Why I hate the FIRE Movement

Have you heard of the FIRE movement? In this episode, you’ll hear why I hate it. We’ll also discuss a listener question about spousal Social Security benefits and a CNBC article that compares retiring at different ages. You’ll learn why it is important to work for as long as possible. Listen to this episode to hear how much more money you’d have if you delay retirement and to learn why I hate the FIRE movement. 

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Outline of This Episode

  • [1:22] A Social Security spousal benefit question
  • [3:30] Here’s how much more money you’d have if you delayed retirement
  • [8:12] What is the FIRE movement?
  • [10:15] Why do I hate the FIRE movement?

Can my wife collect her spousal benefit at age 66 and hold off on collecting her own social security until age 70?

Thank you, Brian, for this excellent listener question. I always try to advise holding off on collecting your social security until age 70. Because if you wait this long then you will end up collecting 132% of your total benefit. Regarding your question, the answer is no. Once she files she will get paid either her entire benefit or half of your benefit, whichever is larger. There could be even a combination of the 2. But benefit switching died off in the last Social Security reform. So she can claim either half of your benefit or all of hers.

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Here’s how much more money you’d have if you delayed retirement

According to a report from the Stanford Center for Longevity and Actuaries in a recent CNBC article, the typical American would benefit from an older retirement age. The study compared a middle-income couple aged 62 that earns a combined $100,000 with a $350,000 nest egg. Researchers calculated 5 separate scenarios: retiring completely at age 62, working part-time until 66 (their Social Security full retirement age), working full-time until 66, working part-time until age 70 and working full-time until age 70. 

How does delaying retirement affect your replacement ratio

The CNBC article compares the replacement ratio that replaced the highest percentage of preretirement income. A replacement ratio is how much of your pre-retirement income we are replacing in retirement. Most advisors will tell you to have a goal of a 70%-80% replacement ratio. The article reports that the couple working full-time until age 70 then reaches a replacement ratio of 71% compared with a 38% replacement ratio when they retire at age 62. Listen in to this episode hear my thoughts on this. 

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Why I hate the FIRE movement

FIRE means Financial Independence, Retire Early. The FIRE movement doesn’t refer to retiring at age 55 when they refer to retiring early they mean in your 30s or 40s. To achieve that, those in the FIRE movement often live very frugally much like minimalists and save as much as 50% of their income. I hate the whole idea of this movement. It seems like proponents of the FIRE movement miss the point of work entirely. Wouldn’t you be better off dedicating your life to a career you love rather than subjecting yourself to a career you hate and then running away from it?

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