Money Mongoose

FS:FAMA not FI:RE

I’m come to dislike the term FIRE. Aside getting into unproductive debates on the meaning and morality of early ‘retirement’, there’s also a separate pointless debate on the meaning of ‘financial independence’ whether a 4% SWR is really safe, or what you are independent from if you rely on stock markets etc.

I prefer to think in terms of financial security and define that as the state in which you no longer feel anxiety or negative emotions related to the actual or potential loss of remunerated work on a temporary or permanent basis.

The second part is instead of retiring early, which comes with quite some negative perceptions and misunderstanding, I instead put FAMA: fulfilling and meaningful activity. This could be:

  • Following a vocation (e.g. becoming the teacher you wanted to be instead of grinding out years as a corporate lawyer only for the money)
  • Taking kids out of daycare and spending more time parenting
  • Dedicating time to charity work

FAMA means different things for different people. Financial security allows them to pursue FAMA without the fear of financial inadequacy.


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