15+ Types of FIRE and What They Mean 🔥
Unless you’re a complete stranger to the personal finance world (and if you are, welcome!), you’re probably familiar with “Financial Independence Retire Early,” better known as FIRE. But this isn’t just a term—it’s become a full-on movement. Most are completely behind the “Financial Independence” part and less about the “Retire Early.” That’s because if you’re still expending energy, trading time or services for any income, that’s still work!
The inspiration behind the idea was the 1992 best-selling book Your Money or Your Life by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez. It’s defined by extreme savings and investments in order to obtain financial freedom (and retirement) far earlier than the traditional person using alternative finance methods.
Luckily, there isn’t just one way to achieve FIRE either. Each day (at least it feels like each day) there’s a new term out there, or a new twist on the FIRE method. More and more, these versions of FIRE seem to match the personalities of those who create them, which is so much fun, and personal.
Be sure to keep checking this page for the newest terms as they are coined. You’ll want to make sure your FIRE terminology is, well…on fire
Last Updated: 11/17/21
- FIRE — The OG term that stands for Financial Independence, Retire Early. This term heavily emphasizes how to achieve Financial Independence, starting with finding your FIRE number. This is the personalized number you’ll need to retire, typically calculated by multiplying your total yearly expenses by 25. (Derived from the famous 4% Trinity Study Rule)
As the personal finance community has evolved over the years, new versions of the FIRE method have emerged to better match people’s personalities and goals. That one-size-fits-all approach? She isn’t welcome here anymore.
Here are a few that you’ve probably become familiar with—and might even use yourself!
- Lean FIRE — Lean FIRE means your investments only covers your basic necessities like food, transportation and rent—”retiring” and living off of a lot less. People that practice lean FIRE often have to supplement their retirement with extra active income sources. (Learn more: What is Lean FIRE?)
- Fat FIRE — Fat FIRE is at the opposite of the lean FIRE approach—”retiring” and living off of more. This approach is for all of those out there who are into living the lavish lifestyle. Less is more isn’t really a mantra they live by. They imagine a more comfortable living because they’ve spent a handful more years working, allowing the savings to add up. (Learn more: Lean FIRE vs Fat FIRE)
- Barista FIRE — Another fun alternative to traditional FIRE is Barista FIRE. If you’re assuming this method involves spending all of your money on coffee…good guess. But no! This is defined as “retiring” while still holding part-time jobs for additional income and health benefits. (Learn more: Barista FIRE: Everything You Need To Know)
- Coast FIRE — The Coast FIRE method is all about visualizing how much you need to “coast”—when you have enough in your retirement accounts to retire comfortably without contributing anything additional. (Learn more: Coast Financial Independence Calculator)
- Slow FIRE — Do you find yourself living by the motto, YOLO? Then Slow FIRE might be for you. This method allows you to smell the roses by balancing spending today and investing for tomorrow. It’s a healthy mix of spending on experiences and finding the work you love, while spending time with loved ones. Slow and steady does win the race, right? (Learn more: Slow FI: The Real YOLO, What is Slow FIRE?)
If you thought that was a lot of FIRE methods to keep up with, you ain’t seen nothing yet. It seems that there are new versions of the FIRE methodology popping up weekly.
- Disney FIRE — The Disney FIRE method is all about living the “Disney Dream.” This means truly spending all that free time enjoying the parks on your own terms—not rushing around for a quick family vacation. (Learn more: The Disney FIRE Lifestyle)
- Flamingo FIRE — Flamingo FIRE combines three different retirement lifestyles – Semi-Retirement, Early Retirement (FIRE) and Traditional Retirement. The premise of this one is to work hard and save, then semi-retire while your money continues to grow in the background. (Learn more: Coasting to FIRE (Without Saving Another Cent!)
- Adventure FIRE — The Adventure FIRE method sorts funds into “allowances” which refers to living reasonably frugal for the day-to-day expenses, while the “spending money” is an entirely separate investment account to fund whatever splurges your heart desires. (Learn more: Adventure FIRE: An alternative to fat/lean/regular FIRE)
- Boat FIRE — This one is for all of you who have ever dreamed of spending a year on a cruise ship—at a discounted rate. It involves chaining a bunch of cruise itineraries together by buying them at the right time. (Learn more: Revisiting Budgets and Boat Life)
- Startup FIRE — No, this method isn’t referring to a business startup. In fact, it simply refers to using the skills you were born with like you would at a startup that doesn’t need to make money. Startup FIRE is best practiced alone or with a smaller group of people. (Learn more: Startup FIRE)
- Spouse FI — This one might be easy to guess. Spouse FI is a lifestyle option where one partner’s income covers all or most of the expenses and savings. This gives the other partner the flexibility to stay at home with the kids or pursue a part-time job. This method provides many financial and lifestyle benefits—even before reaching full financial independence. (Learn more: Spouse FI: Everything You Need to Know About This Amazing Lifestyle Option, How Much Money Do You Really Need?)
- FIWOOT — FIWOOT, Financial Independence Work On Own Terms, is exactly what it sounds like: leaning into what works well for you. This version drops the “Retire Early” angle for those of us who still want to exchange time and services for money. Want to make money off of your blog? Good for you! Marketing a book you wrote? Amazing! (Learn more: I prefer Financial Independence Work On Own Terms (FIWOOT) versus FIRE)
- Baby FIRE — Baby FIRE is 0ne of the literal terms on this list. Think Coast and Barista FIRE methodologies and add in an actual baby. Yes, a baby. The aim is to save up enough to cover expenses over the course of maternity and/or paternity leave. (Learn more: 10 Types of FIRE You Need To Know About)
- FART FIRE (aka FAST FIRE) —Fun fact: Fart means fast in Swedish, which is the inspiration behind this next method, Fart FIRE. This one is all about getting to a state of FIRE quickly so you can live and make decisions without worrying about money. The key is figuring out how to get there and do it without sacrificing all of your time. (Learn more: Are You Lean FIRE, Fat FIRE or Fart FIRE?)
- Fast FIRE — This FIRE method is anything but traditional. It’s all about retiring faster than you ever thought possible—in as little as 5 years—by making tons of money and working extremely hard. While this may not be the right method for everyone, those lucky enough to pull it off will have a lot of freedom ahead of them. (Learn more: Fast FIRE: Is It for You?)
- FIOR — This one actually goes off the beaten path of FIRE. FIOR, Financial Independence Optional Retirement, emphasizes those journeys that may not include early retirement at all. FIOR encourages those who follow it to be in control of their own choices—to dial back on work, retire early to travel, or keep working. You can choose to do what fulfills you, even if that isn’t early retirement. (Learn more: Why We’ve Embraced FIOR)
Time to FIRE Away!
Yes, there are tons of approaches to FIRE. The good news? You get to choose which work for you—and hey, maybe even create your own. That’s the best part about our FIRE journey. It’s OURS.
No matter what method you choose, there are so many FI milestones you can celebrate along the way. Sometimes we have our sights stuck on the end goal so much that we forget to enjoy (and celebrate) the middle. When you understand what each of these numbers and milestones actually mean, you can appreciate them even more.
Know of any other FIRE terms we didn’t include? Pass them over to us! We’ll continue to update this page when we discover new ones.
Photo credit: Comfreak
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