I admit that I got this whole FIRE thing wrong. It all started out when a bad day at work led me to Mr. Money Mustache:
My FIRE goal was to save a million dollars and leave work in about 1500 days. I achieved the goal a year ahead of plan (thanks market tailwinds!). However, I didn’t leave my job. I had never considered what happened next. I felt like the dog that actually caught the car…
The problem with my plan was that I made money my main goal. It’s not and never was. It shouldn’t be for you either.
Invert, Always Invert
One of my favorite quotes/advice/pieces of wisdom comes from Carl Jacobi:
Invert, always invert.
What the hell does that mean? Here it is:
To solve some problems, you must think backward. Considering a problem starting with the goal and working in reverse often clears the path. FIRE is one problem that works best if we think about it this way.
If we invert FIRE and think of the goal, money isn’t the end. The goal is a good, happy life. To put it another way, how would you respond to this question?:
What would you do if you had $10,000,000?
Some of us wouldn’t change a thing. We’d stay at our jobs and continue plugging away. If this is you, you’ve found something incredible, an occupation that you’d work at for free.
I’d argue that most of us wouldn’t stay at work. We’d leave and start exploring the world or painting or volunteering or building a business or spending more time with our families or getting our minds and bodies in shape. Whatever you would do, this is the real goal.
If you think about FIRE in this way, money isn’t the end, it’s just the beginning. It’s a tool that allows you to move on to something else. Nothing more than a stepping stone on our journey.
Instead of running to a big number, run towards life. And don’t wait for that big number to do it. Every moment counts. Live mindfully. Find purpose, meaning, and beauty in every day. Make it count.
Join the 10s who have signed up already!
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*Only if your life is pretty bad to begin with.