Roasting Marshmallows: Following My FIRE Flirtation
Ever since I attended FinCon last September, I’ve been learning a lot about the personal finance blogging community. In doing so, I’ve also continued to seek my rightful place among its many subsections. While I haven’t quite found it yet, lately I’ve been finding myself most attracted to the FIRE side of things — even though I’m not actually pursuing FI or RE myself.
I should probably back up just in case you’re lost and explain that FIRE is the often-punned acronym for Financial Independence, Retire Early. Whether it’s the concept itself or it’s the play on words that’s causing it to “spread like” is somewhat up for debate, but the movement has undoubtedly grown in recent years. As a result, it’s not hard to find blogs, podcasts, videos, and more on the subject.
Personally, I’ve been fascinated by the theories, real-life examples, modifications, and even arguments that have been coming out of the FIRE space. From reading Tanja Hester’s book Work Optional to now frequently sharing FI articles on Twitter and listening to FIRE-related podcasts, it’s easily become my favorite personal finance content to consume. And yet, I can’t really call myself a member of the FIRE community.
This has led me to think about a new term I could use to describe my position. Basically, I picture myself sitting around the FIRE at this point — roasting marshmallows and making s’mores, of course. That could be a thing right?
While I joke, the truth is that what I do with this site is actually compatible with pursing FIRE. After all, in order to achieve such a milestone as saving up 25 times your annual expenses (a popular measuring stick for what you’ll require to retire early), you’ll surely need to have some practical personal finance skills under your belt. And although a consistent debate in the community questions whether frugality or income make the bigger difference in attaining FI, I’d argue that the former certainly can’t hurt your pursuit.
To be clear, even if financial independence in its most literal sense isn’t something I’m actively chasing, it is still the ultimate goal in my book. Moreover, despite not being in a place where I can really map out a path to early retirement, I do enjoy reading and learning about what strategies are working for others. So as I continue to consider my personal finance niche (especially as FinCon 2019 fast approaches), I suppose I’ll start carrying the torch for those of us just roasting marshmallows.