At the start of a new year, big questions and good intentions are par for the course, whether it's a desire to pursue a new hobby, improve fitness, or cut down on those vices. Budgeting is always high on the list too, which begs the question: if you didn't have to work for a living, what would your life look like? This question lies at the heart of a personal finance movement that has been gaining momentum in recent years.
Financially Independent / Retire Early, or FIRE, is all about getting smart with your money by building up savings and investments that can, in theory, generate enough income to allow you to live life on your own terms.
There’s a simple framework to follow: create (and stick to!) a budget, reduce outgoings where you can, pay off debts, and once that’s done, increase your income and siphon off a percentage of your earnings into high-yield savings and investments.
Of course, financial freedom is a privileged pursuit and not everyone has the option to save each month but learning the basics of money management and putting away what you can is a great start because, as the saying goes, every little helps.
These days, FIRE has gained a broader definition that puts the emphasis on “financial independence”, so it's really up to you whether you want to retire early to pursue new passions or keep your job but move to a more flexible way of working. Either way, we've gathered a selection of books to help you find purpose, redesign your life and, of course, get smarter with your money so you can gain control of your life.
Change your mindset
Nuture your finances
Increase your income
Design your dream life
Image: Ryan MacEachern / Penguin