Have you come across internet posts which label the FIRE movement as a cult, or how meaningless life will be if you retire at 40, or how FIRE is all about those people who hate their jobs? My answer to them all is Nein, Nein Nein! Financial Independence (sans retirement) is a worthwhile pursuit meant for all of us.
Job losses are real, and a reality of business cycles
The above headlines are from 2019, and we are yet to announce a recession. All those big companies are shedding, and I can bet that most of the employees there are really good smart people, and have families to take care of, yet they face a massive challenge in the months to come.
Sure, the German unemployment insurance will cover 60% of their pay for upto 2 years. Will they find good jobs soon, with similar pay and satisfaction? How many will end up being long term unemployed?
Finally, what if you or I were among those people, with obligations to take care of. Wouldn’t having an active effort towards Financial Independence make it easier? You may start with a small rainy day fund, but aim for a long winter, every little step will count.
Let us drop the myth that you are only Financial Independent if you do not need a job anymore, you can be Financially Independent for shorter period of time as well.
..but I do not want to Retire Early…
Exactly, Retiring Early is optional, not even an important factor here. Sadly blogs and popular media obsess over RE more than they talk of FI. All steps taken for goals, investments are really oriented towards being FI.
..but to be Financially Independent, I need to be frugal, its hard…
Balance, and disciple is necessary for any worthwhile pursuit in life. You can either do a crash diet to lose weight, fail and gain all of it back again, or make quality food choice which you can continue over long term and reap health benefits.
What I mean is, its still okay to have a coffee from a cafe sometimes or continue your Netflix subscription if that feels essential to you. Guilt tripping oneself for every spend is not the way to do it, but tracking or planning reasonable purchases is. (PS: You define what is reasonable)
However, If your balance is in spending everything, then you need to re-assess your priorities. The decision to pursue Financial Independence is also your own life decision, nobody can force you into this, you are the hero/heroine of your life.
..but Financial Independence is worthwhile for people with above average incomes, and I can barely get by
If you had been lucky to have enough in the past and this is a temporary blimp then attempts at Financial Independence would have helped.
In contrast, if you never got a chance to even start saving and have been struggling for a long while, then you need to seek help, it can be help to find a new job, or upgrade skills or even more. I can only suggest that you need to hang in there tight, and keep going.