I haven’t read Pierre-Yves McSween’s latest book (Freedom 45, Guy Saint-Jean Éditeur) nor that of Jean-Sébastien Pilotte (Retirement at 40, Les Éditions de l’Homme), both recently released in bookstores.
I have no doubt that these books will consolidate the financial freedom of their author, this very objective, precisely, that the reader is invited to pursue.
No, I do not sulk in front of an announced success that I could envy (we play in the same tale). On the contrary, I wish them a nice place on the charts alongside Ricardo and Ken Follet, they are doing useful work.
You have to do it young, I’m too old
It’s just that I’m a little late. I’ve passed the 45-year mark for some time now and I have to face the facts: I missed the window of opportunity, as they say. And when I look beyond that, I still can’t see anything that looks like retirement or financial independence. Maybe with binoculars …
However, I have always made a good living and I have invested my money in the stock market. I live in a home acquired at the cost of the old days, an incredible privilege.
Yes, okay, I’m probably earning points on my Inspire card faster than the average SAQ customer and forgot what a grocery flyer looks like.
On the other hand, I have never owned a car except a Renault 5 for six months. I don’t travel a lot, I don’t abuse restaurants, and I know how to cook lentils and chickpeas.
My girlfriend sometimes urges me to let go a little, it’s her subtle way of telling me that she finds me a bit scratchy.
Ah, I am not in debt! I have some money aside too, but still not enough to send my boss for a walk.
So how do you break free from the obligation to work in the prime of your life?
The FIRE movement
My two august colleagues, particularly “the young retiree” Pilotte, are part of a trend that has been gaining followers for several years, the FIRE movement (Financial Independance, Retire Early : Financial independence, early retirement).
The FIRE doctrine has always struck me as the ultra-Orthodox branch of personal finance. She advocates frugality, extreme savings, at least a partial break with the consumer society, the search for true haphazard happiness, walking and dominoes.
One could confuse the FIRE approach with voluntary simplicity. However, it differs from the fact that it invites its followers to take advantage of the system, in particular through aggressive investment in the stock market, which bears fruit as long as the economy is running, and therefore that the majority consumes.
One can adhere more or less to the FIRE philosophy, like the faithful with their religion. The most fervent have something of high level athletes, obsessed with the idea of constantly pushing the limits. At the beginning, the feat was to reach retirement at 45, the bar was then lowered to 40, then again to 35 … The birth of the first retired infant will soon be announced.
In a Facebook group devoted to the FIRE approach, a young man this week boasted of having paid his mortgage in full while having set aside enough to meet his needs for the next 15 years. I don’t know the price of his house, mind you, maybe he lives in a backwater in South Dakota … Euphoric, he invited the community to set him new goals! He is 25 years old !
In these kinds of groups, people share stock market tips, discuss taxation in Panama and Portugal, and compete in ingenuity to save money. Members are also looking for a soul mate, because, of course, there is often only one “FIRE” to endure another.
As in the 100 meters event, we say to ourselves that we will eventually reach the limit of the possible, we cannot live 50 years on the product of 15 years of work, unless we earn a lot of money, and again, right out of school. Normally, it’s later in the career, at the age when Apostle FIRE is considering retiring, that salaries start to get attractive.
I do not belong to this confession, you will understand, its goals are overly ambitious for my lifestyle, if not unrealistic for those who earn little money.
I do not adhere less to this general idea that we save ourselves a lot of problems by living below our means. For the rest, doing a job you love, that fixes a lot of things. Especially if it pays less.