The FIRE movement is evolving. While it’s been around for a long time, the modern resurgence started with blogs like Early Retirement Extreme and Get Rich Slowly. Mr. Money Mustache came along in 2011 and took the scene to the next level. Even back then, the community was small and somewhat homogeneous (overrepresented by high paid engineer types).
Seven years after Mr. Money Mustache’s appearance on the scene, the FIRE movement is hitting critical mass. Now, there are folks from all walks of life achieving FIRE with unique strategies and on their own terms. Hell, there’s even a documentary coming out and yours truly may make an appearance: https://www.playingwithfire.co/the-cast/
Two recent derivations of the FIRE movement are leanFIRE and fatFIRE. To complicate matters, I’m going to introduce another version of FIRE today that I call:
Wait, don’t click away yet! fartFIRE has nothing to do with the expulsion of noxious gas.
LeanFIRE, FatFIRE and FartFIRE
If you haven’t heard of leanFIRE and fatFIRE the Physician on FIRE wrote a nice post on the topic. Here is what the FIREy Physician has to say about leanFIRE:
Some people, like Jacob Lund Fisker of Early Retirement Extreme fame, took spending to a new low and frugality to the next level. Achieving FIRE by virtue of a particularly lean budget became known as leanFIRE.
If leanFIRE is the term for spending quite a bit less than the average, what would a sensible person call the opposite thing — spending quite a bit more than the average early retiree? fatFIRE, of course. A subreddit was created and fatFIRE officially became a thing.
I started thinking about leanFIRE/fatFIRE and considered where I fit in. I lived a mostly frugal existence before I left my job and continue to do so to this day. Maybe I’m leanFIRE?
However, that’s not the whole story.
- I own a classic sports car that set me back $45,000.
- I still enjoy earning money. Looking at real estate deals is fun. I bought a trailer park and may buy another one or some other multi-family dwelling. I could stop all of these games and just invest in VTSAX, but I can do better, so I do.
And while I remain mostly frugal, if I had infinite money, I’d probably buy an Airbnb rental near a beach. So, maybe I’m fatFIRE.
Then, I started thinking about it all and decided that I don’t care about leanFIRE or fatFIRE. I’ll continue to live below my means and tweak along the way. If my money grows to an 8 figure net-worth, maybe I’ll loosen the belt and buy a house on Kauai or a ridiculous 4-wheeled contraption:
And if I never end up with a beach house or crazy-fast electric car, that’s fine too. Life is pretty great just how it is now.
More important than worrying about leanFIRE or fatFIRE is this: Get to a state of FIRE quickly so you can live and make decisions without worrying about money. If you think that you can live a minimal existence, great! If you need a new Tesla every 3 years, that’s great too! Just figure out how to get there and do it without sacrificing all of your time like I did. Embrace this!:
Because the most important thing is this:
Life is better when you can make decisions without the consideration of money!
- Would you work for free? You’ll find out when you reach FIRE and have the option to quit.
- What would you do if you didn’t have to work? You’ll find out when you reach FIRE.
Living without the distraction of having to earn money allows you to get closer to who you really are. A more authentic version of you.
Alas, the fastfire domain is taken. But all hope is not lost.
In Swedish, fart means fast. So, I give you:
I know; it currently just redirects back to my 1500 nonsense. Nothing to see. Yet. fartFIRE.com is coming and it will not stink.
How About You?
- What do you think of leanFIRE and fatFIRE?
- Are you on board with fartFIRE?
- Will you buy me a Tesla Roadster?
Join the 10s who have signed up already!
Subscribing will improve your life in incredible ways*.
*Only if your life is pretty bad to begin with.
My Sons Father says
Love this! I like the distinction away from lean or fat, she I don’t think either fits that well with me. I joked on PoF’s post, that I’m shooting for Big Boned or HuskyFIRE, but I think FartFIRE is even better.
I’ve been thinking more and more about our FI date and am probably close to 1500 days to LeanFIRE, or maybe a little longer. But by looking at is as FastFIRE, I can begin to decide what I want my FIRE to look like once I get there instead of having to worry about Lean or Fat now. Great stuff as always!
Mr. 1500 Days says
And yes, go for FartFIRE. Just don’t go too hard or bad things can happen!
Mr. Tako says
Is there any room in-between lean and fat? We’re not exactly lean, but fatFIRE feels like a stretch too.
Maybe we’re middleFIRE?
We live a pretty normal “middle class” lifestyle so that seems closer than ‘lean’ or ‘fat’.
Mr. Tako recently posted…April 2018 Dividend Income And Expenses
Russell @RisdomFI says
This has bugged me since seeing the lean/fatFIRE terms too! Maybe we just say FIRE? Doesn’t need to be complicated imo.
Just FIRE, indeed. Originally it was all “FIRE”, and now there are spin-offs for people who are very frugal and thus need very little money to live on, and for people who are quite spendy (but due to their very high income can still reach FIRE at a relatively young age). If you’re in the middle, you are aiming for FIRE – which is pretty awesome, by the way.
Mr. PoP says
Great post. The FIRE community definitely appears to be growing, but I still hate the name. Why don’t people just call themselves investors and be done with it?
People always feel the need to classify things, or sub-divide each other into “us” and “them.”
Mr. PoP recently posted…PoP Income Statement – Q1 2018
This is exactly what we talk about quite a bit. Do you need to scrimp and save, or is there somethings you can indulge in and still be ok.
The other part is having the power to walk away it is not fitting your life. Finding another way around it… getting to the place where you’re in control, even if you still might be cashing checks from an employer.
The power is when you can dictate your own terms.
Unfortunately, power in Swedish is Kraft and it just doesn’t have the same potty humor value!!
Mr. 1500 Days says
Potty humor? I have no idea what you’re talking about.
Mrs. LSF says
Did you incorporate fartleks into your half marathon training by any chance?
I think I swing more towards leanFIRE, until travel comes into play. Then its fatFIRE for sure. Balance.
Mr. 1500 Days says
I am doing the fartleks now and you know what? I just ran my fastest 5k ever!
Financial Velociraptor says
I really hope FartFIRE has twice the fart jokes and three times the plastic dinosaurs.
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Mr. 1500 Days says
Probably more like 4x and 8x.
What about “hackfire”? The people who live normal lives but basically use hacks for the more luxurious things in life. Does that count?
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Mr. 1500 Days says
Of course it does! Yet another derivation!
I have very little idea what you’re talking about here but found myself laughing the whole way through just the same.
I do like the idea of fast FIRE.
I may already be lean fire. It does not change much for me though. I don’t want to live on rice and beans in a cabin in the woods.
Hitting my full fire number would mean that I can seriously consider quitting work. That’s when things change whether I quit or not. I love the question you pose “What would you do if you didn’t have to work?” I won’t know for sure until I get there but I can’t wait to find out!
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I would say that I’m probably middle FIRE too. I increased my income and lowered my expenses, but I don’t really focus on one or the other more. I believe in frugality, but I also believe that you should be able to treat yourself while also saving and investing. Interest post for sure, and I’m sure I’m one of many FIRE followers who fall in the middle.
Russell @RisdomFI says
Not too lean to buy fartfire.com! I laughed my ass off when I saw you got the domain, very nice!
Mr. 1500 Days says
FartFIRE is gonna be huge! I’m so glad I pulled the finger, I mean trigger on the URL!
I like to think of myself as a PACIFIER:
The Poor Swiss says
Nice new FIRE way!
I’m probably closer to leanfire, although my budget is not yet as lean as I want it to be.
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I can only imagine where fartFIRE will go, this is hilarious. Leave it to you to come up with the funny name. I am sure in a year it’ll be bringing in an additional six-figure income you can buy a Tesla with!
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freddy smidlap says
we’re fartfire. we might not be in reality but that won’t stop me from walking around muttering the word. the world will be left to wonder what the hell i’m talking about.
freddy smidlap recently posted…Travelling for Work? Here’s How I Rocked It!
I would say I qualify as fart fire. We are not lean fire and we are not so wealthy that we don’t pay attention to finances which is how I would classify fat fire. So we are just FIRE and you know what? We don’t give a fart about classifications. So without caring we are fart fire. I love the humor Carl, keep it up.
Let’s say at age 21 you were offered this deal. Would you take it? Is it a “deal”?
You get paid $50/hour. You must work 5 days a week for 10 hours total (lunch included in the 10 hours). Every 5 years you get a 1% raise. 3 weeks of vacation. Stays the same.
At work, you do not have to do anything. Manage your finances, read, Whatever, no job requirements. You can’t do another job. Blogging would be fine.
You have to do this until age 70.
Some would think this is a deal. I call this lifeFIRE. A path many are on. Just add some real work in there.
I don’t know man. It sounds like plain old FIRE to me. I don’t think fartFIRE is going to catch on. But, that’s the goal for FIRE. Live your life without worrying about money too much. You always have to consider money, but it shouldn’t be the primary consideration in life.
BC Kowalski says
Ha – I remember encountering the Swedish “fart” in fartlek when I was really into running. I could never say it without a grin.
I think the lean/fatFIRE distinctions are really a spectrum – everyone has to decide where they want to dial the meter at. Even the lean folks could probably cut something, and while I consider MMM to be pretty lean, he describes his own living as a “life of luxury.” I’ve been tweaking over the years to get my spending right about where I want – still living life but also saving a happy amount. It helps that I like to read a lot, which costs nothing thanks to the library, and hiking/cycling which are pretty low cost activities. So I don’t sweat the occasional outing, since it is just that.
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Lily | The Frugal Gene says
Yup FartFIRE sounds like an inoffensive way of doing life! (Good gravy I’m kiddin.)
Does it really mean fast in swedish ? that’s hilarious!
Dang-nabbit, I was hoping to see some pics of a guy holding a match to his rear while expelling obnoxious gas or maybe read another tale about you gassing up a children’s sleepover after consuming copious amounts of taco bell…but alas.
Get to a state of FIRE quickly so you can live and make decisions without worrying about money and I decided to study abroad to earn more money =)))
Mr. Up says
24 years old, and me and the wife are half way to leanFIRE! pretty cool, though I’m not really sure that’s going to cut it. Will I make it to fartFIRE soon? I hope so, mainly for the jokes
Richard JS says
I think I am leanFIRE because saving money through the highest possible degree of frugality is my personal mantra. I live way below my means and do not invest in bitcoins – I think that is enough to put me up in that batch. But, yes, I’m keeping an eye on FartFIRE, lol.
My view is that as long as one is without liability and can live on the dividend generated by investment portfolio, one is considered as FIRE in my prespective. Simple is good.