Personal Finance

The Surprising Link Between Budgeting and Sobriety

A Reddit user in r/FIRE shared the unexpected side effects of personal finance self-reflection.

Nick Wolny
Financialicious
Published in
3 min readJun 9, 2024

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Source: Canva

Reddit is the epicenter of Financial Independence, Retire Early (FIRE) culture. FIRE is a personal finance methodology in which participants save aggressively to reach various money milestones and reshape their lifestyle. FIRE enthusiasts have collectively paid down millions of dollars in personal debt, bought back their time and changed the direction of their destiny.

But FIRE — or just “FI,” if you cut out the retiring part — can also be really elitist. A recent survey of the r/financialindependence subreddit found that, out of 1,850 respondents, the median annual income was $205,000 — over quadruple the median American income in 2023. It’s easy to save tens of thousands of dollars a year when you have that kind of money flowing in. Without excess income, it can be difficult to even get started with FIRE.

“Out of 1,850 respondents, the median annual income was $205,000 — over quadruple the median American income in 2023.”

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Nick Wolny
Financialicious

🏳️‍🌈 Gay dude. Mg. editor, CNET; finance columnist, Out magazine. Sign up for Financialicious, a newsletter some call “the gay Morning Brew,” @ nickwolny.com.