As the FIRE movement continues to spread I think it’s interesting to look at why. Of course, the obvious reason is that it’s a straight-up good idea, but I think there’s more to it than that.
FI gives you a clear goal to work towards alongside a set of values to live by and a group of people to do it with, which unless you’ve been a member of a church you’ve likely never had before, or you don’t currently have.
Having the goal of your FI number and the life it unlocks gives your life direction and something to aim towards that’s better than where you are. Which I think is extremely important because it doesn’t really matter what the goal is having something to aim at can give your life a lot more meaning.
That then couples with a clear enough set of values (frugality and investing) which then help you make decisions day in and day out and gives intent to your actions and turns previously passive activities in active ones. “I’m just having lunch” becomes, I’m choosing to make my own lunch because I’ll save money which I can invest to move me towards the goal.
Finally, you have a sense of belonging because you have thousands of other people with same values and goals as you do. And you can connect with them either online or at meetups switching you from being adrift to joining a boat full of people just like you.
As much as it’s popular because people want to escape the rat race I think it’s much more than that, it’s a sense of belonging and purpose that can give your life direction and meaning.
And I think that’s why post FI life can be a bit depressing for some people. If you’re laser focussed and that’s the only thing you want once you get there you’re going to be lost, because you’ve once again returned to a place of no direction. Whereas you can appreciate it as part of the journey and remember that the journey doesn’t finish once you’re bank account is full.