C’mon Baby, Light my FIRE!

C’mon Baby, Light my FIRE!

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This entire journey is rather new to us, but when an idea resonates so strongly and we believe it can actually work, it takes hold in your mind and soul in a way that you just can’t shake it off. That is when it is the most powerful, when realisation hits you in the core. When the pragmatism of the concept seeps into your core.

What is FIRE to us? I write this post as I listen to The Doors – Light My Fire cos am kooky that way 🙂 FIRE is living life on our terms. Living life with an option rather than the norm of having to work hard till we reach the official retirement age and then with our worn body, explore life. FIRE is being able to do what we would like to do, right now, when our body is at it’s best. FIRE is living life with purpose and passion, intentionally and deliberately. Not waiting for when we have more time to uncover what makes us tick. I can go on with this list of what FIRE is to us, clearly! Instead I will succinctly sum up FIRE for us:

Living Life on Our Terms

We all will have different terms but the same basic needs like having food on the table, a roof above our heads and feeling safe. Everything else then differs from person to person. For some people, going the full scale on the career path is their terms. For some, a certain square footage is required to live. To each, their own. Life is a pursuit of happiness and happiness means different things to different people.

What are our terms? Here’s a visual representation:

SC’s Life Goals!

After coming up with this, I tied it back to Tony Robbin’s 6 Core Human Needs to be happy (am an avid follower and a NLP Practitioner so I subscribe to this thinking as well). Post FI, RE for us will be say, from age 35 onwards till the end of our time. We need to ensure our basic needs are met to continue living life happily. As long as we have some activities within the 6 Core Human Needs that is individual to us, we’ll be good. This is the same even if we are working and did not have FIRE on the horizon. More on that later!

Make a Difference

There’s a story of JFK and the janitor at NASA that goes like this:

During a visit to the NASA space center in 1962, President John F. Kennedy noticed a janitor carrying a broom. He interrupted his tour, walked over to the man and said, “Hi, I’m Jack Kennedy. What are you doing?”

“Well, Mr. President,” the janitor responded, “I’m helping put a man on the moon.”

He could have answered he was cleaning the building, which would be equally accurate! What we do, regardless of scale, is all tied to purpose. Great companies come up with taglines and mission statements that ties in with a larger purpose. Dyson doesn’t say they make fans, they say their mission is to make things that work better. The point am driving is that every one of us has a purpose and is making a difference in the role we are doing, however elusive that purpose & impact might seem to us at times. The questions that then become pertinent is:

  • Is that the kind of difference you want to make?
  • How much more of difference do you want to make?
  • How much closer to the impact do you want to be?

For Mr.C and I, we want to be much closer to the impact. We’re not on the conspiracy side of the fence that we don’t trust the big organisations, nor do we trust them completely. We just rather see for ourselves what we are doing and think creatively how we can deploy our skill-sets to help the community. We have a natural draw to children and education and well, we live in Asia where there’s plenty of room to help.

Ergo, we do make a difference in our work right now, but not quite as we would like.

Family Time

This hit us hard when CocoJr #1 was born. He’s only a baby for such a short few years and we’re away from him! I could not stomach having this little boy who is my heart, being taken care of by a childcare centre or a helper (in Singapore, we roll maid and nanny into 1 role and person typically). Being taken care of by anyone other than his parents! Grandparents, I could stomach for a bit, but not for long as well. “He’s our child, we should be with him” was all that I could keep thinking!

I am forever grateful to Mr.C and how we work as a team to have been able to be with him from the age of 9 months till 2 years. Now that CoCoJr #2 is due any week now, we’ve come back to the same conclusion that it is best for me to be at home with both the boys. Now there’s going to be hairy moments for sure and it is somewhat daunting but I wouldn’t have it any other way except I wish that Mr.C could be with us for he’s an amazing father, however FIRE has not quite kicked in yet!

This is where I wish we started earlier or we were able to sock away more in savings to be able to align our timelines of FIRE with when the children are young. In fact with me stopping work in a few months, our FIRE timeline is delayed as we’re losing some valuable savings and investment growth. But hey, it is what it is and we make the best of it.

With our current timelines, Mr.C would be able to retire in 2019 which still gives us some years with the kids before they start heading off to primary school or perhaps we’ll home-school them. Still much better than no option to spend time with them at all apart from after office hours and the weekend!

Wanting to spend time with family is a sentiment I see a lot with the working mother community here in Singapore (and am sure all over the world!). The reason most do not have the option, which is the reason childcares are always full in Singapore and have a waiting list of over a year, is that financially independence has not been attained or even closely examined perhaps. As a family unit, 1 salary does not provide enough and the financial planning for the years ahead does not work out. Here’s where I think a closer look may be required in terms of lifestyle design which is what FIRE is. What is important and a must have which would provide the ‘enough’ number? What kind of investments do you have in place or can start putting in place to start building towards that ‘enough’ number? It helps that we have designed our lifestyles such that we don’t spend too much every month, we try to keep our monthly number between $4-5k. How? More on that later as we start some serious tracking and sharing.  

Personal Interests

I actually believe that we get so caught up in life that we don’t spend time thinking about what truly makes us happy. What would we do if he had free time? I had to think hard what I liked to do as a child as it’s been ages since I’ve done it! I asked Mr.C what is my interest as I had a rather short list, which I attribute to simply not spending time to think about it and do it! Not being mindful or deliberate!

We shuttle between work and back then get into the groove of housework and caring for the child. Somewhere in between, we can still respond to work. Once the child is asleep, we’re still finishing up bits of work (be it office work or housework) and having a chat with each other. Sometimes we watch a movie. Not really pursuing a passion I would say!

As it stands, we have broad areas that we will pursue more as we go along as we firmly believe FIRE is not the beginning of the lifestyle we want. The lifestyle we want, should start now, in whatever form it can! FIRE enables us to fully indulge it in but life should start right now and that way we can enjoy the journey even more!

In line with that thinking, Mr.C has started sailing and we’ve both always been quite entrepreneurial so we discuss ideas quite often. Where it makes sense, we go all in. At this stage we’ve had 3 small businesses already and 1 of which we sold last year when I started work full time again. Mr.C has 1 in the pipelines right now which is uber exciting!

Slow Travel the World

We don’t just want to tick a box to say, we’ve been there! We want to experience the place. If we like it, we’ll stay on for a bit more. If we don’t, then we move along to the next. Travelling on the limited vacation days we get in a year doesn’t quite allow for the kind of travel we want.

It’s been said you only truly know a place when you live there. Living somewhere vs. being there for a week on holiday puts you in a different mind-frame and gives you a different experience.

There is just so many places that we want to go, so many places that we don’t even know exist just yet but would love to discover.

Slow travelling, to us, allows us truly soak it all up. In addition to exploring a place, we love exploring local supermarkets and wet markets and cooking while we’re travelling. Mr.C has some ideas for a Youtube cooking channel – park that under personal interests!

Your turn! What’s life on your terms if you could have it? Don’t filter your thoughts, just lay it out and then establish a plan to do it. Even baby steps marks progress and can give immense satisfaction!

Author: Ms.K

Ms.K is everything that Mr.C is, without the natural interest in investing and company financials! The activity planner for the family, the driver of random ideas and soon to be ‘retiring’ in to full time motherhood – Ms.K has no idea what she’s in for but remains super excited!

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13 Replies to “C’mon Baby, Light my FIRE!”

  1. Your remind me of Go Curry Cracker. It would be great to see your pull off selling the flat, quitting the jobs and then travelling the world with two kids in tow. Your will be a great example for aspiring locals to emulate!

    I will be popping by often!

    1. Thanks for coming by and we absolutely love your blog! Yes GCC was what got me around when Mr.C started this conversation, to see it was possible with a child! We’re uber excited for the next few years as we further cement our financials and build towards eventual FIRE. We certainly hope that we can inspire others and close friends to at least achieve partial FI as we’ve been in so many conversations with locals getting laid off. The future of the white collar worker is going through changes and uncertainty, it would be wise to have a solid back-up plan!

      Look forward to see you around more too, I’ve given Mr.C a nudge to post some of his viewpoints and investing philosophy which would make good reading 😀

  2. Your goal resonates a lot with me in terms of FIRE, kids and also the slow traveling part. Great to know someone with same thinking and mindset.

    1. Thanks for popping by! I do believe a lot of us want the same things in life, it’s only a few of us that see this is a viable option and invest in making it work. It’s a common office lunch-time topic isn’t it – wish I had more time etc. Well the proof is in the pudding, let’s make it work in the Asian context 😀

      Hope to see you around more!

  3. Very inspiring. Keen to read more about your roadmap to FIRE at this age. Recently started conversations with my Wife about the same too – starting to get her interested so we can jointly plan and execute towards partial FI first, then full FI subsequently.

    1. Hi JF

      Thanks for dropping by. Glad to see you’re taking action to involve your wife in the discussions early. I kind of made the mistake of thinking of FIRE for some time until one day I told Ms. K….then she went “Why didn’t you tell me earlier!!!! I don’t know why you don’t communicate with me!!!” Haha, okay that’s only partially true.

      Anyway, we haven’t done a real post about how we got to where we are today (too long for a comment), but our plan for the future is in the Our Grand Plan! post. The short answer to how we got here today is (i) forced savings, (ii) lucky investments, and (iii) stumbling on the FIRE movement which really accelerated our progress because our spending/saving became more deliberate and we optimised our life.

      Check back soon for our post on our financial back story. 😀

      1. Hi Mr C,
        Thanks for sharing.
        How does your FIRE ambition affect your daily work?
        Does it motivate you to go to work so you can make the money needed to realise FIRE by your target date?
        Or does it make the going to work feeling more dreary (cos at the back of the mind, you want the freedom to do what you deem impt in life)?
        Or doesn’t it vary from day to day?

        Just curious if you don’t mind sharing.


        1. JF

          That’s an interesting question. The answer is that my feelings about work normally waxes and wanes anyway. I’m sure everyone experiences good days and bad days at work (and in life). Once we discovered FIRE, we naturally felt like “damn, I should have FIRE’d yesterday!!!”….we just couldn’t wait. So yes there’s that feeling of impatience, occasionally leading to thoughts like….”ah, if I was retired I wouldn’t need to travel to work in this rain” or wishing we could be home to take care of CocoJr#1 when he was sick. Sometimes, it may lead to me taking things more easily rather than going all out to prove myself at work.

          But you know what, I find that having a FIRE plan may also provide you with a peace of mind in approaching work. Because now you know that there’s light at the end of the corporate tunnel. Because now, even if a person doesn’t get that desired pay increase (which you should always go for if its fair), he/she can say “it’s fine…according to my FIRE plan, I’m gonna be out the door in XX years anyway”. Or, you may work even harder to deserve your pay increase because you can quantify how much faster it helps you on your FIRE journey. On challenging days, having the FIRE goal keeps you motivated because you know you need to continue performing at work for a certain period..and after that you can choose to leave if you wish, and it’s not an uphill climb forever.

          I tend to be an optimist, so I think that we are in control of our emotions to a large extent. Hope you find my quick thoughts useful. 🙂

          1. Yes, thanks for the quick thoughts. Clear, succinct and structured. Makes me wonder if you are in the consulting or similar industry that hones that style of thinking and communicating. =p

          2. Haha, I’m never gonna tell!!! *runs away*

            But yes this form of communication was developed through work. See, it’s not all bad! 😀 Plus you get a salary!

          3. Haha, yeah, some jobs are great in the sense that you are expected to learn new things quickly and constantly and you get paid well to do so!

            Anyhow, I’ll be following your journey. Jiayou (to us both)! =)

    1. Hey sleepydevil

      We’re humbled at the thought that we can inspire others with our sharing on this blog. It truly is a wonderful thing once you’ve set your mind to it. Do drop by often and contribute to the discussions! Happy to see a young person like you embark on the journey to financial freedom early. Having said that, patience is key and enjoy the journey!

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