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Introduction to the F.I.R.E. Community

life hacking Oct 29, 2021

The people I want to introduce you to belong to a community online called the F.I.R.E community. F.I.R.E. is an acronym for Financial Independence Retire Early.

These are some of the most savvy investors & life hackers (aka optimizers) I've found online.

This community is pursuing Financial Independence which would allow them to Retire Early if they wanted. And by retire, they usually don’t mean sitting by the beach for the rest of their lives. They mean no longer having to show up to a 9-5 job they don't like. They can do this because their passive investment income now meets or exceeds the income they were earning from their jobs. This frees them up to be able to spend their time doing whatever they'd like.

In the same way, as tentmaking pastors, missionaries or Christian leaders, we're trying to generate income to free us up to do what we've been called to do — ministry!

A common story in the F.I.R.E community will sound like this: John graduates college with a marketable degree at 22, gets a good-paying job using that degree, continues living simply so he can invest 60-70% of his income into low-cost index funds, and then he retires (aka quits his job) in 10 years because his passive investment income now equals or exceeds his monthly expenses. He spends his free time now doing work he loves & has a passion for rather than sitting at a desk from 9-5.

Sounds too good to be true, right? Well, there are countless stories like this.

What is inspiring when you read their stories is:

  • Their contentment with a low-cost of living
  • Their thriftiness in finding ways to save money
  • Their wisdom in investing a large percentage of their income in tax-advantaged ways
  • Their passion to do work that matters to them (even if it doesn't pay well or at all)

Many of these people wouldn't even call themselves Christians. Yet, in some ways, they spend/save/invest money in more biblically wise ways than many Christians I know.

A number of years ago, I was drawn to this community because of my desire to be "financially independent" so that all of my salary could be given back to our church. I could essentially "retire" from needing to be paid & would be able to work in ministry for free.

Here are some people to meet & resources to check out. Disclaimer: I certainly don't agree with everything this community does/says, but have found many helpful insights from following them.

Mr. Money Mustache - https://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/01/13/the-shockingly-simple-math-behind-early-retirement/

  • This blog post has been shared tens of thousands of times. It's opened so many people's eyes to how simple the path to financial freedom can be. Notice I said simple, not easy.
  • In case you're wondering why the funny name, some people in this community go by pseudonyms so as not to draw too much attention to themselves personally.

J.L. Collins Stock Series - https://jlcollinsnh.com/stock-series/

  • This series of blog posts helps explain the stock market in layman's terms & shares the wisdom of investing in low-cost index funds.

Scott Rieckens - The Playing with F.I.R.E. Documentary - https://www.playingwithfire.co/the-documentary

  • Scott is a video producer and put together a documentary of his family's journey toward financial independence. You can rent this documentary on Apple TV & from a number of other sources as well.
  • Scott interviews quite a few of the prominent bloggers in the FIRE community.

Jonathan Mendonsa & Brad Barrett - The ChooseFI Podcast - https://www.choosefi.com/listen/

  • These guys run a very popular podcast in the FIRE community. They call it FI because not everyone chooses to do the RE (retire early) when they become FI (financially independent).
  • These are the guys that introduced me to Travel Hacking & their podcast is filled with interesting financial hacks.

There are so many others I could introduce you to, but these will get you started.

As a pastor, missionary or Christian leader looking to supplement or replace your income, the F.I.R.E. community could be a very valuable resource to you on your journey!

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