This lifestyle leaves you exposed if disaster strikes
Suze Orman just threw cold water all over the FIRE movement that’s been spreading across the internet.
FIRE is short for “financial independence, retire early.” Work hard, make money, SAVE!!!, and, then, stop slaving away for “the man.”
Envision your dream of a flexible future and do what it takes to make it happen. Sacrifice now, enjoy later. That’s the gist.
On Reddit, there are more than 433,000 subscribers gathering to discuss their FIRE tips and experiences daily. “At its core, FI/RE is about maximizing your savings rate (through less spending and/or higher income) to achieve FI and have the freedom to RE as fast as possible,” the group’s description reads.
For many a work-worn millennial, it’s the Holy Grail. For one of the biggest names in personal finance, however, the approach has disaster written all over it.
“I hate it. I hate it. I hate it. I hate it.”
Tell us how you really feel Suze.
“Listen everybody. I know you want to retire at 25. At 30. At 35,” Orman told the “Afford Anything” podcast (http://podcast.affordanything.com/153-hate-fire-movement-suze-orman/). “But… as you get older, things happen.”
What things, Suze? That’s when the interview turned dark:
“You get hit by a car. You fall down on the ice, You get sick. You get cancer,” she said. “If a catastrophe happens, if something goes wrong, what are you going to do? You are going to burn alive.”
Then, Orman, with a net worth estimated to be in the neighborhood of $30 million, dropped a reality bomb of self awareness.
“Listen, if you have 20, 30, 50 or 100 million dollars, be like me, OK?” she said. “If you have that kind of money and you want to retire, fine.”
If not, and that’s most of us, better build that cushion, because, she says, if you stop stashing money, you’re losing the compounding years of your life.
“When you are younger, the money that you invest makes money and that money makes money and that money makes money,” Orman explained. “You cannot make up for that with sums of money later on in life.”
When Paula Pant, the host, asked what level of wealth would be necessary to comfortably reach FIRE, Orman threw out some big numbers.
“You need at least $5 million, or $6 million… Really, you might need $10 million,” she said — short of that, it’s just not going to be enough for most people.
“You can do it if you want to. I personally think it is the biggest mistake, financially speaking, you will ever, ever make in your lifetime,” she said. “I think it’s just ridiculous. You will get burned if you play with FIRE.”
Listen to the full podcast for more:
There was a range of responses. Some FIRE devotees, like Thomas Insall, appreciated hearing the other side of the argument
“Hearing such a strong, contrarian view from someone who’s spent their life hitting the ground hard and made so much for themselves is great!” he writes in the comments section. “If anything at all, Suze challenges us to revisit, reassess, potentially implement a warier eye and more conservative safeguards over ourselves for if/when we FI/RE.”
Reddit’s FIRE board, however, was much less supportive, in general. Here are just some of the criticisms lobbed her way:
“Suze doesn’t want you listening to anyone but Suze. She only promotes advice that supports something she previously said, and FIRE is way outside of her wheelhouse.”
“This is a situation where the old saying ‘Consider the source’ applies.”
“She had made millions on being the expert to tell you how to manage your money. If you can learn how to meet your goals just by reading the FAQ on a subreddit, her business model is f**ked.”
“Suze Orman is right: private planes and private islands are not cheap.”
What’s your take on FIRE and Orman’s distaste for it?
For more on this topic, check these out:
Here’s why you shouldn’t retire super early even if you can (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/heres-why-you-shouldnt-retire-super-early-even-if-you-can-2018-08-30)
Why early retirement IS all it’s cracked up to be
People may be missing the point on retiring early (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/financial-independence-cant-give-you-the-one-thing-you-really-want-2018-09-20)
The bad things about early retirement nobody talks about (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/these-are-the-bad-things-about-early-retirement-that-no-one-talks-about-2018-09-26)
-Shawn Langlois; 415-439-6400; AskNewswires@dowjones.com
October 03, 2018 17:39 ET (21:39 GMT)
Copyright (c) 2018 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.