Mar 15, 2018 by FIREList

Interview | Birds of a FIRE

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FI/RE is not a topic that a lot of millennials are pursuing, or quite honestly, even aware of. It was for that reason that Olivia's blog, Birds of a FIRE, stood out to me. Below is an excerpt of my interview with Olivia.

What made you interested in pursuing financial independence?

When I was 23, I wanted a fancy life. If my salary went up? I contemplated a bigger, better, more spacious and expensive apartment. I wanted to eat out at every meal. I liked fancy clothing and gadgets. A few vacation houses. It's what everyone around me was doing and certainly what my colleagues believed in. Pure lifestyle inflation. When everyone else is planning on working until they're 50s or 60s, you kind of just follow along.

Then I met Firebear. He hinted at retiring in his early thirties and just doing whatever he wanted. It was odd and possibly a relationship killer. What was I supposed to do, go to work while he just stayed at home? I'd like not to go to work too! I picked up the concept of FIRE and the math behind it. As someone who worked in finance, it made immediate sense.

How did discovering FI/RE at that point change your outlook?

I thought about it some more and realized I wanted the same thing. If I was frugal and let my money compound, I could afford to spend more in "retirement."

What I'd really like is to launch a start-up one day, but to be quite honest, I'm not that much of a risk-taker. If financials were left out? Sure, it'd be fun to create new things. I want to create something. A startup that allows you to wear VR googles and shop from home? A take-out container that makes crispy or fried foods not soggy when they get to my house (I know, I know, but it's the small things!). Sometimes I just want fries delivered when I'm lazy and they're always soggy. Bleh. I want to provide value to a company that can change the world. Perhaps a new tech firm that eliminates supply chain issues? I want to bring some good into the world. Fancy SAT prep should be affordable for all. It's not fair money dictates who gets the highest scores.

I could possibly do all this without worry if I could be financially independent.

Just a reminder, that if you wouldn't be financially independent if you become divorced one day, you're not financially independent. Be safe. Be conservative.

Once you knew you wanted to be FI/RE, did you start planning when you wanted to retire?

I'm on track to retire at 30 from a probability standpoint. Given the small percentage of my portfolio that is housed in alternative assets, that range could be between 28-32. I'm fine with the risk.

If I can create enough passive income from rentals, the blog, and other side projects, I'd love to travel the world with my laptop in my late twenties. I could also take advantage of FEIE if I am out of the country for 330 days a year.

Do you think you'd continue working once you reach FI?

For me, traveling while working on online side hustles would still feel like early retirement for me. I'd like to start a Youtube Channel like Strictly Dumpling has and just eat and travel for a few years before I settle down. I'd still reach FIRE by early thirties.

So let's talk about your blog. What made you interested in starting Birds of a FIRE?

There's not a lot of women who are talking about the more analytical and spreadsheet based ways of financial independence and personal finance. There's also not a lot of 20 year old women (or men) talking about the topic either. Personal finance and financial independence courses should be free for college and high school students. Also, just free for anyone in general.

It's a way of an creating an extremely low-cost startup while trying to bring value into the world. So far, it's been pretty fun. I plan to do this at least a year.

What kinds of topics do you write about?

Financial independence, personal finance, side hustles, arbitrage, luxury hacking (Yelp Elite, travel hacking, etc).

Anything else you'd like to share with our readers?

I think all millennials should venture at the very least on the FI path. The increasing automation is going to create a lot of structural employment (due to lack of needed skills) and when you're 40, it's going to be a lot harder to pivot careers. Get your finances and FI in order in your 20s so that you can be set in your 30s. I think if you work extremely hard in your 20s, you can retire in your early 30s.

Finally, I created a free 3 week financial independence course to get you there. Check it out.

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