FI, commonly known in the personal finance world is a term that is short for “financial independence”. This has become a movement full of people who want to get in control of their financial lives and through that, day to day schedules. In my opinion, it is absolutely awesome in theory.
To clearly mark the different “levels of FI”, followers of the movement have coined terms which correspond with certain levels of wealth. This is where we hit the problem portion, the sad part. I don’t mean to say by any means that someone being at even the lowest point of financial independence is sad – but it is disheartening to see people locking themselves into a life of extremely low spending just so they no longer have to live with any kind of gainful employment.
FatFire is referred to as the current maximum, some people also like to say morbidly obese fire as well. That would be a net worth (investable assets) exceeding 3M. Using the widely agreed upon “4% rule”, 3M would yield an annual income of $120,000 without dilution. Not bad at all, but not really true financial freedom by any stretch. This isn’t the one I’m trying to address though.
Standard “FI” would usually be investable assets around 1M, this can vary depending on where you live but imagine an income of $40,000. With a family, that wouldn’t be much to write home about. But a single individual in lower cost of living areas might have a decent existence on this.
Lean “FI”, those who try to live on it. This is the deprivation mode that bothers me, and I would like to rename it as “Single ply FI”. When your budget is so scarce that only the worst single-ply toilet paper can be purchased for your household. Hold the “finer” things in life even in the bathroom, Cottonelle and Charmin need not apply. This is the sad one to me, and I mean that if this is all you aspire to in life – not if this is a stopping point on your journey.
What I’ve personally noticed through a number of different FB groups and forums is that these people are almost always just angry at the world. Likely, at least in large part, due to the self imposed sentence of lifelong deprivation. These people are easy to spot, it’s almost always via a negative post that condemns success and true wealth. These people are sad, and it’s quite frankly sad to see them posting negativity over and over again. To the point that I have unfollowed or largely ignored the popular FB groups such as “ChooseFi”. The ChooseFi guys have great attitudes, and a great podcast, but their group is fast becoming a race to the bottom of what life has to offer and it’s sad to witness.
These posts may glorify that rare NFL player who makes millions but drives a beater car only. It could be a post about the latest major league ballplayers contract and “how many teachers/police/fire salaries would fit inside of his pay per game” or something along those lines. It’s safe to say that EVERY sane human in North America greatly values our teachers/police/firefighters for doing what they do at the pay level it is done at…. But why do you have to hate the outliers who have become extremely successful financially? It literally does nothing but spread negativity to make these posts, and even worse when others pile on to discuss how they hate success as well.
The single ply mentality acts as if money is a finite thing, which is just not the case. The global economy is ever expanding over the long term, NOBODY is stuck. The Bureau of Engraving and Printing produces 38 million notes a day with a face value of approximately $541 million. That is the US alone! We are simply talking about paper there, but hopefully, it drives home the point that finite is something money simply isn’t. Because one group has a great deal, that doesn’t mean you can’t succeed at all.
Personally, a kid who grew up in the 80’s/90’s, excess was something that those around me aspired to. We had the Lamborghini posters on our walls. If we were lucky enough to see an exotic car at a gas station we didn’t think “what an a**hole” or “that guy is ruining lives or stealing to get that”… What WE thought was “WOW. That car is amazing” and if we were lucky enough to strike up even a short conversation the first question was “What do you do for a living if you don’t mind me asking?”. We didn’t ask this to “hate” on the individual, NOOOOO WAY, rather we just wanted to know how he did it… hoping to glimmer of how we could reach the same level of success one day.
The single ply FI mentality is void of all those.
The America I want my kids to grow up in is an aspirational one. A hopeful one. Not one full of negativity and blame that does literally no good for anybody.
Andy Frisella from 1st Phorm inspired this post, if you don’t already follow him on Instagram I would highly recommend doing so. The man is a successful entrepreneur and motivational speaker that elevates those around him on a daily basis.
This post isn’t meant to “slam” the single ply people, but if you are looking every day on where to cut your budget and never focusing on abundance I am CERTAIN you are missing out on the best life has to offer you.
Let’s do the math
Calculate your mortgage or work with the compound interest to see what it can do to expedite your wealth building.