So the “R” in FIRE stands for Retire, but what actually does retire mean. To different people it can mean different things from stopping working all together to having the time to pursue any passion projects or jobs you are interested in.
From reading a lot of the financial blogs a lot of the people who write them, I would argue, are not actually retired; they are more running their own business. Some of them are spending upwards of 4 hours a day on their blog, but they are also making tens of thousands of dollars. Now this is all fine, and maybe these people don’t consider themselves retired. At the same time if they love doing their blog and they don’t feel like it is a chore maybe that is an acceptable definition of retirement; it’s definitely better than working for “the man”.
So what is retirement?
So first and foremost I consider retirement to be the ability to do what ever you want whenever you want it. To do this you need to be both time and money rich. If you are working a good job at present there is a likelihood that you are time poor and hopefully money rich. A lot of people when they retire become time rich but are money poor, which means they can’t do all the things they want to do.
So what are all these things you might want to do? Well travel is an obvious one, the ability to travel whenever you want to, where ever you want is incredibly appealing. Especially as once retired you can travel in off peak times and save a bunch of money.
Pursue hobbies and projects. This is absolutely a key part of retirement, personally I want to get out hiking more, learn more games, read more, improve my cooking skills. I’m already running more than I was before I left the workforce. So not all of these require us to be money rich, however most hobbies will require at least an initial investment in materials, lessons or tools. Now if you can turn any of these hobbies into cash then all the better. I think this is where some of the most successful bloggers fit in. They are doing something they love and helps people out (see below). Personally I don’t think I have the commitment or interest to spend 4-5 hours a day reading and writing retirement blogs, but those that do, fair play to them.
Helping out in the community. Whether this volunteering or getting shopping for elderly neighbors, this is definitely something you can do in retirement (while younger anyway).
So based on the above are we retired? The biggest thing we can’t do is travel whenever we want to due to having children still at home. Not that i’m trying to kick them out the house but I can see us traveling more once they are both in college – maybe 20% of the year?
However this brings me to the final point about being retired, namely that we are here for our children. We aren’t missing school events, we have dinner cooked each night and we aren’t rushing out the door in the morning. We will also get to spend all the summer school holiday period with them which is precious.
At the moment to us this is the true value of “Retirement”.