The very reason why this blog, this vent-out space came into being is a “fire in a belly” or a man possessed. Confused? Read on…
I think I have had a reasonable financial upbringing. My father rose from the bottom-of-the-rung to the very top (i.e. poor to an HNI) and my parents knowingly/unknowingly fed a lot of hunger for money in me as well. As they were poor once, they valued money and ingrained the Importance of Having lesson in me.
Except that, I turned out to be the joker of the pack.
Always drawn towards existential questions, meaning of life, social & even economic injustice etc; I think I ended up being that left-brain-dominated person who’d be often discontented in this societal war-zone crazy for money. Analysing myself, I realised I’d rather enjoy the Luxury of Being and like to spend my majority years cherishing fine arts, writing stories, day dreaming, star gazing or simply doing nothing (you can call me lazy – but hey, someone once said –
जो कुछ नहीं करते, वो कामल करते हैं ... those who dont do anything, do wonders
Net-result of these two diabolical viewpoints living inside me, I made a grand plan for myself. And thats where I learnt of this western concept of FIRE – Financially Independent Retire Early. The name is quite self explanatory, yet I shall spell it out for the uninitiated – FIRE is a conscious decision to retire/ quit the rat-race to make money 10-15-20-even more years ahead of your conventional retirement, and that living off that income. Take a moment to re-read and digest it.
Why do we work? To feed our ever-growing tummies, to have a roof on top, to wear shiny new clothes every month and to dine out every week, to watch a movie every two weeks and to take a vacation every six months. I guess that pretty much sums it up, right?
WRONG SIR. This is what our evolution has got us to…
Below is an excerpt I wrote for one of my upcoming books, in a part of The Roadtrippers Series –
Long ago, man was born free. He simply lived by instincts.
Hunted when required.
Slept when he felt tired.
Found companions for his needs.
Had kids. Prepared them for survival.
Importantly, he had skills to survive and wasn’t “slave to anything” from day 1…
There was no debt, no money, no taxes, no schools, no future planning, no tall buildings, no pollution, no fancy transport, no insurance, no gadgets, no show off, no peer pressure, no competition, no comparison – “only freedom”
Remember VED from Tamasha? I bet he hadn’t heard of FIRE or else he wouldn’t have lost his girl, fought his parents and almost screwed-up his life. He would have simply gotten in-front of his laptop, done some numbers, lived a bit-of-a disciplined life and bingo – kept his FIRE and his sanctity intact.
Anyway as the above excerpt from my book and the movie Tamasha try to indicate – a man (or woman) is much more than the odd-bucks they work for month-on-month basis. But a man has to earn his daal-roti too. FIRE allows you to do both.
- Step 1 – Identify your recurring & non-recurring expenses. Right from your monthly rent, maid salary etc to your annual travel expense; account for it all. If your “annual number” is say 10-lacs, add an extra 10% for contingencies. The new number is x.
- Step 2 – Join a gym and preferably, consult a dietician too. Stick to them both.
- Step 3 – Multiply x by 25. so in the above case, the 11lac*25 = 2.75cr. Again add 10% for contingencies. The net result is 3cr or y.
- Step 4 – Put your current savings together. (do not count your primary residence as your ‘saving’). Say you have 60-lacs saved so far, you’re 80% away from your FIRE.
- Step 5– Save aggressively. Invest intelligently. Spend reclusively. Break down this journey to y in small parts, and do not try to match-up with your peers.
- Step 6 – Say you reach you y in 12 years. Good for you. Work another 6-months maybe. I am a fan of worst-case-scenarios after all. Keep repeating step 2 till it becomes your habit to do so.
- Step 7 – Invest your y fund in a mix of fixed-income & growth investment options. Keep a withdrawal rate of 4% per year. Hang up your booths and watch tamasha to discover what shall come next 🙂
Even though I have tried to put it too simply, it really isn’t. Besides the obvious hardships of savings, resisting the temptation to spend, harsh realities of monthly budgets etc; there are some hidden factors that creep in;
- You will feel lack of motivation mid-way as it is a marathon and not a 100m sprint
- You risk burnout
- You maybe labelled a miser
- your frustrations and insecurities may take-over
But don’t let the FIRE down…. Your self-worth will quadruple once you discover that this life is enough for everything that you can think of ! You just need to dream it better…