Are We Being Misleading about FIRE?

Q&A with a Reader


Saw the article on MSN about both of you– Congrats on your success. ….. I am sure you are getting tons of emails….

What the article doesn’t mention is how much money you started off with?  I have seen some articles that say $500,000………We are obviously not all stock brokers and successful restaurant owners….

I think it is a bit misleading excluding that information.

My guess is you had well into 6 figures, if not more, to take off and do this…..I am not trying to be confrontational and I know that info is private, but people need the “whole story” or else its of little value….. at least to me….

I think it would take over a million in today’s dollars to do what you are doing…. Not a reality for the majority of the population….

Thanks for any feedback….


Hi Scott,

Thanks for taking the time to write. We appreciate it.

Catey Hill from MarketWatch didn’t ask us what amount of money we had when we retired in 1991 – but there are other stories that state we had $500k.  Yes, in today’s dollars that would probably be a million or so.

That being said, the FIRE lifestyle or the FIRE choice isn’t for the majority of the population.

It would probably be safe to say that most people would rather live a conventional life, fitting in with their peers, have a job, a pension, own a home, have a pet, maybe have kids, live in the same neighborhood for a decade or more…

But that doesn’t mean Early Retirement can’t be done on less, or with an income less than $100k a year to save up for Financial Independence.

The internet is full of FIRE-ees who have done this (Jillian Johnsrud with her family of 5 kids, Mr. Money Mustache, and countless others). Take a look online for personal financial bloggers or on Twitter for the same. I think you would be surprised.

Everyone is different. We all make choices and have different priorities. Life has never been a one-size-fits-all.

You might be interested in our article How to Create a Pension for the Average Joe. And take a look at our Retirement Issues Page for more articles on this topic.

And just to mention, in our world travels, we have met many people living on their Social Security income. Countries such as Mexico, Guatemala, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Ecuador, and Panama offer a good quality of life for less money.

It just depends on what you might want to do.

The hardest thing isn’t living the FIRE lifestyle, I think it’s the decision to live the FIRE lifestyle. It will definitely separate you from your peers, and some people don’t like that.

Everything in life has a trade-off. You just have to ask yourself if you want to make that negotiation with yourself. Then commit to it.

Wishing you the best.

Feel free to write any time.

Akaisha and Billy

About Retire Early Lifestyle

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli retired three decades ago at the age of 38 and began traveling the world. As recognized retirement experts and internationally published authors on topics of finance and world travel, they have been interviewed about retirement issues by The Wall Street Journal, Kiplinger's Personal Finance Magazine, The Motley Fool Rule Your Retirement newsletter, nationally syndicated radio talk shows and countless newspapers and TV shows nationally and worldwide. They wrote the popular books The Adventurer's Guide to Early Retirement (Your Simple Path to FIRE) and Your Retirement Dream IS Possible.
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