If you are on the path to financial independence you need to be on the /r/financialindependence subreddit. It is an active forum, the folks on there are really nice, very helpful and know a lot. It is a mix of folks who are striving towards FIRE and folks who are already financially independent.
Blogs I Love (and other useful links)
There are some truly excellent blogs in this space. Instead of giving you a list of blogs that you can find elsewhere on the internet I’m going to try and give you pointers to specific articles that I’ve enjoyed, and I’m going to try and present them in reading order (e.g. starting with mega backdoor roths and RMDs isn’t going to make a ton of sense).
MMM’s shockingly simply math post explains succinctly how early retirement is possible even if you never win the lottery. MMM (Mr. Money Mustache) is a cult figure in FIRE circles, and you can spend many happy hours trawling his blog. This post highlights the foundation of FIRE: you have to save more than you spend, and let your money compound.
Ok, so you want to save, and you can’t wait to be free, but how much should you save? And how in the world can you possibly save enough to last for over forty years? What about inflation? What if the markets go to hell in a hand basket?
- MMM talks about the Trinity Study and the 4% Safe Withdrawal Rate (SWR). It is really important to understand these concepts. This is what is going to help you plan for financial independence and early retirement with confidence. This is what will make the difference between a long, happy financial life and the poor house.
- To hammer home the point read the Mad Fientist’s most excellent post on the SWR and the Sequence of Returns Risk
- If you’re still worried that somehow you will run out of money, Go Curry Cracker’s post on the Worst Retirement Ever is an excellent read. He writes about a theoretical retiree who chose the worst year in stock market history to hang up his gloves. If this retiree can make it, so can you.
Now you’re ready to start building your Stash of Cash. Or maybe you already have a Stash, but are now motivated to grow it more aggressively. The questions that come up now are:
What should I invest in? Should I set up an emergency fund first or pay down my debt? 401k or Roth? What should my asset allocation be?
You can easily feel overwhelmed at this stage. Don’t. Much help is at hand.
- Here is a nice flowchart from the /r/personalfinance subreddit that acts as a high level guide to what you should be doing with your money and in what order
- What should you invest in? Index funds with low, low expense ratios (i.e. costs). Read about Lazy Portfolios (what an excellent, non-threatening name) on the Bogleheads site. The Three Fund Portfolio is very popular, and for good reason.
This is the fun part. I have spent many happy hours playing with the crowdsourced cfiresim calculator. It allows you to enter (among other things) the current size and allocation of your stash, how you plan to grow it and your year of retirement and then it runs your numbers through historical stock market data and simulates how you would have done if you had retired with your planned stash at various points in history. Apart from being so much fun it is also an excellent way to build confidence in your plan, and to tweak it. You can read my review of cfiresim on rockstar finance.