Step back, this blog is about to be blown up!
Okay, not just yet but you should be a safe distance when it does. If you've liked what I've written here so far, I regret to inform you that this will be my last post. More on that halfway down.
Like my Vortex of FIRE post, I'm revisiting a past article and rewriting it from scratch to remove my previous podcaster bias. Since it's my last article, I'm intrigued to see what I come up with.
The 3rd and final ending to the Requirements of FIRE:
Before we get onto the main entrée that is this blog keeling over and dying, let's first examine one last bit of misconception in the FIRE movement. This little paragraph or two was inspired by friend of the now-deceased blog. Her name is Maria over at Handful of Thoughts, and she owns 3 cars and wants you to know that while it might not be very "FI"of her, she essentially says you can fuck right off. I enjoyed the aggression in the article and wanted to add a point that she just didn't outright say (and I'm paraphrasing here):
"It shouldn't matter what I spend my money on; it should only matter that I'm saving towards FIRE."
Now whether or not Maria is achieving a 50% SR (savings rate) as per the Requirements of FIRE eligibility rules, it stands to me that she's making a good point and something I've often thought about but forgot to put into words until just now.
If somebody is struggling to maintain a 80% SR and goes down to a 30%, the damage could be lethal if the 80% lasted for a few months or the damage could be minimal if the 30% is the new max after years and years of ultra-high saving. What matters to me most is people take a 17-year path or quicker (aka a 50% SR) to FIRE because the longer you delay the less likely you'll need all that money in retirement anyways because you'll be working longer and will have higher social security as a result. To put another way, you saved a lot of money over a long period of time without a proper purpose.
In fact, we are all far too conservative about the amount of money we need (and I'm only speaking about FIREwalkers here). Average Canadians are screwed when it comes to retirement - they save too little and expect to much, they will refuse to lower their spending until push comes to shove. But us FIREwalkers are a disciplined bunch, saving 50% year over year is no small feat to accomplish. This unlocks flexibility, the ability to calculate risks, entrepreneurship, etc. just to name a few.
Yet you'll get the cry babies who want a more "balanced" path to FI (and not RE) and save 25% or some other weak ass number. That recipe will invoke a life-long struggle to save "just enough" while worrying about money and never having enough syndrome. I would argue these people are just collectors of money (badly, too) and are using FI as a terminology base for financial anxiety. Rather than obsessing about the differences between XEQT and VEQT or vilifying their own finances because they aren't optimizing transportation the way others do, why don't they just establish a savings rate and be done with it?
For example, if Maria has a 12% SR, her 3 cars are fucking stupid and she should drastically re-examine her path to FIRE. 12% is a joke - but then again if that's what she's capable of, by all means, do it up. But don't cry to me about FIRE being unattainable. But if her SR is 53%, her 3 cars are no problem - literally not at all. Sure, it's sub-optimal and she could crank out a better SR without them but she's already hitting my requirement and is going to retire early or whatever you wish to call it in a reasonable amount of time. It's reasonable because if you're not in the business of unlocking the ability to tell your place of employment to fuck off, you have no business in achieving FIRE and have probably accomplished little or nothing of actual importance.
Remember, FIRE is a life-hack designed to remove the 40-50 year grind of getting up and going to work each day - if you don't want that, just put 10-15% in a robo-advisor and call it a fucking day. Oh, and don't take out any other loans besides a reasonably priced mortgage.
So the Blog is Dead, huh?
I'm pretty confident about this decision and if you're eagerly wondering why, it's easiest if I put it into bullet points as usual. In no particular order, here's the reasons to quit:
- People have a hard time understanding my FIRE (hence the title)
- As a result I waste a lot of mental energy trying to word my message in a certain way
- I will also get very defensive over my work because the cry babies who whine about a 50% SR are also the same people I'm trying to write for
- This is a terrible way to write and I don't have the heart to keep battling these diaper fillers
- The blog is not what I wanted it to be
- This is probably the highest reason I'm quitting. Like my above point, I began writing for the nay-sayers (always a bad bet) and in the process I'm transforming my writing into one that is defensive rather than optimistic. I'm a pretty good critic if I do say so myself but that's not what people are looking for from Canadian FIRE (and that's not what I wanted to sell anyways)
- I think my best work was my product reviews but as a recent shit-head on Facebook pointed out, it comes off as shallow if that's all I'm known for. Listening to people on Facebook is another mistake btw, 2/10 wouldn't recommend
- While I think I deliver a lot of personality through my writing (for better or for worse) I cannot for some reason translate my story onto my blog. Nor can I just create a post with all my numbers like I want to. I'm not worried about the numbers themselves, like being hacked or something, I'm worried that people won't see the modesty and transparency I'm aiming for
- How many FIRE bloggers have you heard of being scrutinized over their numbers? Being told they're just a product of white privilege? OR being told they are just lucky? Or all the other excuses people come up with, whether legitimate or not they exist and I don't need that in my life
- I have a skeleton in my closet
- Every FIRE blogger will tell you it's not about picking the magic stock or inventing the next Snapchat. I would include myself among these bloggers
- However, as I begin to detail my story more and more it would eventually come out that my $12k LIRA turned into a $300k LIRA with the buying and holding of one stock: TSX:WEED (or Tweed as it was known then). The short story is basically over the course of a few years Tweed went from medical marijuana shop to being the front dog (with ties to the Liberal Party) when Trudeau announced his intention to legalize marijuana use. Along the wave of speculation, Constellation Brands (known for many beers including Corona) bought a massive stack in Tweed (aka Canopy Growth Corp). So, I got lucky indeed
- This will of course immediately erode my financial wisdom and invalidate my path to FIRE in the eyes of the readers. If you're naive enough to think otherwise, keep in mind their are still new articles being published every year about how Mr Money Mustache and Millennial Revolution need their blogs to sustain their lifestyle even both parties have stated explicitly they do not.
- So naturally my advice will go out the window because the only reason I will FIRE by 32 years old is because I got lucky. That's one way of looking at it. Don't worry about all the hard work I've ever done, the chances I took and the substantial amount of planning my wife and I did to design our lives the way we choose, nah, it was the $300k LIRA that I can't unlock until I'm 50 years old that did it
- My blog has no future for other reasons, too
- While I don't regret my decision to leave Explore FI Canada podcast and would make the same decision again, there is something lonely about going from a team effort to a solo website
- It is both freeing and limiting. Freeing because they creative direction remains unhindered, but limiting because the work is now slowed exponentially
- The answer of course is to ask others to join and build a Canadian FIRE team
- That's not at all what I want because I simply don't have the time or energy to lead a team, which brings me to my last point:
- I don't want to do this anymore
- That sounds a lot more whiny than I wanted it too but its the most correct thing to say
- At the end of the day, I enjoyed podcasting much more and personally I greatly prefer podcasts over blogs. I ignore 99% of the blogs associated with podcasts because they're typically just ads with transcripts or useless paragraphs of semi-related content
- Blogging is a fun medium if you plan on updating friends and families of what you're up to but it's a business opportunity too if you make it one
- I feel as though I can't help but see the opportunity out there. Canadians suck with money and Canadians falling for the bunnies and rainbow approach of ChooseFI will have a rude awakening in the years to come when they realize big decisions have to be made and savings rate DO in fact matter
- Because the opportunity I see has transformed into a job that I gladly work at has squeezed time from my life when time is the ultimate thing I'm trying to unlock with FIRE
- So I rationalized this by saying I would eventually trade hours I'm working at my trucking company and devote those to the blog but that doesn't make any sense. I'm not enjoying the blog anymore (as described above) because its now just more work
- The FIRE movement sucks now
- When I first "joined" the movement, it was very much influenced by Early Retirement Extreme, the Millionaire Next Door, Your Money or Your Life, Mr Money Mustache and others with a very blunt message, take it or leave it. Each example above have different stories with different scenarios but they all boil down to the same thing. What's your SR?
- Like my mini post above about Maria, nothing else really matters in the grand scheme of things. Sure, interest rates and pandemics alter the mood but SR should never differ greatly. If it does, it can always be repaired, again, not an issue
- But as it seems to happen the never ending onslaught of bullshit ChooseFI episodes (who are arguably the most influential voice in the community, besides MMM) deteriorate the message over and over for their own marketing purposes. And they have legions of follows who actually believe their message, confusing FIRE with the Wealthy Barber. That's ChooseFI's EXACT design, you can't wonder why I hate them so?
- It's time to move on
- I've said what I've created the blog to say: there are Requirements to FIRE and if you don't believe me we can chat again in 20 years and we'll see whats up?
- I've always known that eating more plants, exercising enough and minimalism will improve my physical and mental health greatly. I had always simply added these individual components to the FIRE movement in my own head but that's definitely not common
- I didn't make those Requirements of FIRE because really, most people who come here want to math it up and whatnot, but really they should be upon further reflection
- A whole-foods plant-based diet (or something close to it) is likely the diet to keep you going at 80, 90, 100 years old whereas others around you will begin to drop from the Western diseases due to the Western diet well before they are 80. Fuck. That. For all you money nerds reading this, what's the point of massing all this wealth for FIRE if you're likely to need an ambulance in the near future?
- Calisthenics is the future of my gym routine. One of the main reasons is I won't need a gym at all! Not a traditional one anyways - using your own body weight and gravity is a fantastic way to put yourself into a functionally able-bodied person. If you can't lift your own weight (such as a push up or chin up) then modify and keep trying. I use a treadmill already and have a "power tower" coming in the mail. All body-weight and another compliment to my plant-based diet.
- Minimalism goes hand in hand with intentional spending. Buy only things you'll actually use and value. Personify your belongings and appreciate the small things in your life. When there is too much to look at, consider and decide upon, you'll miss the important things in all that chaos.
- Each of these matter greatly to anybody willing to save up money and live the rest of their life working for themselves and nobody else. If that's paid work or volunteer or simply fucking around, by all means, you do you
- By creating this blog and sharing what I have on the blog or in person because of the network I have created, I am confident that participating in the FIRE movement is truly on autopilot for me from now on. There's nothing else to gain from except seizing a business opportunity that I no longer think is fit for me
It's been fun (except when it hasn't)
All the best, hope I helped at least a few of you,
You can email me here: firstname.lastname@example.org
** The blog will eventually self-terminate when I won't renew the domain name. Sometime in 2021 **