“Learn from the rest and best: We didn’t know which questions to ask and which topics to be curious about, so where did we learn FIRE and its’ concepts?”
A question “successful” people are often asked is: “How did you get started?” or “What was the defining moment?”. Specifically Financial Independence Retire Early (FIRE) successful thought leaders are often asked: “How did you get started” or “How were you able to succeed?”. Our most asked question, from family and friends, at the moment is: “Where did we learn FIRE?”
We wouldn’t claim we are successful, otherwise we wouldn’t be making so many blunders still. We are making less and less though, and mainly this is because we have increased our curiosity and have been able to ask the right questions as opposed to not asking anything at all. Being curious is essential, as it transitions you from a reactive educational/engagement level (e.g. You have to go to class and listen to the teacher) to a proactive mode of increasing your knowledge and applying it in every day life (e.g. Looking for a recipe how to make chocolate mousse and deciding which is the best one for you). For the ones that are curious, this is by far my favorite chocolate mousse recipe:
Curiosity is probably the easiest step, learning which questions to ask and resolve to fulfill the curiosity is very difficult. One thing is consistent throughout the journey, you will make mistakes. As you hone into the right questions to ask, you need to discover which wrong questions you are asking. What were the right questions for us? Let us give you a couple of examples:
Right questions we asked ourselves
- Why should we not spend more time with the people and activities that we love?
- What can we do to shift from working for time to money working for us?
- How do we balance living today and preparing for the future?
In a couple of years time we may still realize that we made some blunders with the questions we asked ourselves, but that’s ok. We’ve made plenty of blunders to know we aren’t scared of them. So let’s go answer the question in the title, where did we learn FIRE?
Probably the most famous and well known FIRE expert out there. We enjoyed reading his articles, especially the one titled “Is it Convenient? Would I enjoy it? Wrong question”. Even more than the articles, we learnt the most from the forum, which allowed us to find likeminded individuals who shared their experiences. We did tend to find that the discussions were about being as frugal as possible and didn’t always match with our expectations.
Our next stop was reddit, since we liked the forum approach of Mr. Money Mustache a lot. Here we felt we could follow the discussions easier and it opened us up to new approaches. One of them you will find back in our monthly dividend growth updates, we discovered the Sankey Diagram through this post on reddit. Again, we felt that the discussion were often around singles, without children or very low expenses. We try to keep our expenses low, but want to enjoy life with the family today as well.
Then we discovered FatFIRE, which is a subcategory of FIRE. In a summary, this is mostly about retiring early while keeping a luxurious lifestyle. We found the topics interesting as it was less about extreme frugality, but the audience seemed to consist more of people with a very high income/asset value. Not really matching our situation completely.
We tried to find a more European aimed group, as we’ve spent the majority of our expat life in Europe and also like it there. FIREhub EU provides a regular update of the blog posts that have been released with an European theme. It allows us to learn and educate ourselves. We might even submit our blog to them.
The examples above were more aimed at the concept of FIRE, slowly we wanted to learn more about the fundamentals of investing. We discovered Seeking Alpha and honestly we cannot keep up with the wealth of information. The articles provide very good insights and the comments attached to each article shows a healthy amount of debate. The companies that we are interested in are listed and once there is a new article, we receive a link. A very easy way of continuously increasing our knowledge.
We discovered podcasts about 3 years ago and since then have used them extensively. Either during our commute, travel or sport, it allows us to educate ourselves with a variety of topics. Meaningful Money is a very UK focussed website and podcast by Pete Matthew, nevertheless the lessons can be applied across the globe. He has an extensive list of podcasts that he has created, which we’re sure you’ll want to binge listen as fast as possible.
“We study billionaires” is their slogan. Now why wouldn’t you want to learn from the best? The topics they cover are broad enough to create diversity, yet simple so we can learn from them. Their panel discussions are insightful, as they themselves clearly state they are continuously learning. Very humble and something we strive for as well.
We hope the overview has provided you with some new sources of information that will help you on your journey. Do let us know if there are any additional sources we should look at to further educate ourselves.