If you’ve been keeping up with the latest finance trends over the past 12 months, you may be familiar with the FIRE movement and the basics of what FIRE means. (If not, sink your teeth into our previous post; 10 life hacks from the FIRE movement).
The Financial Independence/Retire Early movement has captured the attention of people from all ages and walks of life, with bloggers paving the way for aspiring retirees to get a taste of what life is like on the other side of the nine-to-five.
FIRE bloggers often provide helpful life hacks, saving tips and ideas to generate additional sources of income. Many also provide transparent breakdowns of their spending each month, with categories and savings rates all spelt out in table format. This can be helpful to see what numbers are possible, but must also be taken with a certain level of skepticism as a savings rate of 65-75% might not be feasible for everyone.
Here are four of our top FIRE blogs you should be following in 2019.
1. Mister Money Moustache (MMM)
Probably one of the best known FIRE bloggers is Canadian-born Mister Money Mustache (Peter Adeney). He launched the MMM blog back in 2011. A crucial aim of creating the blog was to demonstrate how upper-middle class income earners can do a lot better by spending a lot less.
MMM successfully retired in 2005 from his job as a software engineer aged 30. Of course, not everyone has the opportunity to earn the salaries MMM and his partner would have been commanding during their careers (around US$67,000 each on average each year), but his takeaway is to live more frugally during your prime working years in order to maximise potential savings.[HWLE1] [JS2]
This goal of maximising any potential savings is shared by many FIRE bloggers. Most FIRE blogs will state what their target savings % is, with many aspiring for at least 65% of their net income.
One of MMM’s more widely-read posts [HWLE3] [JS4] titled Getting Rich: from Zero to Hero in One Blog Post focuses on being happy, cutting your costs, what to do with your savings, and how long your money can last in retirement.
We think that Mister Money Moustache is a great read for anyone looking at diving down some rabbit holes and following a play-by-play of a FIRE blogger targeting (and converting) on their early retirement.
2. Aussie Firebug
As the name suggests, the Aussie Firebug is a home-grown FIRE blogger.
Matt, otherwise known as Aussie Firebug, has been posting actively since 2015 (with over 70 blog posts). The more interesting parts of the blog are definitely the year in review, where he breaks down each goal and how well he tracked to achieve each. Check out the results of his 2017 goals and what his goals for 2018 were here.
The Aussie Firebug has also been posting an “Ask Firebug Fridays” series of podcast-style Q&As, as well as inviting some guests in to ask their thoughts on the FIRE movement as a whole and how to achieve Financial Independence.
3. Lifelong Shuffle
Another local FIRE blogger by the name of Pat has been posting some content that we think is genuinely great, dating back to Jan 2017. The Lifelong Shuffle appeared to hit the mainstream after penning an opinion piece for the ABC titled Why I decided to skip home ownership to retire at the ripe age of 35.
He spoke of his aspirations to live off $40,000 per year for the rest of his life and how he would rather live in slightly less expensive capital cities or towns in Australia, as well as countries throughout south-east Asia or South America to squeeze the value out of each dollar.
As with the Aussie Firebug, Pat has monthly updates to see how he is tracking with toward his ultimate savings goal. We think that the Lifelong Shuffle’s blog does this best as he posts monthly updates with a planned net worth versus actual net worth with comments around recent market movements or how he recently sold his car and boosted his balance. Check out his most recent updates.
The Lifelong Shuffle and Aussie Firebug linked up for a collab podcast in 2017 about ‘Retiring Early’, what makes them happy and how they invest.
4. Money Flamingo
Rounding out the top four FIRE blogs is Money Flamingo. Run by a couple of 30-somethings from Sydney, the Money Flamingo blog runs contrary to most others.
While posting about FIRE, Mr and Mrs Flamingo are planning on retiring from their “corporate jobs” in 2021 - but won’t have reached full ‘Financial Independence’ in the traditional sense. They will have reached what they refer to as “Flamingo FI” which they see as retiring from jobs they hate and from “working with wankers”.
The Money Flamingos’ blog posts track how close they are to their version of mini-retirement, as they progress through their “1000 days to freedom”.
We think that the light-hearted nature of the countdown captures the essence of how FIRE bloggers perceive the traditional nine-to-five working world and how they are sacrificing now in order to reward their future self with the independence to retire in whichever way they desire.
These four blogs are just a portion of what’s available to read online. If you’re a bit more of a listener, head on over to our post 5 podcasts that might help get you on the track to financial independence featuring the Aussie Firebug, My Millenial Money and more.