Okay, so you're saying that FI is a SWR that can take you to your grave while providing you with the lifestyle you desire to lead.
Well yes....what more do you need than that...
Right, I agree. But that contrasts with the "only rule" of MMM-style retirement is that passive income
from your assets is able to support you to your grave. If all you need is a SWR (even on principal that doesn't pay interest), the "only rule" becomes unnecessary.
MMM is saying FI is
hav[ing] sufficient savings (or other assets) that you could live indefinitely off the passive income they provide, [such that] these savings must give you the freedom to realize that any work you do is totally optional.
I like that definition too but again that would fall under that category of saving to much and giving up more of your life for the sake of infinite safety. Aside from that, I don't think he would think of himself as FI then as his whole history/lifestyle has been based on flexibility - cut spending temporarily, work more temporarily - he described this very premise in several posts specifically in discussion the 4% SWR and when the meltdown happened. To me I don't want to have to work under any foreseeable circumstance - and the thought cutting/working is a best a fallback plan for a doomsday scenario, at which time I probably wouldn't be able to get work anyway so it would be a moot point.
Sure. I think this is the meeting-point between the semantic considerations and the "more important issue" of credibility that Lagom
have alluded to. The concept of financial independence in FIRE communities has baked within it certain presumptions about the future. We can talk all we want about likelihoods for the future based on past performance and make predictions based on present circumstances, but if claiming to be FI entails claiming to have enough capital to support one's lifestyle to the grave (which may or may not include leaving an inheritance), it's to some degree disingenuous to behave as if FI is truly predicated of anyone currently living, since we don't know what the future holds. FI is at best provisionally
predicated of those who are currently able to support their lifestyles without working. But the confidence, optimism, and bravado with which MMM presents an FI lifestyle gives some the impression that FI can be
truly predicated of himself and other individuals, and so becomes a prime target for charges of charlatanism. Wrong though the criticism may be, it's not altogether misplaced, simply because FI is
and must be
provisionally predicated. The FIRE community doesn't have any illusions about this; hence Monte Carlo Simulations, Networthify, and other analytic tools that we use in planning for a variety of future circumstances.
Perhaps a better strategy for dealing with IRP, then, is to explicitly point out the provisional nature of the FI label. After all, it's not unlike a zillion other facets of our lives. The hunt for certainty is largely an exercise in futility, and the desire for total safety is an expensive illusion
[MMM] also cited this:
“Retired” means you no longer have to work for money, and you are aware of this fact. You can then proceed to do whatever you want, as long as you do it consciously and of your own accord. If you meet this condition, and you feel retired, congratulations, you are.
Right. And the "only rule" was a clarification of the concept of "no longer hav[ing] to work for money." So if the "only rule" places some limitation on that concept which leads to the exclusion of the definition pertaining to an instance of retirement, the definition becomes too narrow to capture the meaning of the term "retirement."
I like your definition of FI. Combine that with MMM's definition of retirement (when retirement is understood as an ability) and it removes the narrowness issue.I can agree with that.
Our work is done here. Close down the thread. tooqk and I agree. :-)