FIRE Thrashed

JC Project Freedom Investing During COVID19

FIRE movement stands for “Financial Independence, Retire Early”. The FIRE movement was born during the stock market bull run when professionals in their 30s and 40s will save up million-dollar nest eggs and quit from their jobs during their prime to live off their investments.

With the global stock markets taking its steepest drop since March due to the COVID-19 virus, many are thrashing the FIRE movement. They are predicting the decline or end of the FIRE lifestyle.

I used to think that working from home is awesome and cool. Imagine waking up in your pajamas, you can choose not to brush your teeth and start work immediately without even washing your face. However, the line between work and family becomes blurred when you work from home. I am working from 8 am to 10 pm on a daily basis. This is more intensive than working in an office. Nonetheless, I love the part without commuting to work. I love the part where your wife can work in the same house as you. I love the part where your children are playing in the house. This is similar to my ideal FIRE lifestyle. This COVID-19 virus is giving almost everyone an opportunity to work from home. Maybe this will start a new working trend in the near future.

If working from home is my ideal life, why then do I still need to pursue FIRE? I just need to have a great job, a great boss and great colleagues. Then I can continue to work as long as possible. My only fear is that I may not be able to work even I want to.

Every employment opportunity to me is a short stint or contract basis especially in times like this. Businesses are closing down and employees are massively been retrenched. If the COVID-19 virus persists for a long time, the world will face the mother of all recessions. The age of stagnation will fall upon us. Future working opportunities may become lesser than now.

I aspired to achieve FIRE. It is the journey that is more important than achieving it. The journey itself advocates the practice of money management and financial discipline. It takes a lot of discipline to save more than 50% of your income, reduce your expenses and invest the rest. Once you master this habit, be it you achieve FIRE or not, you will be able to survive in every challenging time. It is those who highly leverage such as husband and wife each buys a condominium will find themselves in difficulty when either one of them lose his or her job. The worst-case scenario will be for both to lose their jobs and they have more than a million dollars of debt on hand.

To those who trashed FIRE movement, my questions to you:
– If you stop your employment or business at this very minute, how long can you survive based on your saving (at this those who pursue FIRE movement, at the minimum can last on more than 6 months of savings )
– If you have the freedom to pursue what you like to do without worrying about money, will you like to have that option? (those how pursue FIRE have more room for failure to try to change their career, take on part-time work, start a new business or pursue part-time business during such a difficult time)

Even if you do are not pursuing the FIRE movement, I will urge you to be prudent now. It is imperative to reduce your expenses to the minimum now. Stay healthy and safe.

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