At the tender age of twenty-five I read a feature article in a personal finance magazine (those were big back then) which projected the wealth needed for several individuals and couples to retire at age 65. I was shocked! The figures were astounding, ranging from over a million to nearly ten million dollars. I had maybe $200 in a checking account. The thought that I needed to amass several million dollars stunned me. How could anyone do that? How could anyone be prepared to rely solely on social security and their life savings?
Flash forward thirty years and as I look back I realize that article was the catalyst that caused me to think longer term about my future. Along the way my wife and I have made mistakes with money; its pretty hard not to. But we’ve also had some successes. My number one success was marrying my college sweetheart, Mrs. P2F! Having her by my side every step of the way has been the best thing that could ever happen to me.
Over the years, together, we have tried to prioritize our spending based on meeting not only our current needs but also trying to project into the future what we would need and want. For instance, when our kids were young, we recognized helping them with college expenses would be important to us and began to save early on to help with those costs. That paid off as it allowed them to go to the schools they chose without the additional worry of how to pay for it.
The goal of early retirement has been a priority for a long time, probably because that article got me thinking along those lines. We set aside money in IRAs, then into a 401(k) and a 403(b) as best we could early on. As our income increased we tried to temper lifestyle creep and put some of the additional pay into long term savings. It’s been a slow process but now as we inch closer to our FIRE numbers we know that the rewards will be well worth the wait. Soon the daily work routine will be behind us as we enter a new and exciting phase of our lives together.
The goal of this site is to help you prepare for your FIRE – however you define it, sooner than you thought possible. There are so many ways of creating wealth for FIRE. I’ll try to share ways that have worked to prepare us, but also ways that you may find helpful as you prepare for your FIRE. In any case, you are welcome to read and let us know your thoughts on your own journey.
BTW …I kept that magazine article to remind me why I was signing up for my 401(k) plan. I still have it today!