The Best Financial Blogs to Achieve Financial Independence, Retire Early (FIRE)
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We’re frequently asked how we can afford to travel the way we do. The short answer is that we made the choice (thousands of small choices really) a long time ago. The long answer is a bit more complex. Let us explain. For years, our family and friends have asked us the same (repeating) question: “Why don’t you __(fill in the blank)__?” The ‘blank’ can be filled in with just about anything. For example, take your pick from:
- Buy a home
- Go out to dinner
- Go to the movies
- Go shopping
- Go to the spa
- Buy a smoothie or coffee
Those are just a few examples, but we think you get the idea. In our choices and actions, the people close to us have thought we were cheap. We can’t begin to count the number of times we’ve been told “live a little” and “one time or one purchase won’t hurt”. But we kept steady and spent our money frugally (not cheap!). We knew what we wanted and we knew what our next ‘milestone’ was (we prefer ‘milestone’ over ‘dream’ – it’s attainable through hard work, not wishful thinking and luck). So, when our friends were buying a coffee every morning, going to dinner three or four times a week, buying new outfits, and splurging on spa days, we were switching off our hot water heater when we weren’t using it, bringing our lunch to work, going without cable, and going for a picnic instead of dinner and a movie.
People would say that we were ‘sacrificing’ and making due with less. However, we always did, and still do disagree. We’ve always lived happily and comfortably. Don’t get us wrong, there are some choices we’ve made that take some adjustment, but we never continue to do something that makes our lives uncomfortable or unbearable. For example, when we met we both wanted to own a home, but after quite a bit of research, the facts became clear: for us, home ownership wasn’t a wise investment. In our situation, renting wisely and investing in the stock market was likely going to have a higher yield than owning a home. This was hard to adjust to mentally; it’s after all the ‘American Dream' to own a home. After time, the facts over-powered the emotions and now, even emotionally we steer clear of home ownership. In the end, we could end up owning a house at some point, but the math and other variables would need to make sense at that time.
Aspiring Financial Independence
The choice we made to live frugally was powered by a desire to be financially independent and to have the option of retiring early. You may have heard of the FIRE movement (Financial Independence Retire Early), as it's commonly referred to within the Financial Independence community. Think of financial independence as not needing to work because your savings and investments cover your living expenses, however you generally continue to work in some capacity, usually because you find passion or fulfillment in the work you choose to take on. Retiring early on the other hand, is not working at all and instead only living off of savings and investment income. Since the idea of working an office job ‘till we were 62+ and then retiring wasn’t appealing, we set off on a different path to change our lives. We both wanted to be free to live a life of our choosing, to do what we want when we want, and not waiting for our 'golden years' for this freedom. We're at a point that both of us enjoy our work and can do it remotely, so we don't see ourselves retiring anytime soon, although we continue on the path towards financial independence.
If you’re like us, and aspire to reach financial independence, we highly recommend surrounding yourself with like-minded people. We’ve followed several fantastic financial blogs over the years. We find they provide sound advice for people who are just starting on the path to financial independence, as well as advice for those who’ve been living a frugal life for some time, and/or are experienced in investing and saving. Among the many blogs out there, we’ve put together a list of our favorites. Remember that every website has its own ‘flavor’ and style, so follow the one(s) that you connect with and your journey to financial independence will be that much more obtainable and enjoyable!
Best Financial Independence Retire Early (FIRE) Blogs
We consider his blog a foundation to great advice in saving money and achieving financial independence. Mr. Money Mustache can’t be ignored in the realm of financial frugality and savings. He’s one of the founders and leaders in the FIRE space and has been a great cornerstone in our toolbox of finance blogs. If you still need a bit of convincing that you can make it to FIRE, we highly recommend reading The Shockingly Simple Math Behind Early Retirement!
2. Mad Fientist
When it comes to tax strategies for saving money and specifically for retiring early, the Mad Fientist is a must follow blog. Most tax strategy advice revolves around a retirement age of 62 or older. In contrast, Mad Fientist centers his advice and strategies on retiring early and early financial independence. His advice isn’t only topical to anyone wanting financial independence sooner rather than later, but it’s well written and extremely well researched.
More than just facts and advice on reaching financial independence and living frugally, Go Curry Cracker is a blog with a story we love to follow. In reading the story you’ll learn how Jeremy and Winnie reached financial and location independence and have saved tens of thousands of dollars in so many aspects of their lives. The blog is well written and full of great advice and facts, and it's told in a way that inspires us to do and be better.
Our Next Life not only gives great advice and tips to retiring early, but also explores the bigger questions, theories, and ideas behind finances and everything that comes along with early retirement. Follow this husband and wife as they work their way towards early retirement and no matter where you’re in your own journey, be cheered on by them and their community of followers. One of our favorite tools from their website, that we recommend to everyone who asks us about early retirement is, 10 Critical Questions to Answer Before You Make The Leap to Early Retirement.
Financial Independence isn’t just about making and saving money, it’s about making smarter choices that align your lifestyle with your goals. Afford Anything is a blog that explores lifestyle relative to financial goals with one important motto in mind: You can afford anything, just not everything. So follow Paula as she explores this idea as it applies to not only money, but also your time and energy.
This isn’t the financial website you may be used to. Don’t come here to find a fine-tuned recipe for getting out of debt, a list of must-do ways of saving money, or in-depth instructions on investing. Instead, come here to get excited about financial independence! J. Money’s purpose with this site is to help people, especially those just starting out, to be aware of how they spend money. Getting excited, having fun, and being inspired will accelerate your journey to achieving your financial goals as nothing else will. Budgets Are Sexy is a necessary read!
7. Skint Dad
There are three ways to have more money: make more, save more, or spend less. The key to financial independence is doing all three. Skint Dad has great tips for the budgeting and saving more parts of the equation. While it’s written from the perspective of a father, this United Kingdom based site is great for dads, parents, and anyone who wants to be better off financially. It’s a popular UK financial site that gives readers tips and advice on saving money. With the motto “Every Penny Counts”, you can save money on your mortgage, groceries, and daily living by following the tips found here.
With a goal of retiring in 1,500 days, Mr. 1500 tracked his progress for the world to see. Just a couple of reads into this blog and you may find yourself hooked on the stories of his family, what it means to be financially independent, and the dash of wit he adds to each post. He may have already made it to 'Freedom', but his journey was full of gems that may help you along your own path to financial independence, so don't overlook going back and catching up from the beginning! Additionally, jump right into the great community he's built, read his latest inspirational posts, and enjoy his everyday, real-life writing style. Plus, don't miss the "Anti-Bucket List"!
Some consider him extreme, others consider him wise. Early Retirement Extreme (ERE) is a site to visit for clear, informative posts on how to retire early. This isn’t the blog to follow for an on-going story of the founders journey to ERE, but truth be told, it's why we recommend it. Jacob's approach was different than most, he wrote everything he had on the subject that he thought added value, and then stopped. We appreciate his direct approach, and his honesty. With that comes great articles that offer (extreme) strategies for retiring early and reaching financial independence.
Along with a fantastic blog name, Eat The Financial Elephant is a great blend of strategy, opinion, and experience. While reading financial blogs written by people who’ve saved a ridiculous amount of money and retired younger than you might be today, this blog aims to conquer financial goals one bite at a time, no matter how huge (elephant size!) they are.
Update: To our dismay, Eat The Financial Elephant is no longer active. Although not all is lost! Chris has transitioned to a new project and now regularly writes at Can I Retire Yet.
We can’t consider this list complete without including Radical Personal Finance. While it’s more of a podcast than a blog, Joshua offers strategies that are much more than inspirational. The letters after his name (Joshua Sheats, MSFS, CFP, CLU, ChFC, CASL, CAP, RHU, REBC) will leave you feeling a bit under educated, but it won’t take long following him to know you’re in good hands. The best part is, his shows aren’t the usual general information that beg to go deeper but never do. Because the topics he dives into are specific, you’ll get great and detailed information revolving around exactly what you need. Check the website for podcasts organized by categories for whatever stage of financial independence you’re in.
We've compiled a list of blogs with different viewpoints and different financial strategies, and as in any community, there are varying strategies and opinions. When we come across new ideas, we always take it upon ourselves to evaluate each opinion, statement, and strategy on its own merit and judge for ourselves if it’s something worth applying or trying in our life. We recommend you do the same. We, along with the sites recommended here, aren’t financial advisers and can’t provide financial advice, only opinions and personal experiences, but we hope you find the informaiton useful!
This is in no way a complete list. Let us know if you have a favorite financial blog or website out there. We’d love to check it out!