CHICAGO — By the year 2050, it is estimated that nearly a million people in the U.S. will live to be 100. Amazing, right? Now imagine, retiring at 30 and living to 100.
There is a community of people out there who say it’s possible. It’s all about what you spend, they claim and not about what you earn.
The community calls itself “FIRE,” which stands for “Financially Independent, Retire Early.” By early, we are talking in your 30s or 40s.
Film director Travis Shakespeare achieved “FI,” or “financial independence,” in his 40s. A true believer, he made a movie about it called “Playing with Fire.”
The documentary profiles Scott Rieckens taking the leap to financial freedom.
Retired at 38, Tanja Hester has been blogging and is getting ready to release a book entitled “Work Optional.”
“Our real philosophy for managing money is hiding money from ourselves,” she said, including the banking bonuses and raises she and her husband received while earning low six-figure salaries. Hester is up against a daunting health history. She has no plans for children, and is choosing to live retired now, not just later.
“For us, it never felt like a sacrifice because we knew exactly why we were doing it,” she said.
Books, films, as well as retreats and camps promoting early retirement are happening all over the country. But personal finance columnist and author Terry Savage, also known as “The Money Lady,” is skeptical.
“At this moment in time, we are probably at the tail-end of the longest bull market in history,” Savage said. “We’ve got the lowest unemployment rate since the ‘50s, mortgage rates — while creeping up — are way below where they were in the 1980s, and it looks like happy days are here again.”
She added: “You can’t plan to retire at 40 and think the next 40 years are going to look just like this.”
For more information on the “FIRE” movement, here are a few resources: