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Mr Fire and his Journey!!

I chatted to “Mr Fund Your Fire” recently –

FIRE is the acronym for “Financial Independence, Retire Early”

Mr Fire and I had an exciting conversation recently. Currently, many people are going through financial strain and may view this post as insensitive. If not now, then when? By continuing to delay the savings and investment process we only rob ourselves of our financial freedom, the benefits of compound interest and the associated peace of mind. In addition to the month of July being Nelson Mandela’s month, in South Africa, it is also the National Savings Month.

1) Mr Fire, tell me more about you!

Thanks so much for having me on your Blog, Well to start off, I run a personal Finance and Financial Independence blog called, and I do some coaching on money and personal finance. I turned 40 this year and got to financial freedom at the ripe age of 37 (that’s in 12 years of corporate life!). In the world of personal finance jargon, I would be referred to as being FIRE’d (Financially Independent Retire Early)! Which is why, through my blog, I want to share my journey of reaching financial independence with fellow South Africans and others out there. If I can do it, without a legacy and windfall, so can anyone, through sheer hard work and discipline.

2) What triggered you on this path?

My FIRE journey really began sometime after I finished my engineering studies which gave me a penchant for numbers and halfway through my MBA which opened up the world of Finance to me, shaping my frugal lifestyle as a young independent adult facing the world, but the real trigger flipped when my parents kept telling us that, they had spent their entire working lives working hard and that happiness and their travels would start once they had retired and once we were out of the house!

But that never happened, they retired only at 65, leaving them to deal with lifestyle-related diseases they accumulated over the years. This was a handicap for them to fulfil their travel plans for retirement, which they so looked forward to, their hard work and sacrifice is the reason I am what I am today, which got me to take on the Financially independence journey.

3) I know you set your retirement goal to accumulate enough funds to retire at age 40 however you achieved your Retirement Number at age 37. Please share your process in achieving your goal?

The process is fairly straight forward, Spend less than you earn and invest the difference! The financial sector over complicates the investment and personal finance sector for obvious reasons (yes, I am referring to their fancy cars). The key is to keep increasing your savings rate year on year as those salary increments come in and not let lifestyle change creep set in (usually referred to as- keeping up with the Joneses/ Khumalo’s). Investing in the right assets at low costs through a well-diversified portfolio is key to making your money bunnies grow.

The Goal was to build enough wealth so that I didn’t have to work a 9-5 job for money so that I could live life on “My terms”, doing the things I liked, spending “My time” the way I wanted to, how I wanted to, where I wanted to and with whom I wanted to. Time is a finite resource we have while we are on this planet.

4) What in your view are the top 6 factors to consider or commit to when driving this objective?

I would say you can follow the following steps –

  • Increase the sources of income you generate with the skills you have - what I call - Active and Passive income streams

  • Manage expenses so as to live within your means while spending on things or rather experiences that you value in your life

  • Keep away from taking on long term debt unless for acquiring skills or buying assets

  • Have an emergency fund stashed away for tough times like what the pandemic has demonstrated, usually a 6-month living cost

  • Create a plan to Retire Early, identify how much you need which is defined by the 4% Rule

  • Generate enough wealth so that you don’t have to do a 9-5 job to pay your bills, and you could retire early with passive income from your investments

5) What did you find most challenging?

For me, the most challenging part was the voice in my head and the discipline to keep at my Retirement Goal. The market, the news, the “experts” and the noise in everyday life can drown out your goals and means to get there, but sticking to your plan, keeping the discipline and believing in yourself and the process was the most challenging part for me. The things that keep you from achieving your goals usually lies within you.

6) Your biggest learning during this phase?

The biggest learning during my journey to FIRE was to trust the process and keep things simple and uncomplicated. Reaching financial independence required me to sometimes do nothing with my investments and let time and the power of compounding do its job.

7) I understand you have not left the corporate world yet. What is stopping you?

I was a management consultant for 13 years when I reached my FIRE state, and now I work for a Public benefit organisation supporting a national cause in South Africa, so technically I have left the sometimes stressful corporate world to gain more fulfilment in what I do, I never imagined just sipping Mohito’s on the beach the whole time after I reached FIRE, and so I am still spending my time in a pseudo corporate environment that does meaningful work in improving the lives of so many disadvantaged South Africans.

8) What is your deadline to exit the corporate world?

I don’t have an answer to that question right now, I guess I will stick around as long as I am enjoying it and it gives me happiness, the moment it becomes a drag or I see I am not adding value to the team I will quit.

9) After corporate what’s next?

We plan to travel on extended breaks, having travelled to over 36 countries, exploring new cultures, nature, foods, people and destinations still excites me. I also want to focus on sharing my bits of knowledge on personal finance and help people reach financial independence earlier in their lives, so they too can do what they wish with their most finite resource – TIME

10) What is the motto or mantra you live by?

Live a life that you want to live!

And the most powerful 2 letter word sentence – “If it is to be, it is up to me”

11) What do you believe you can do to leave this world happier, kinder and enriched?

Life is too short to let it just go by each day. Each one of us is given a set of skills and talent, understanding them, growing them, using and sharing them to make the world a happier place is the key to one’s own happiness. If I have touched just one person through this interview on your blog in order to improve their financial life, it leaves me happy!

Some amazing insights from Mr Fire. Confirmation from an amazing person that a PLAN, ACTION and COMMITMENT to the plan = SUCCESS.

Please visit Mr Fire read his insights and give him some love. The reason we both write about financial matters amongst others as we experience the emotional and physical benefits and our wish is that more people take charge of their finances, not waste another day and realise it is possible without an inheritance!

Keep safe, well and happy!

I am sending you all love, light, happy and healing energy!

Thank you for stopping by:

I wish you love, light, happiness and Freedom

Charmaine Soobramoney

I Am the Change and Free - Founder

Each One Hold One (Eoho) - Co-founder

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