In a world of acronyms, abbreviations and hashtags, even the financial planning industry isn’t safe from the pressure to communicate in this way. Two such examples came across my desk recently: HENRY and FIRE. First used 15 years ago, HENRY stands for “high earner, not rich yet”. Even older than HENRY is FIRE, which was first circulated in 1992, and means “financial independence, retire early”. Both have re-gained popularity as millennials find themselves earning more, expanding to dual-income households and reducing debt to manageable levels. How does one combine the two and become a high earner that can retire early? The answer is simple: focus on savings.
Focus on Savings
In financial planning, there is no greater building block for financial freedom than a strong savings mentality. You control all of the pieces in the savings’ game and have the ability to influence the outcome. Think through the following questions: Can you alter your spending to allow for more savings? Probably. Can you prioritize career advancement to generate more income? Sure. Can you invest in a way that minimizes costs, diversifies your holdings and manages volatility? Absolutely. Can you create a plan with goals that you revisit on a regular basis and adjust as necessary? Done and done.
If you continually make progress in those areas, you will soon find yourself viewing retirement as a choice that you manage completely. The retirement of tomorrow will look different from the retirement of yesterday, and we’re already seeing that shift happen in financial planning. Once you achieve financial independence, doors open that you hadn’t even considered before. Suddenly, the lower salary for that open position at a non-profit doesn’t make you so nervous. Or a part-time role consulting for local start-ups that re-energizes you makes you forget about how much you used to make as a senior vice president. In fact, you may never “retire”, but you will have the flexibility to change course and do so without hesitation.
Something as important as your financial future cannot be left to chance. One third of lottery winners file for bankruptcy, and that’s after overcoming incredible odds to even win in the first place! Forget about luck. Instead, invest in yourself to get the promotion and make the extra savings that will get you that much closer to being a #HENRY playing with #FIRE.