The problem I have with the numbers in the F.I.R.E. community is that they have never applied to me.
Now I'm not saying they won't apply to many of the adherents and maybe even most of them.
The first thing is the terminology. Like 'lean'.
This gives the impression of an emaciated person that is not eating enough, a minimalist that has nothing or a frugal person that is 'taking out' things from his list of wants and needs and going without.
The second thing is the numbers. I subscribe to the idea that numbers don't lie, but they can be misleading.
For example many know that statistics can be manipulated to make a point.
For me for example, and this is just one example, I calculated my net expense over a thirty year period for 'health care' has been $77 per year. This is for a family of 5.
Does that make me lean?
A fat fire person might talk about spending $15,000 to $27,000 per year on just that figure. Does that make them wrong? Of course not.
It's where they are in life and it's what they know and understand so far.
Clearly this is not a conversation about health insurance. It's about numbers and what you believe has a direct effect on your number, keeping in mind that people's beliefs are a constantly evolving paradigm.
My situation is the direct result of having achieved FI at a normally understood very young age of my mid 20's.
This has allowed me a lot more time on my hands than people that are still working trying to achieve a high number,
and one of the things I did with that time is spend it learning more about what it takes to be a healthy person, and how to take care of my health in the event things aren't going according to plan.
I'm not advocating everyone do this, it's just part of my real life example,
which according to some personal finance bloggers shaved off anywhere from $400,000 to $1.3 million off of a retirement figure on 4% or 2% for early fat fires lifetime safe withdrawal rules for just that one thing.
In the interest of brevity, I will leave it at that one exaple for this post, but there are many other things I could talk about.
The bottom line is that because I achieved FI earlier I was also able to figure out how to do it even better without any 'lean' in my lifestyle.
Without any judgement, I'm saying the end result is the same or better than someone that thinks they have to keep working so they can amass a very high number so they can...etc...etc...etc...
Take a look at the picture, that's my wife and I in the middle of the week swimming in our pool, and we did this every day though out the long southern summer months, from June through September.
I'm sure that was better for my health than sitting at a desk 50 hours per week for another 10 or 20 years.
If someone wants to call it lean, well, they are entitled to their opinion. Numbers don't lie but figures mislead.
Be careful who you listen to, and congratulations on being in a supportive group of people that want to figure out how to do it earlier and better.