Financial Independence, Retire to Entrepreneurship
Aligning your finances and career with your passions
The Financial Independence, Retire Early (FIRE) movement continues to gain traction with millions of people who are fed up with the status quo of personal finance. For those unfamiliar, FIRE refers to the point where you have enough passive investment income to cover your living expenses. At this point, you are financially independent of your job because you no longer need your paycheck to pay for your lifestyle.
Once you have achieved Financial Independence (FI) you can choose to retire. A question I have been asking myself lately is why would you want to retire in your 30’s or 40’s? I have no intention of spending the next 70 years, sitting at home watching Netflix and playing video games.
I am not perusing FIRE to avoid working, that’s not how I’m wired. In fact, I would argue that anyone who has the discipline to achieve FIRE is not wired that way either.
Then what is the point of FIRE?
Why then would I make the sacrifice to put myself in a position to retire early if I don’t intend to follow through? I do plan on retiring, but not from work, from my job. I plan on one day retiring my 9–5 in favor of entrepreneurship.
John and David from “Debt free Guys” appeared on the Bigger Pockets Money podcast recently and used a phrase that crystallized this concept for me. They suggested FIRE should be renamed “Financial Independence, Retire (to) Entrepreneurship”. It’s not that I seek to stop working, but I want to work on projects that excite me, and I want the freedom to choose when I work and where I do that work. As they put it; “I don’t want to be chained to someone else’s desk, I want to be chained to my own desk.”
Financial Independence as a springboard to entrepreneurship
Millions of people have passions and great business ideas that they never peruse. The reason? They are afraid if they fail, they will lose everything. That is a rational fear. Most businesses fail, and even if a business succeeds, many founders don’t pay themselves a salary for several years. If you have two kids and aren’t sure where you are going to find the money to pay the rent next week you have zero margin for error financially.
The sad truth is that for most people, following your dreams is dangerous and even irresponsible. Following your dreams requires you to have a strong financial safety net in place.
That’s why most entrepreneurs come from rich families. We like to romanticize entrepreneurs as the ultimate risk takers in society and in some cases that is absolutely true. However, in many situations, business founders use family money to start the business and have a solid safety net in place if the business fails.
If you don’t need a paycheck to pay your bills how big of a risk is it to start a business? Not a very big one. That is why FIRE is the perfect springboard into entrepreneurship. You may not have a trust fund or an inheritance to fall back on but achieving FIRE provides you the same level of financial security.
I would argue that starting a business post FIRE is better than starting a business using family money.
For one thing, starting a business post FIRE means starting a business later in life because it takes years to achieve FIRE even for the most frugal among us. Starting a business at a more mature age allows you to bring all the skills and knowledge you have accumulated from life and your career to your new business.
If you have achieved FIRE, you understand what a valuable resource money is which means you will be less likely to waste it. You’ve likely been handling your own investments for years. After living through a few recessions as a DIY investor, you’ll be better able to manage risk. Specifically, which risks embracing and which risks to avoid and when.
If you inherited money from your parents and start a business in your 20s you won’t have the same experiences to draw upon. The biggest advantage of starting a business in your 30s or 40s compared to your 20s is that you are more likely to know yourself which means you are more likely to know what you are passionate about and how to turn that passion into a business or self-employment.
For me, post FIRE life would mean more time spent writing and finding new ways to help people manage their money. That is what I am most passionate about, and I like to think I’m pretty good at it too. I am glad that I have the freedom to write about personal finance in my spare time now and look forward to one day dedicating all my working time to helping people with money.
I want to hear from you. What is your entrepreneurial dream? If you never had to worry about money again, how would you spend your days? Are you taking steps towards Financial Independence? Let me know in the comments below.