Commitment to FI
Commitment to Financial Independence is the first big secret to successfully achieving it. It is a mindset that starts with Earning more than you spend, Saving for short and long term needs, and Investing to eventually enjoy an ample nest egg with the freedom it ensures for your remaining life's journey.
Your age is a useful indicator of progress towards Financial Independence. The earlier you start working towards FI, the faster you can get there. You need to establish goals and set a target FI age for when you plan to achieve FI. For some individuals a Normal retirement age where societal norms are followed would reach FI near the age of 65. For others, the age set to achieve Financial Independence and Retire Early (earlier than 65), which is commonly referred to as FIRE, is a desire to break the normal patterns and pave new ground for their customized way of life. There are countless variations in the space between the normal and the FIRE lifestyles that individuals can take. People that adopt the FIRE spirit do think that the FI part of FIRE is what is most freeing and the most important to pursue whether they succeed or not at retiring early.
Why is it so important in becoming Financially Independent? It's really not about quitting your job or retiring early. It is about gaining an independence from others that may control your well being more than you can control it yourself. It is about reducing risk and allowing your choices to matter and your personal path to be followed. Imagine:
If you set your FI age well before the traditional age of 65, you are committing to changing your lifestyle in significant ways. How much change depends on how early your FI age is set to be and the financial advantages you might have. In any scenario you imagine, the time between your current age and your FI age will be the time you have to develop your personal lifestyle supportive of your FI age target and to develop and fund your post-FI age financial spending plan.
What is FIRE again?
People pursue FIRE as a goal because it proposes a path to freedom more aligned with progressive values of less materialism, prudent use of resources, and harmony with the environment. To be clear, FIRE represents a counter culture movement in contrast to traditional working lifestyles. It focusses more about a life's journey that is both individualized and rewarding in a nontraditional, nonmaterialistic sense. It stresses Financial Independence. It employs mindful savings and investing.
Though some individuals may still prefer and thrive with a 9-to-5 job and traditional retirement, the goals and benefits of pursuing Financial Independence FI at an early age are just as applicable.