No. of Recommendations: 60

All this turmoil that has been going on plus the occasional inquiry from a newbie has had me pondering the type of person who wants to FIRE and succeeds

Well, first off you can tell the ones who have a shot at it versus those that don't. Anyone that starts off with I need a certain level of living – house, car, etc. is probably going to stay trapped in the workforce unless income greatly exceeds needs (or wants in this case). Maybe they ended up on this board because they were curious, saw a post of the day or maybe had a bad day at work. Achieving FIRE requires commitment, not the occasional token gesture.

Viable wannabees
- Have a savings plan that is usually more than the maximum allowed in 401Ks, etc. In other words, savings in after tax accounts or other non-retirement fund assets (real estate, baseball cards, etc).

- The savings plan has rules for sudden influxes of money from raises, inheritances, or the lottery, so these unexpected windfalls don't get frittered away. Some thing like 80% to savings 20% for that trip we always wanted.

- You've either invested the easy way – like Scott Burns Couch Potato portfolio or you've spent an effort to understand what you are investing in. You've done your homework and not gotten caught up in some fad (or at least not too much <g>).

- LBYM. The real biggie. You can't save if you don't live below your means. That means credit cards are always paid off, no debt for anything except a house or maybe a car. Keeping up with the Jones isn't even an interesting option. Examine spending periodically and maybe even have, gasp! a budget.

- I believe that people who live in the now (Garth-Wayne's World) as well as have a plan for retirement are more likely to succeed. It's sort of like a diet. If you make yourself miserable and eat nothing but tofu and carrots, you are going to be cranky and probably end up blowing the diet. However, if you work some fun things into your diet (high premium ice cream – right Art?), your diet will be more livable and more likely to succeed. Saving for retirement is the same way. You have to factor in fun for now or else you'll say to heck with it and blow it on some gazingus pin.

- Another opinion – I think FIRE successes are mostly independent people – they don't care what other people think. There is certainly evidence of that on this board. This is important because retiring early is a strange idea to many people, and friends and family may deride your efforts. Thick skins are valuable.

- You have thought what retiring means. You are sure you will enjoy your free time, in fact, you have a long list of activities you want to get into – some which may be things like sleep in front of the TV or write frivolous post on the REHP board.

- You've looked at various calculators, such as intercst's or dory36's to get some insight into what your tradeoffs are in terms of income streams and outgo. You've played around enough with the calculators and other information to get a feel for your probable time to retirement. You've also have probably come up with some intelligent questions to ask on the REHP board. You get information from several sources, not relying on only one.

- Finally, you have the guts to pull the cord. That isn't easy – you can go back on the board and find posts from people agonizing over this final commitment to FIRE. jtmitch and retireearlyboi are in the midst of such decisions right now. Retiring involves moving into the unknown – risk. And taking such risks can be very difficult for some people. But once you've done it – wahoo!

Enough now. Chime in as you please.

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