“FIRE” – Meet “DREC” Retirement

Categories : Financial, News
July 19, 2023
In 2019, on the Van Wie Financial Hour radio program, we reported on a spreading phenomenon known as “FIRE,” for “Financial Independence Retire Early.” In cultlike-like instructional guides, FIRE proponents attempt to entice people into a utopian world of carefree decades of cushy retired life, beginning in early or middle-age. To me, this is a component of the “Big Lie” Americans are being fed on a daily basis by money-grubbing gurus, most of whom probably retired too early.

The FIRE movement tells people they can retire at age 40, 50, or even 60. Studying the literature on FIRE from the zealots (who claim to have all the answers) reveals that a successful FIRE candidate must go to WORK! We’re not talking about volunteering, but a real paid endeavor; even a “side hustle.” Apparently, when doing something you enjoy, it is not considered by FIRE to constitute work, much less a new career. Instead, it is supposed to provide some kind of self-fulfillment, justifying the cut in pay. Think of it as a paid hobby.

I have a better idea. My concept is called “DREC,” for “Delay Retirement Extend Careers.” DREC offers a path toward the real financial goal of most people – true Financial Independence.

Under DREC, a young worker who enjoys his or her occupation and career path should set a retirement goal of Financial Independence. Physical age is only relevant for insurance planning and Social Security claiming purposes.

Don’t enjoy your current job? Change now and work until you are financially prepared.

Wasting years in a “going nowhere” situation, and meanwhile skimping and saving pennies toward an unrealistic FIRE goal, makes for unhappy and unsuccessful lives. People will always require food, clothing, shelter, and a wide variety of expensive non-luxuries (including taxes). Financial Independence requires our nest eggs to be sufficient to cover a lifetime of expenses.

DREC (Delay Retirement Extend Careers) will yield a significant improvement in your probability of achieving true financial independence. If your only goal is early retirement, chances are you’ll be working forever, only not by choice. FIRE may be trendy, but DREC is practical.

Van Wie Financial is fee-only. For a reason.