Tuesday, November 20, 2018

My parents were FIRE

 I don't know how familiar you all are with the concept of FIRE.  FIRE means= Financial Independence Retire Early.  FIRE is an amazing concept to me.  I would love to become financially independent so that I'm not required to work until I am 65.  My job is stressful and it seems it is the type of work which will always be stressful (litigation, trials, appeals, etc).  FIRE has a wide array of meaning throughout the personal finance community.  Suze Orman was on the Afford Anything podcast and caused quite a stir with her views on FIRE.  I like the idea of FIRE.  To me, FIRE means freedom and the ability to have choices.  For me to achieve FIRE I need to have a paid for house, a solid emergency fund and (depending upon the age at which I attain FIRE) a crap ton of cash/investments/savings/CDs, etc. 

My dad served in the air force for 30 years.  He entered when he was 19 years old and retired at 49.  When he retired he received a pension and the military health insurance TRICARE, for life.  He also received health insurance for his family (my mother and us kids). He also received Veteran's Affairs benefits which he permitted us (his children) to use. These VA benefits provided money for college for a service member or his (or her) dependents.  So, in essence, our college was funded. 

I don't have the exact details of his retirement (pay, etc), but I know that it was enough to survive.  We never wanted for anything.  We had elaborate Christmases and birthdays.  However, we never ate out at restaurants very much.  My father never had to work another day in his life after he retired from the air force.  He was able to spend time with his children, pursue his interests and not have to worry about work for the rest of his life.  He died at the young age of 68 years old.  I'm so glad that he was able to have some time to enjoy his life and didn't wait until 65 to retire and then die 3 years later. 

My mother is and always has been a money wiz.  She scrimped and pinched and saved and made the money stretch as far as it could.  She worked throughout the years that my father was in the air force to earn extra money.  She took over paying the bills when he was deployed overseas and made sure there was no credit card debt.  She saved and hoarded cash at every opportunity. 

I never realized that my parents were FIRE until recently.  It was quite a revelation when I thought about it.  I hope to do even half as well as my parents. 

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