The FIRE movement – tactics versus principles

In case you missed it, there’s been a lot of recent press about the “Financially Independent, Retire Early” or FIRE movement. The news is a mixed bag with many strong criticisms about the idea. Amidst all this varying sentiment is a lesson for all of us on taking the time to separate tactics from principles as we communicate ideas.

While the “retire early” part of the name is provocative (and seems to be drawing most ire), the central principle behind the FIRE movement is to become financially independent by being conscious about our financial well being.

Financial independence doesn’t mean not working – it just means being able to build a career and life without worrying about money. This is done with a strategy based on 3 simple tenets – i) Save more by living simply and cutting costs, ii) Invest aggressively in low cost index funds, and iii) Increase your income.

Would anybody argue against these principles? I’d posit that we should all be part of this movement.

The deeper learning here is that it is human nature to lose sight of the principles as we get caught up in the details. So, as we work to communicate our ideas every day, it is on us to obsess about sharing principles versus tactics.