you to be location independent and work at your own pace and on your own time but still provides supplemental income. Or it may even surpass original 9-5 income and adds to the satiety of FIRE, lengthening the estimated FIRE satiety to more than 30 years if needed.
- Preparation time depends on savings rate (and amount saved) and the intended cost of living in the retirement locale.
- However, once the person preparing the FIRE recipe sees FIRE blogs and personalities like Mr. Money Mustache, Go Curry Cracker, and Millennial Revolution, who have all retired in their 30’s and are either traveling their world or enjoying their home in Colorado, the preparation time shortens because of the increased ingredient of “strong desire for FIRE”. Their lifestyles of traveling and living freely are very enticing.
- Cook time varies as well and depends on the availability of the ingredients for FIRE
- Networthify has a great Early Retirement Calculator where you can input the ingredients for FIRE, including the withdrawal rate (which I will say is a very conservative 2.5%)
- See cook time below:
- 12.1 years for someone with $120,000 in income (say they got a great job with Google right out of school) to build a $1.2 million investment portfolio assuming zero income tax (hah! I suppose I should have calculated it with net income)
- 6% annualized return on investment
- A 70% savings rate and
- Annual expenses of $35,000
See screenshot from Netwothify below:
- Add the high salary after graduation to a large mixing bowl, and ensure that the student loans and consumer debt are strained out and removed. Discard the student loans and consumer debt, they will not be needed for the recipe towards FIRE.
- Blend the 2 CUPS of strong desire for FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early) with the salary. Blend well.
- This yields the 4 CUPS of high savings rate, which produces $85,000 annual savings in the hypothetical example above.
- High savings rate can be achieved by doing simple things like:
- Cutting cable television
- Avoiding eating out for lunch every day from your 9-5 job. Prep cook for the week instead and make freezer meals (instant pot is good for this)
- Opt for a minimalist lifestyle. Don’t get sucked in to buying things (newest iPhone, expensive clothing, expensive and flashy cars) to soothe yourself from the rough 9-5 job ‘because you deserve it’.
- Sell things that you currently own using websites and apps to help you get rid of stuff I’ve made well over $1000 in the last year selling stuff that I don’t need anymore
- Living small if you can, like in 450 square feet with a baby. Living small means less electricity to pay for, less rooms to furnish, less to clean, and less ‘noise’.
- Cut out things that you’re not using, like that $70 a month gym membership or yoga pass
- Save money on groceries with coupons, or apps like Checkout 51.
- Ensure the $85,000 annual savings is invested into a diversified portfolio of low cost index funds or blue chip dividend yielding equities, consider using dollar cost averaging if you want to avoid timing the market. You can purchase Exchange Traded Funds without any commission from Questrade (affiliate link below, I use Questrade myself and have been a fan since 2008). To obtain the recipe for creating an investment portfolio, you can take the Young Money Bootcamp eCourse here.
- Repeat every year and continue mixing the savings together.
- With a diversified portfolio of low cost index funds, you should see an annualized return of 6% yield. Some years may be higher, some years may be much lower or negative.
- Optional- can add real estate to this (rental properties) such as managing and renting out for Airbnb or VRBO which may decrease cook time for FIRE depending on the real estate market
- Allow portfolio to simmer for the calculated cook time (varies depending on each recipe, it can be 8 years to even 20 years)
- Once desired nest egg amount is reached and the retirement locale is chosen and arranged for, FIRE has been created.
- Finally, enjoy the taste of financial freedom because you have just retired early and you have worked damn hard to make this recipe!
That’s it for the recipe! Not that complicated right?
Bon appetit and enjoy!
- Readers, what do you think of this recipe? Would you add or subtract anything to enhance the flavour of FIRE? What does financial freedom taste like for those who have made this recipe?