Alternate paths to F.I.R.E.

F.I.R.E. stands for Financial Independence, Retire Early. This movement has gained popularity in recent years.

It consists of saving massive amounts of money in a relatively short amount of time, and then “retire”, usually when people are in their 30’s or 40’s. The “retiring” part, however, needs to be taken with a grain of salt.

A lot of “f.i.r.e.d.” people are actually not retired. They may no longer work a traditional job, but they’re still very much earning income, usually in the form of book deals, derived products, coaching and speaking fees.

Instead of drawings from their savings, they’re living off the above-mentioned income. And that’s what I have a bit of beef with, personally.

That being said, these peeps are definitely financially independent.

I previously wrote about how FIRE will remain a pipe dream for most people. I still stand by that statement.

However, there are alternate paths to traditional FIRE.

Mini retirements

Imagine working 6 months of the year and doing what you want the remaining time. This is actually more doable than you think.

I used to work seasonal jobs in the French Alps -where I am from-. My then employer provided housing, all utilities included. I was able to save a lot of money from these jobs. I would always travel somewhere between seasons.

Last year, I took an unpaid leave of absence from work and went to SE Asia for 4 months.

These definitely felt like mini-retirements.

Location independence

With Covid-19, working remotely has become the norm. Nothing states you have to stay in your city or even country. Granted, there are fewer countries you can travel to those days.

Kayak has an updated map of the countries you can travel to here. Some have no restrictions; others will accept travelers if they quarantine.

Slightly early retirement

What if instead of retiring in your 20’s, 30’s or 40’s, you retire in your 50’s?

You’ll still beat the standard age of 65. Freedom 55 still exists!

Final word

There is no shame in having a job! In order to become F.I.R.E., you need to save money. In order to do so, you need to earn said money first.

It’s OK to like your job and career too. F.I.R.E. is not for everyone…

A lot of times, people say they want to become financially independent and retire, but most of the times, all they need is a sabbatical, a change of scenery or just a new job.


  1. Discovering FIRE principles helped to give me a guide for catching up retirement savings after a late start. Although I might not be able to retire in my 30s or 40s, I will be retiring before 65. Starting late could be considered an alternate path to FIRE. With focus, intention, and creativity, it can be done.


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