The 'FIRE' movement and the trouble with penny pinching

The FT pouring cold water on the FIRE movement here (sorry). They do make some good points though..

Does anyone here actually practise FIRE or know someone who does?

HL have shared the story so you don’t need to worry about a paywall

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FIRE is compelling but not realistic for most. Unless you have a good salary when you are young and are willing to slum it out on someone else’s sofa, you are not realistically going to get to 70% savings of your salary.

Even if you do it right and can “retire” in your thirties, realistically how much is that going to give you per month if you have the prospect of living another 70 years, without any meaningful government pension either as you won’t be working.

I maximise my savings, maximise my tax efficiency, but also have the mantra that you have to live and enjoy life. Penny pinching becomes soul destroying if you’re not careful. Instead, I set myself large goals like paying off the mortgage, getting kids through uni, getting kids on the property ladder, a certain amount of income at my retirement, an early retirement; etc, and then budget accordingly.


FIRE is a bit like a cult and some of them are quite scary :sweat_smile:

It’s great to plan for the future but life is far too unpredictable for that, and the energy and effort it takes could be better used

She prefers to give the gift of spending time on shared experiences, arguing this is a far better way of sustaining a friendship than a scented candle

I love scented candles. And if I’m given them it stops me spending my money on them :grin:


FIRE is very appealing but I’m a bit impulsive and spend money too easily. I have only ended up with a growing interest in investment because I hope there will be some return on the shares I buy at a later stage and not just more hobby equipment in the garage.

However a guy I work with paid off his mortgage in a year. He did have a lot of savings from the previous 10 years in fairness. But he’s so disciplined (tight) he pretty much only eats the discounted foods with yellow labels stuck on that you get at the end of the day in the shop and works every extra hour going. Fair play to him for being disciplined and not wasting money or food but I feel there is a bit more enjoyment to be had in life than saving every penny going.

Just different life priorities I guess.

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