Photo Courtesy UnSplash and Towfiqu Barbhuiya

Understanding FIRE

Retiring at 65 isn’t for everyone. In recent years, the movement to retire early has been growing in both popularity and in followers. In recent times, millennials, particularly, have been embracing the idea of a FIRE retirement strategy. This strategy/lifestyle is often referred to as the FI/RE or Financial Independence – Retire Early movement.

By saving large amounts of their income, those who follow the FIRE movement are hoping to leave their jobs and live off of their investment portfolios for years before they reach the age of 65. For many people, this can mean saving upwards of 50% of their net income (or as high as 70-80% in extreme scenarios). There are several FI/RE retirement variations that dictate the lifestyle the FIRE movement’s devotees are willing and able to maintain have evolved within it:

Fat FIRE: This is the ideal option for those who live a traditional life and want to save over the typical worker but aren’t looking to lower their standard of living. It usually requires a higher income and frenzied savings and investment strategies to succeed. Fat FIRE is early retirement and significant disposable income.

Lean FIRE: Lean FIRE is one of the forms of financial independence that requires you to have enough savings to pay for your basic expenses. This requires a strict commitment to living a minimal lifestyle and extreme savings, which requires the most limited lifestyle. A lot of Lean FIRE followers reside on less than $22,000 annually.

Barista FIRE: This option is for those who wish to be somewhere between the two options above. They can quit their traditional 9-to-5 job but employ an amalgamation of part-time employment and savings to lead an unintentionally minimalist lifestyle. This strategy is popular for someone who 1. Doesn’t want to quit working, just does not want to commit to 40 hours a week and 2. Still wants or needs to be covered by employer-sponsored health insurance. This type of FIRE came into existence when large companies, such as Starbucks, began offering health insurance to part time workers.

Coast FIRE: This model calls for having enough saved or invested in ensuring that, without additional contributions, your portfolio will completely support your retirement at the age of traditional retirement. The nest egg is also known as an amount you can “coast” to the target amount needed to retire. The people who have achieved their Coast FIRE are still required to work; however, they need to earn enough money to pay for their current living expenses and not increase their savings or fund investments to secure retirement. 

For Whom Is FIRE best?

Many people believe that FIRE is only for pulling in a significant income, usually around six figures. But that is not always the case. Though a larger income definitely helps, your ability to FIRE depends on your lifestyle and your savings rate.  There is a lot to be learned from the tenets of this movement to assist people in saving for their retirement and even getting one sooner, even if it’s not before 40. Remember, the first part of FIRE is financial independence, which will give you freedom of your time. This is a good time to also note, despite FIRE isn’t about not working, it’s about working on what you want, when you want to.  


Everyone needs to think about their retirement whether it be early retirement or at 65. Yet, according to a 2021 report by the Federal Reserve System Board of Governors, In 2020, one-fourth of Americans had no savings for retirement in any way, while 36% of those who had savings were concerned they weren’t in the right direction. The FIRE movement emphasizes that it is essential to have a clear plan and follow the principles that assist anyone saving for retirement and maintaining an adequate emergency savings account.

Our name and our brand are both heavily FIRE movement influenced. Our goal is to help you reach your personal financial goals whether it be retiring early or something else. If you have any questions, want more information, or just want to talk, DM us on Twitter or Instagram or shoot us an email at and we may talk about it on the show.

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