Who coined the time period FI/RE (financially-independent, retired early)?


It is at all times a laugh to unearth some esoteric piece of personal-finance historical past. I do know there are just a few nerds in the market who care (hi, Grant Sabatier!), however the ones people who care in reality care.

Two years in the past, I revealed an editorial exploring the historical past of economic independence by which I famous that the earliest reference I will to find to the perception of economic independence comes from an 1872 e book known as Cash and Find out how to Make It by means of H. L. Reade. And it wasn’t till the Nineteen Fifties that the idea that of early retirement (a minimum of within the sense we imply it as of late) won traction. However regardless of my analysis, I nonetheless have questions, equivalent to: What is the supply of the fashionable FIRE motion?

Who Coined the Time period FIRE?

Just lately at The Retire Early House Web page — a web page so outdated that it existed (and nonetheless exists) on the daybreak of the internet — John P. Greaney replied the query: Who coined the time period FIRE?

In case you’ve by no means visited The Retire Early House Web page, you must. I am sure that it is the oldest FIRE web page on the net. It is fairly imaginable it is the oldest common personal-finance web page too. Greaney has been publishing quarterly updates since 01 April 1996!

Greaney gives a bit of of context and historical past, writing:

In Would possibly 1999 the “Retire Early House Web page” dialogue board gave the impression on The Motley Idiot site, and a colourful dialog on early retirement subjects ensued. Earlier than The Motley Idiot close the board down in Would possibly 2022 (and transformed it to “read-only” standing) it had gathered virtually 900,000 posts. […]

One early matter of debate was once the definition of “early retirement” — and the consensus was once that some type of monetary independence was once a prerequisite. Quitting your process with an inadequate nestegg, and risking an early go back to paid employment, was once extra of a “process alternate” than early retirement.

Consistent with Greaney, on 23 August 2000 a Motley Idiot discussion board member with the care for “fzabaly” was once the primary to shorten “financially-independent, retired early” to FI/RE in this board submit:

One non-monetary choice that has helped me line up FI/RE is achieving a graduate stage (in ComputerScience) whilst operating. At the side of the simpler pay got here the next self belief re: employment that allowed me to turn into a ‘Somewhat Competitive Investor’ (70% stks/Mfunds) from a Conservative Investor (50% stks/Mfunds).

And, says Greaney, the primary individual to transport this abbreviation from FI/RE to FIRE was once a board member going by means of the care for “wanderer0692”. On 19 January 2001, wanderer0692 made a fantastic (and lengthy) submit entitled “Issues That Are More potent than Dying and Concern”. (The submit is price studying even as of late, 21 years later.)

“That is the essence of FI/RE,” writes wanderer0692. “Freedom from monetary need. This is a tribute, in our case, to good fortune and a bull marketplace, and to our adherence to what we confer with because the six elementary ideas of FI/RE.”

The ones six basics of FI/RE are:

  • Have a motivating function.
  • Take a high-paying process.
  • Are living beneath your manner.
  • Slash your taxes.
  • Apply geo-arbitrage.
  • Spend money on cheap index budget.

The basics of the FIRE motion have not modified a lot since 2001, have they? Those are nonetheless the fundamentals that almost all of other people hold forth and observe as of late.

“A Hearth That Burns in Me”

In any case, as a type of addendum to his very good submit, wanderer0692 makes an statement:

Has any person else spotted how “FI/RE” looks as if the phrase “fireplace”? I consider attending church (an extended, very long time in the past) and, all over the benediction, the preacher pronouncing, “Take our minds and suppose thru them. Take our eyes and spot thru them. Take our hearts and set them on fireplace.” I at all times favored that flip of word.

I am not a lot for faith, however I do imagine within the sanctity of the human spirit. FI/RE is a fireplace that burns in me. Perhaps it consumes me, however I love to suppose I’m that phoenix, emerging from the ashes, to meet his particular project of understanding his true doable.

So, to any extent further, I am gonna drop the slash. A “FIRE” it’s. Would possibly it’s ever thus.

And so it’s been ever thus.

So, there you’ve gotten it. Till any person supplies proof in a different way, I am keen to just accept Greaney’s model of early FIRE historical past. The dude has been writing about these things on-line since 1996, in any case. He is aware of his stuff.

There may be any other fascinating perception from this FIRE foundation tale. Lately, most of the people (together with me) imagine that the FIRE acronym stands for “Monetary Independence/Retire Early”. That is lovely rattling clumsy, and all of us comprehend it. In reality, the FIRE acronym firstly stood for “Monetaryly Independent, Retired Early”. That makes much more sense!

That stated, I comprehend it’s a shedding combat to take a look at to persuade those that we are mis-labelling what FIRE stands for. Hell, I have spent two years seeking to get other people to forestall pronouncing “financial savings fee” after they imply “saving fee” and I appear to have made 0 measurable distinction. I assume I will must surrender myself to failure in this one too.

Additional Studying

Need to learn extra in regards to the historical past of non-public finance and monetary independence? Neatly then, you are a nerd. That is k. I am a nerd too. Listed below are a couple of pages that would possibly pastime you, weird-o:

And please, if of another fascinating books or articles in regards to the historical past of economic independence (and/or own finance), please let me know. I need to learn them.


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