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I had the idea for this post the other day when I was telling someone the similarities I see with people in recovery and people in the Financial Independence Retire Early (FIRE) community. This post is a dedication to the people in both communities.
Membership is Free
In recovery programs, the requirement to join is minimal. Basically, you need only have a desire for help. You don’t even have to have quit whatever addiction you want to recover from to join. You simply need the desire to quit.
Many people who come into recovery want to stop but don’t know how. However, in being surrounded by an entire community who has found a way to abstain, they find hope. Within that glimmer of hope, many people find sobriety if they have the ability, to be honest with themselves and others.
I came into the FIRE community when I was still paying off my debt and had very little saved for my retirement. People welcomed me with open arms and cheered me on. Furthermore, those who had gone before me were willing to share how they achieved financial independence.
I soak up as much information as possible from the community. Now that I’m above the line financially, I’m taking the appropriate action steps in saving for my retirement.
Seriously, the only desire for FIRE membership is a desire to achieve financial independence.
Commonalities Between People in Recovery and People in the FIRE Community
I was asked this question in an interview the other day – what similarities are there between people in recovery and people in the FIRE community? It’s a great question that I’m qualified to answer being I straddle both.
If you humor me, I’ll share some of the similarities I see…
People who are going for the audacious goal of financial independence are very intentional with all things surrounding money. This intentionality can include all sorts of things like:
- Driving older cars
- Cutting the cord with cable
- Changing cell phone carriers
- House hacking
- Meal prepping
- Packing Lunches
- Biking to work
- Walking to work
- Increasing income
- Investing in tax-advantaged accounts
- Choosing low-cost index funds
- Automating Savings
Those things don’t just happen by mistake. They happen with effort, planning, and oh yes, intentionality!
People may stumble into recovery because things are out of control. However, in order to stick and find a fulfilling recovery, one needs intentionality. This includes things like:
- Asking for help
- Taking direction
- Trusting something bigger than you
- Reviewing past resentments & relationships
- Identifying your part
- Letting go
- Making amends
- Forgiving yourself
- Forging healthy relationships
- Helping others
The quality or fact of being very determined.
This is also known as perseverance! So whether you are aiming to create a life of sobriety or to save for financial independence, you will need to possess this little trait.
While staying sober happens one day at a time, quality recovery is more than just not picking up. It’s about the things listed above so that you can heal, restore, and find a more meaningful life.
It’s a rich life too but you need to work through the muck in order to find the riches. In trudging the road of happy destiny, you’ll need to be tenacious in your effort.
Achieving financial independence does not happen overnight. Although, it does happen via making small decisions over a lifetime. The little things snowball into big things and one day with the glory of time & compound interest, you’ll hit it.
However, that is nothing to scoff at. There are always pressures to give into lifestyle creep and/or to keep up with the Joneses. Your best self-defense mechanism, IMHO, is to find what truly makes you happy.
When I was paying off my debt and making all kinds of sacrifices, I realized something. That something was that I was no less happy. My relationships with my family and friends are where I find the most joy in life. Getting out of debt and curbing my spending taught me how to enjoy relationships naturally without spending a lot of dough.
All this to stay, the marketers are really good at trying to get you to spend your hard earned money. So in order to stay the course, you’ll need to stay focused and determined. Moreover, you need tenacity.
I see this as a common overlap with the FIRE community and the recovery community. We all seem to find our purpose and calling in life once we enter one of these communities.
I don’t want to shame anyone if you haven’t yet found your purpose. It takes time but just know that if you are in either community you on the road to discovering purpose in life.
People looking to retire early are typically retiring to passion projects that have a lot of purpose and meaning in their lives. Usually, when you are passionate about something, you are really good at it. Typically, when you are really good at something, you can earn money. See retirement can still be about making money!
I discovered my purpose in life is to teach. I was thrown off of it when I headed deep into the throes of addiction, but I’m back on track. Furthermore, I re-kindled this passion and purpose in working with women in recovery.
Today I get to teach in ways I wouldn’t have imagined.
So do you think I’m crazy for the parallels I’ve drawn between the FIRE community and people in recovery? I totally see it and wanted to give insight because I suspect many people who read this blog are in one or the other but not both.
There is a lot of common ground.
Moreover, I hope you know that if you have a desire to join either community, you’ve already hit the minimum requirement for membership. Perhaps you simply have the desire to achieve financial independence, we’ll you are in! If you don’t know where to start, you can virtually participate in blog comments, forums, and Facebook groups. For in-person meetups, check out some local groups or a CampFI.
Or perhaps you have a desire to get sober and if that is the case you are welcome into recovery. If you don’t know where to go, please see my recovery resources page. Additionally, feel free to send me a message.
Desire is just the first step. If you have that awesome! You are ready to take the next step. The next step requires action and reaching out to someone in the community. 🙂
P.S. I got to be interviewed by Curt & Wendy on the House of FI podcast and you can listen to it right here!