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L2F 026 Late Starter FIRE It's Never Too Late to Pursue FI


Show Notes

Our Guest is Late Starter FIRE

  • She lives in Melbourne Australia
  • Works in health services
  • Blogs about FIRE for people who are older
  • Late Starter FIRE (LSF) got interested in FIRE 3 years ago when she realized she didn’t know how much she had saved for retirement. She felt overwhelmed!
  • Her search led her to early retirement blogs some of which described younger people who managed to save enough to retire in 10-15 years. LSF figured the same principles should apply to her and enable her to retire earlier. She decided to go down the FIRE path because there weren’t any better options.
  • LSF managed to pay off her house early thank in part to her mom’s encouragement.
  • Her first step was to focus on optimizing her retirement accounts.
  • When asked about whether she had any self-limiting doubts her response was she didn’t think she was good with money or frugal (she liked to spend – you make money in order to use it).
  • She had to shift her mindset in order to pursue FI.
  • Parent’s advice was to pay off house and save for a rainy day. Saving for retirement was implied.
  • She never specifically told family and friends that she was pursuing FIRE. After 18 months she had a plan and her investments were doing well. So she felt comfortable telling them that she plans to retire at 55.

Her Blog Late Starter FIRE

  • She started her blog LateStarterFIRE to hold herself accountable and because she wanted to add an older voice, i.e. there aren’t many people blogging about starting to pursue FIRE in their 40s.
  • Her blog features a series of other people who have started their pursuit of FI late.
  • One story from her LateStarter series stands out – FrogDancerJones
  • FIRE gives you a framework to help you accelerate your quest for FI
  • Late starters have advantages to help them accelerate:
    1. A lot of life decisions have already been made.
    2. You have more control over your time so you can focus your energy where it does the most good.
    3. If you’ve experienced lifestyle creep over the years, there’s a lot you can cut.
    4. You’re at peak earnings so you can find extra cash to invest.
  • Each person has to find the balance between spending to enjoy today and saving for retirement.
  • It’s prudent to plan because things can happen to derail your work situation and force an unexpected early retirement.

Coast FI

  • Coast FI is when you have enough in your retirement accounts that you no longer need to contribute. The growth of your investments will enable you to fund retirement based on your traditional retirement age. So you only need earn enough to support your current lifestyle. That may enable you to reduce your work hours or find a different job. You can gain more control over your time and more balance.
  • She has achieved coast FI and is reducing her contributions to her retirement savings account and instead investing that money into her outside brokerage account. Otherwise she’s making no other changes at this time.
  • Australia has a national health insurance program called Medicare that is available to everyone. This makes it easier to retire early because finding affordable health insurance in the US can be difficult.
  • In Australia you can purchase private insurance for about $1,000 per year.
  • To help people who are starting out in their pursuit to FIRE, she has produced an action plan which is available on her website (
  • Three steps:
    1. Fact finding – find out your numbers, e.g. net worth.
    2. Set up your control systems – you need a budget and a plan.
    3. Investing
  • LSF plans to retire in 5 years. She asked what advice we have to offer.
    1. Start thinking about how you’re going to spend your time. As much as possible start doing some of those things while you’re still working. (See My 3 Biggest Retirement Challenges)
    2. Use a detailed retirement calculator to customize your plan to your circumstances. Don’t solely rely on the 25X/4% rule.
  • Claire and I have two recommendations to help her have a smooth transition into retirement.
    • Figure out what you want to do with your time and start doing it now before you retire.
    • Create a detailed retirement plan that is customized for your circumstances and include contingency.
  • Her final bit of advice is to get started. Achieving FI is the key part and if you can retire earlier, it’s a bonus.

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