I’ve noticed that “FIRE” (Financial Independence, Retire Early) means very different things to different people. As far as I’m concerned, that’s a good thing. There is no “one size fits all” when it comes to finding what works. Purists will say that if you have a side hustle, or if you work part-time, or if you take “mini retirements”, returning to the workforce on and off, then you aren’t truly embracing the FIRE movement. I’ll be 56 in five years, my target FIRE date. Does that still count, since it’s barely what you could call “Early”? (The “FIR” movement doesn’t have the same ring to it). I’d say “YES”!
You have to find the variation that works for you. I had never heard of early retirement, and was not a great saver in my 20s and 30s. My husband and I live in the Seattle area, where we raised our three daughters. Our priorities were different then, and we got a late start saving for retirement. Ideally, we would have started investing much earlier, but it’s never too late! Beginning retirement 9-11 years early, and learning to live happily on 40% of our income is enough to make the “BIG GOAL” worth it. It’s unlikely that I’ll be interviewed on CNN anytime soon but that’s ok. I’m happy to share my journey with others who are working to do something similar, but CNN was never part of the equation.