Suze Orman has come out and declared that she hates the F.I.R.E. movement. The acronym stands for “financial independence, retire early,” and the “early” there refers to an age somewhere between thirty and forty-five years. What I refer to as “super” early retirement.
When my husband and I declared financial independence in our early forties, we had no idea we were a part of a movement. When I wrote my book Hatching The Nest Egg, I didn’t realize I was promoting the movement.
But we are, and I was. I do.
So I take issue with Suze Orman’s strong feelings against it. Her implication is that people who retire before the age of sixty are either idiots – because they can’t do basic math – irresponsible, or a combination of both.
Retiring super-early has its risks and pitfalls, which I will get into at a later date. However, Hatching The Nest Egg explains how to reduce the risk of super-early retirement down to nothing. Then there is this page on the blog of the guy who came up with the F.I.R.E. acronym.
In this post, I want to address each of Orman’s implications, one at a time, and show how her extreme view is not relevant to most people who believe in “financial independence, retire early.”
People in the F.I.R.E movement are idiots
The people who have either achieved, or are working on achieving, super-early retirement have done their homework. They’ve researched the different modes of investing to discover the ones that will be both relatively safe from the movement of the stock market (NOT mutual funds!). They’ve figured out the minimum amount of money they need per year to live the desired lifestyle. They’ve used a calculator to figure out how big their nest egg needs to be in order to be able to pull out that amount every year without seeing the value go down.
If they’re really on top of things, they’ve figured out the amount they can pull out every year that will allow their investments to grow in order to account for future inflation.
They’ve also provided for a cushion for large unexpected expenses, which seems to be the biggest fear that Suze Orman has regarding the F.I.R.E. movement.
People in the F.I.R.E. movement are irresponsible
Suze Orman’s big fear about financial independence, retire early is that people will end up with large, unexpected expenses that they won’t be able to handle.
Hello?! That’s what insurance is for.
In addition, any health expert worth their salt will tell you that cancer, heart disease, most autoimmune diseases, and so on, result from lifestyle choices, not genetics. In other words, if you eat extremely healthy and keep toxins out of your system as much as you can, plus integrate daily movement into your life, your risk of developing chronic and terminal disease plummets.
Even if you do develop something like cancer, the treatment is unlikely to cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars. And the kinds of emergencies most people face – having to mend a broken bone via surgery (as I had to four years ago) or buy another car – won’t cost more than tens of thousands of dollars.
And the chances of a family experiencing these types of emergencies every single year are slim to none.
People who are aiming to retire early provide themselves a cushion for such occasional emergencies.
If worse came to worst, there is the Go Fund Me website.
Suze Orman is wrong
Orman needs to stop freaking out about those of us who believe in super-early financial independence. She needs to stop telling people what to do.
For more of my two cents on this subject, you can watch the video below.
For a roadmap on how you can retire super-early, read my book, Hatching The Nest Egg: Achieve Super-Early Retirement Without Side Gigs, Gambling, Or An Above-Average Income.