Right alongside the many other high-profile movements in America is one that is getting increasing attention.
That's FIRE: Financial Independence, Retire Early. Here's the latest about it from MarketWatch.
But, from the get-to, "FIRE" had been a mislabel. Many who embraced financial independence didn't really retire early. What many did has been to simply create the option through which they can exit a way of working for income that they found too stressful, abusive, not worth the income, and/or dangerous to their health.
Some referred to that transition as "leaving the rat race."
Usually they didn't stop working for income. Instead the way the income came to them was more under their control. The vice president of external communications at a financial institution takes the exit ramp to produce a newsletter about his hobby.
A lawyer in Connecticut left a small real estate practice in Manhattan to become more a businessperson. She now oversees a the operations of a small business near her home. No commute. Less agita.
I reduced my fixed expenses enough to be highly selective about what assignments in communications and coaching that I will accept - and from whom. That FIRE initiative began with a moment of clarity as I wrote a rent check in the New York Metro area. No, I didn't have to be turning over such a large percentage of my revenue to keep a roof over my head.
The decision was difficult. "Everyone" told me that it was career suicide to leave behind Manhattan branding. They were wrong. "They" also predicted that a New Yorker like myself would never fit in anywhere else. They were also wrong, but I had to tone down the extreme aggressiveness.
Evangelists for FIRE, such as myself, know that it isn't necessary to die for a paycheck or to spend most of one's day chasing income. What it requires, though, is the willingness to be open to changing one's mindset about how success looks, walks, talks, and spends.
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