Millennials are turning to extreme financial trend in order to retire early

Millennials are turning to extreme financial trend in order to retire early

As a millennial myself, I can't help but think I probably wasn't born at the greatest moment in human history. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not here to bash the generations that came before me - but I do know that, when they were my age, my parents could actually afford to buy a house, and that's with two kids and a lower income.

And if you are part of the older generations, it honestly isn't the millennials fault - seriously, there's only so much smashed avocado on toast we can spend our savings on. I genuinely just think that it's the state of financial climate and there's nothing I can do to change that - so I'll just keep my head down, save a little each month, and wait for a rich relative to die.

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However, some millennials aren't willing to sit around, hope things just get better and retire at the ripe old age of 73. Instead, they are turning to a new personal financial trend known as F.I.R.E. in order to save quickly and retire as early as 30.

F.I.R.E. stands for "Financial Independence Retire Early", and some millennials are reportedly using this new trend to retire long before they would if they were to opt for the usual method of paying into a pension. The method sees users try to invest as much as 75% of their annual income, all while cutting down on day-to-day expenses (avo on toast, anyone?).

Per the Guardian, the principles of F.I.R.E are as follows:

  • Users aim for a target pot of money worth 25 times their annual spending – not salary.
  • Therefore, if you can survive on $10,000, you need to save $250,000. If you need $40,ooo per year, you need a save a cool million.
  • The more you save, the faster you will reach your goal. If you set aside 10% of your income, it would take 51 years to build savings worth 25 times your income, according to personal finance blogger Pete Adeney.
  • Increase that to 15%, and you could retire eight years sooner.
  • If you can save 50% of your income, you can hit that 25x target in just 17 years.
  • At 75%, you could retire in a mere seven years' time.

Throughout the entire process is something called the "4% Rule", detailed in a 1998 paper by three professors at Trinity University, Texas. The "4% Rule" outlines that if you are able to keep your pot of money invested in stocks and shares, then you will be able to live off the "safe withdrawal rate" of 4% a year - meaning your money will never run out (not taking into account recessions and crashes).

Now, as the BBC states:

"The 'retire early' part of this movement can be something of a misnomer. Many FIRE devotees don’t plan to spend 50 years playing bridge or taking leisure cruises. Instead, the focus is on financial independence: the aim is to save enough of a nest-egg, and live simply enough, so that the ensuing decades can be spent doing something other than chasing payrises and promotions". 

One man who achieved his 'financial independence' before the age of 30 is Alan Donegan. Speaking to The Guardian, Donegan revealed: "Most people find that as they earn more, they spend more. We didn’t do that. Our motto is 'Buy your freedom first'."

Now a homeowner, Alan and his wife have built up an investment portfolio worth £1 million after saving from his income as a consultant on start-ups and from the establishment of a business training school. Through F.I.R.E, he now claims to be able to chase his dream of becoming a screenwriter without having to rely on going to work to support his family.

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Another advocate of the F.I.R.E movement is 26-year-old Alvar Damen, who the Guardian reports is saving £1,500 ($1,940) a month towards his early retirement. "My aim is to earn as much as possible, spend the minimum and save the maximum. That way I can be financially free sooner rather than later," he revealed.

I've barely scratched the surface on the F.I.R.E trend, and after coverage in the Washington Post, Forbes, and more, there's plenty out there for you to read up on if you think it's for you. So, if you think you could join the movement, check out some other sites - I just don't think I'm willing to give up my bottomless brunches and Uber Eats.