Do you scroll endlessly through FIRE Subreddits and can’t wait to quit your job? If so, LeanFIRE might be for you.
Achieving financial independence fast and retiring early is a dream for so many of us. But for a lot of us, this dream seems too good to be true, and by the time we have “enough” saved up, we’ll probably be at regular retirement age.
Fortunately, there’s a method that allows individuals to achieve FIRE without being a millionaire, and that is the Lean FIRE method.
What is LeanFIRE?
Lean FIRE is a variation that emphasizes living frugally, saving as much as possible and investing in low-cost investments to achieve financial independence and retire early. This is very closely tied to Financial Minimalism and uses the “less is more” concept.
Thismethod differs from traditional FIRE methods as it focuses on achieving financial independence with less income and fewer savings. This means that a person doing Lean FIRE will have less to spend once they finally do retire. Generally, someone who does LeanFIRE takes pleasure in simple and free activities like hiking, biking, reading, etc.
How Much Money Do You Need For LeanFIRE?
Generally between $500,000 USD – $1,000,000 USD but the right FIRE Number will mainly depend on your monthly expenses. So the first step is to get these down as low as you can.
The quick back of the napkin math is to multiply your monthly expenses by 12 (to get your yearly expenses) and then by 25 to get to The 4% Rule.
So if you spend $2,000 each month, that’s $24,000 a year, multiply this by 25 and you’re left with $600,000 that you will need for Lean FIRE.
How does LeanFIRE work?
The FIRE method works by following a few simple principles:
Lower your expenses: To achieve financial independence and retire early, you need to lower your expenses. The more you save, the faster you will achieve financial independence. Look for ways to reduce your expenses by living a frugal lifestyle.
Save aggressively: Saving aggressively is the cornerstone of the Lean FIRE method. You need to save as much as you can to achieve financial independence and retire early. Aim to save at least 50% of your income and invest it in low-cost investments such as index funds.
Invest in low-cost investments: To achieve financial independence and retire early, you need to invest your savings in low-cost investments such as index funds. These investments have lower fees and better long-term returns compared to actively managed funds.
Generate additional income streams: Generating additional income streams can help you achieve financial independence faster. You can earn extra income by freelancing, starting a side hustle, or investing in rental properties.
Achieve financial independence and retire early without being a millionaire: The Lean FIRE method emphasizes living frugally, saving aggressively, and investing in low-cost investments, making it possible to achieve financial independence and retire early without being a millionaire.
Lower stress levels: Achieving financial independence and retiring early can significantly lower stress levels. You can enjoy your life without worrying about money and work-related stress.
More time for family and hobbies: Retiring early gives you more time to spend with your family and pursue your hobbies. You can travel, read books, learn a new skill, or start a new hobby without worrying about work-related stress.
Freedom to pursue your passion: Retiring early gives you the freedom to pursue your passion. You can start a new business, write a book, or volunteer for a cause you care about.
Requires discipline and sacrifice: Achieving financial independence and retiring early requires discipline and sacrifice. You need to live frugally, save aggressively, and invest in low-cost investments, which may require sacrificing some of your luxuries and hobbies.
Not suitable for everyone: The LeanFIRE method may not be suitable for everyone. If you enjoy your work or have a high-paying job that you love, you may not want to retire early.
Uncertainty: Achieving financial independence and retiring early involves uncertainty. You need to invest in the stock market, which involves risks, and there is no guarantee that you will achieve financial independence.
Final Thoughts on LeanFIRE
Financial Freedom or FIRE shouldn’t be thought of as a hard line between the Different FIRE Types or Retirement and Working but instead as a fluid continuum that can change and adapt to new life and world changes. If you are hardworking and ambitious enough to be able to save up enough to retire early, then you will probably be bored out of your mind once you do retire.
Sitting on a beach for a couple months while you celebrate your new freedom is great, but eventually you will want to do something productive. This is a perfect opportunity to start a side hustle, get a part time Barista FIRE job, start a new business or try anything else that you never had time to before.
Remember that what we’re really buying with Financial Independence is Freedom.