So are you a lean one? No? A fat one? I’m not talking about your body weight, I’m talking about leanFIRE vs fatFIRE. Two very different approaches on the FIRE (Financial Independence/Retirement Early) movement, but both aiming at the same goal. In this case, if you’re fat, it’s a good thing!
What is leanFIRE?
First, let’s start with being lean. This is me… skinny old me trying to just make it to financial freedom. LeanFIRE is the idea of cutting your expenses down to the bare essentials (for the most part) and achieving financial independence earlier. It doesn’t even need to be that harsh as Mr. Money Mustache can attest to. LeanFIRE would probably constitute retiring on less than $40k a year although I don’t think there’s a hard and fast rule. You could argue even less assuming you have your home paid off and all other debts. Personally, I think if you’re truly following leanFIRE you’re looking to spend $30k or less in expenses per year.
I’m currently just trying to pay my expenses off myself with investments. Once I hit that I will declare my first step to freedom. I don’t have a house paid off (although it’s about half-way there). My expenses are loosely in the $25k per year area, although this is a loose number. This would mean in order for me to reach FI (financial independence) I will need to accumulate ~$600k to factor in the 4% rule for retirement.
What is fatFIRE?
Well if you eat more PI, you’ll get there. By PI, I mean passive income. If you can have more money invested or working for you then you’ll get a bigger piece of the PI. Although again, I don’t think there is any actual number defined, $80k-$100k begins your fatFIRE goals. That’ll get you from those .99 cent hot dogs to vienna beef! In order to achieve those goals you’d be looking more at the $2 million or more range. That’s a lot of moolah!
In all seriousness, it’s the idea of not living slim and having plenty to go around and splurge without worrying about cutting down. You’re likely to continue to grow your stack over time too since it’s likely you’ll be under the spending limits of your salary. Let that compound interest go!
LeanFIRE vs fatFIRE? You could just be onFIRE…
Nobody says you have to fit in either of these categories. Most people probably figure in a normal amount based on their average income. Or they’ve never thought about it until now! For myself, I choose to live lean for now so I can hit FIRE earlier than later. From the dimly lit flame I can hope for a roaring fire over time! I can only hope to be a fatFIRE some day!