If You're Working, Are You Really Retired?


I stumbled into a couple of articles by a FIRE blogger (FIRE is an acronym that stands for Financially Independent Retire Early) named Steve Adcock who retired recently in his 30's. To read his stuff (it is fun reading) he is very transparent about his various side gigs that he and his wife have to cover a decent chunk of their expenses. They live in an Airstream trailer and often camp on free (or very cheap) campsites on BLM land and maybe National Forest land too but either way you get the idea.

If I read correctly, he said their expenses run about $35,000 and their side gigs bring in about $15,000 . He says $15,000 may not sound a like a lot but in the context of a $35,000 lifestyle it is a lot. I've said essentially the same thing in a more traditional retirement sense. If you need $4000/mo, you get $2000 from Social Security that other $2000 has to come from somewhere. Assuming the 4% rule you'd need $600,000 to generate $2000 per month. A side gig paying $1000 obviously means only needing $300,000. That is a huge difference.

This article from CBS talks about how many people think they will need to work in retirement and by work the context for this article is more along the lines of side gigs.

I started the current phase of my life where I manage money from home in my 30's. At some point early on I quipped that I was retired and although I've never actually though of myself as being retired, that is how uplifting financial independence can be. Adcock is not tethered, Mr. Money Mustache is not tethered. As you read the stories of people who have managed to successfully figure some things out in order to "retire" at a very young age they all seem to accumulate enough money to become much more selective about the work they do and they are very happy for it.

There must of course be instances of FIRE failures. Where I have talked about a long runway for figuring out how to monetize a hobby, I think there needs to be a long runway to FIRE the way Mr. Money Mustache and Adcock do it

The title of this post circles back to a recent post from Adcock. He explains it just fine. For me, the focus is on the financial independence part of the FIRE equation. Controlling spending is such an obvious and easy to understand route to take. Not that it is easy to do but easy to understand.

In a lot of my posts I talk about something potentially having to give to get the desired outcome or at least a tolerable income. The extent to which something having to give will or will not be a negative depends on how you get out in front any potential short fall.