Will Early Retirement Ruin the Economy?

A lovely journalist named Patty interviewed me recently about the FIRE (Financial Independence Early Retirement) community and the rapid growth of the movement. She is very interested and supportive of the idea but asked an honest question from the view point of HR departments and companies: “Is this FIRE movement going to ruin the economy as the best and brightest jump ship from corporate life?”

 

Hmmm…good question.

First let’s look at who these FIRE folks really are and the traits they share in common. In the most general brush strokes, those I have gotten to know in this community posses these characteristics:

Exceptionally intelligent

Driven, tenacious, steadfast

Committed, dedicated to goals

Creative, innovative, imaginative

Creators, builders, dreamers, inventors

Those combined traits are what make achieving early retirement possible. Often these people are the very best and brightest.

 What exactly are we bankrupting by leaving the 9-5?

There will be a huge brain drain in the work force as the best and brightest pack their bags and leave the standard 9-5. But the only losers will be inflexible companies unwilling to adapt.

The loss will be for companies who fail to recognize and accommodate a new generation’s desire to grow, challenge, create, and have a meaningful lasting impact. The best and brightest will keep expenses low, grow the gap between their expenses and income, and invest the difference. Once the FIRE crowd no longer needs the income benefit from their job, companies that have nothing else to offer will be abandoned.

 

Where will the best and brightest go?

 

When we no longer need any income or much income, FIRE workers start pouring all our driven, creative, innovation energy into other places.

We might get snagged up by start up companies.

We might create start ups or small businesses of our own.

We might take to writing, blogging, books, art or music.

We might pour own energy into volunteer work or start new non profits.

We might make our families a priority and funnel our time into traveling, exploring, or investing in the public school system.

 

Inflexible business’ will be bankrupted of the best talent, but our society will be richly rewarded.

 

FIRE workers will find the kinds of work where they can create the most impact, leveraging their unique skills, passions, and personality.

Because we no longer need a high paying job to cover our mortgage (we probably already paid that off!), we can find the most exciting, meaningful, impactful use of our time.

No ones keeps expenses low, rapidly grows their income, and invests all the difference in order to watch Netflix 10 hours a day during their “early retirement.”

 

Is it possible for corporations to woo FIRE talent back?

 

I think so. But bean bag chairs and free food won’t cut it.

 There needs to be a respect and acknowledgment that this 9-5 isn’t our entire life, hope and dreams. We have other big dreams. Dreams that don’t fit into a long weekend. We want to hike the Appalachian Trail. Travel through South East Asia. Code a new cutting edge app. Write a book. Travel with our family. Renovate or build a home. Volunteer overseas.

Companies who are in dire need of the best and brightest can attract and hold on to this talent by meeting them half way.

10% more paid vacation, usable in 3-12 month chunks.

That’s it. After 2.5 years, we could take 3 months off. Or bank it to take longer mini retirements. 6 months after 5 years. Or 1 year after 10 years of work.

If we know that every 2.5 years we can take 3 months off, we will sit still and get some work done. As people return from their adventures, the excitement will motivate workers who are closing in on their own adventures.

In every stretching, challenging experience, we grow as people. The employee that comes back will not only be better rested, but full of fresh creativity and insights. That energy and excitement is contagious. 

After I published my PDF guide “6 simple steps to taking a year off every decade,” I asked a few other FIRE writers if they thought corporations would ever adopt HR practices to help facilitate these kinds of mini-retirements. Let’s just say the FIRE crowd is a cynical bunch.

I think the smart companies will adjust to the needs of the upcoming workforce. As the FIRE movement grows across the US, smart, innovative companies will want to attract and hold on to this kind of talent longer. The most committed FIRE advocates might not stay forever, but the “one more year” syndrome will work in a companies favor if they generously sprinkle in 3 month mini-retirements.

In just the main demographic of my audience (24-40 years old), I would say 75% would stay an extra 5-10 years if they had been given 3 months leave every 2.5 years.

Here is the crazy thing. The FIRE crowd would foot most of the bill… gladly. If companies would implement small shifts in accounting and HR practices, we would happily trade an extra 10% of pay for this benefit. We only need three more things. 1. Promise us our old job back (or something similar) and 2. Let us keep our health care. 3. Celebrate and encourage us to dream big for that time away. Let us excitedly plan it. And talk all about it when we get back. Make it a big deal. Post our travel photos up around the office. Whatever you do, don’t give it begrudgingly. Or make us feel bad for taking it.

This kind of policy would dramatically shift a few things:

  1. Companies would attract the creative, innovative, committed workers
  2. Companies would retain the best and brightest longer
  3. The excitement and innovation would spread as these big dreams are celebrated
  4. Work sharing (during the mini retirements) would give younger workers the professional challenge and growth opportunities they are craving

We didn’t seek out FIRE because it’s an easy path. For most of us it meant 10+ years of saving 40-70% of our income. We do it because it’s seems to be the only option to achieve our personal goals and dreams.

Give us a better option. And we might take it.

Or don’t. Then sit back and watch all the cool things we do with our FIRE life. Your loss will be societies gain.

For Conversation:

If you would have had 3 months for every 2.5 years, what kinds of things would you have done?

If you had competing job offers $55k a year vs $50k a year with 3 months paid leave every 2.5 years, which would you have taken when you were in your 20’s? Plus you knew about all the really cool things other employees had done with their time off because the company bragged about that all the time.

At this point, do you think it would make it harder to walk away from a company that facilitated, encouraged and celebrated the contributions we make outside of the company?

If you work in/influence HR or want to chat more about implementing these ideas, shoot me an email. I heart HR. montanamoneyadventures@gmail.com

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48 thoughts on “Will Early Retirement Ruin the Economy?

  1. Totally agreed. Society and the economy aren’t going to collapse if the early retirement movement takes off. If anything, resources will be allocated more efficiently toward the things that actually drive happiness and meaning. I’ve never been averse to going back to “work” in some form (hence the name of my blog). But I am averse to going back to a work-all-day-and-night-with-no-meaningful-vacations workplace. That life-dominating type of environment? No thanks. Employers that recognize the huge value of flexibility (whether it’s 4-day work weeks, project-based 80% time, or frequent sabbaticals) will be the ones that win talent.

    • the work-all-day-and-night-with-no-meaningful-vacations workplace. That life-dominating type of environment? ” Yup. Those will be the companies that lose out on the best and brightest. I know for sure I will never work that job. Mr. Mt will never work that job. Smarter companies will adapt. I can’t wait to walk the halls of a company and instead of hotel art, or images of their products I see pictures of their people on the walls. Images of families traveling through national parks. Pictures of employees building schools overseas or habit for humanity homes. Pictures of workers doing the ground breaking on a community garden. A celebration of the fact the company is bigger than the product it makes, but it made up of creative, talented, dedicated people who are changing the world in their own small ways. I might work for that company…part time. =)

  2. I love the comment you made about people who walk away from a 9-5 becoming a more productive asset to society as opposed to a drain. I agree that once bright, intelligent, ambitious people walk away from a corporate job it frees them up to work on projects that truly peak their interest and allow them to do work they find meaningful. I think the value that these people will bring to society as a whole will far outweigh the sub-optimal value they’re currently providing as a cog in the wheel at an office.

    • I think it will be a huge boost for society. I have a matching post coming about how I will always work but FI gives me the freedom to tap into my own skill set, passions, story and personality in a way that greatly increases my leverage for good. Plus we can tackle more work that is often less stable, profitable or lacking benefits because we see the potential but are in dire need of the money.

  3. It’s a moot point because the FIRE community is such a minuscule portion of the population.
    I disagree with how the companies should change. Sure, more vacation and time off would be nice, but the real problem is all other BS I had to put up with when I was working. If I could work on just the things I wanted to, I’d still be at work. There is just so much overhead at corporations these days. Endless meetings, projects that I didn’t agree with, the relentless drive for more productivity, taking on more responsibilities, etc… Companies won’t ever change because they can just hire new people who is willing to deal with that kind of stuff. More time off just isn’t enough. We need a better working environment that doesn’t put so much emphasis on productivity and share price. IMO…

    • “Companies won’t ever change because they can just hire new people who is willing to deal with that kind of stuff.” I totally agree that a lot of companies face various issues! And the companies that refuse to adapt will just keep having to hire new people, but won’t be able to attract the best kind of talent.
      “Endless meetings, projects that I didn’t agree with, the relentless drive for more productivity, taking on more responsibilities, etc…” Mr. Mt and I have both put up with that kind of job! But I’ve also had some good experiences with companies who were much closer to hitting the mark. I worked for Starbucks and REI and both are doing some really cool, innovative things. The companies that really need highly effective, creative and driven people will be smart to create a work space that promotes those things instead of tries to kill the very qualities they were after. When companies let us do the work that we are best at, and honors the other areas of our life I think they will find the productivity and share price will reflect that. Plus I never got why so many company make meetings=productivity. =) Ugh.

    • “We need a better working environment that doesn’t put so much emphasis on productivity and share price. IMO…”

      I don’t disagree with the general comment about inefficiency and red tape inherent in large organizations, but the whole point of for profit businesses is to increase profits for shareholders. In fact, executive management and boards of directors are obligated to do so. Increasing productivity/decreasing expenses (including labor costs) = maximizing profits (generally speaking). I think it’s possible to support initiatives and adopt policies that provide for a better work environment and still increase shareholder value. A focus on increasing shareholder value isn’t inherently wrong or evil.

      • I think the frustration about focusing on “productivity and share price” is that it is often gone about in a backward way. It seems productivity often means spending even more time and more energy on more low value activities with below average results rather than picking a few things that really move the needle and doing them exceptionally well. I think most people in the FIRE crowd would rather doing a few things that really leverage their skill and talent so that they can create a huge impact for the company. There are often $5 ideas and $10,000 ideas. Working on a 100 $5 ideas , often leaves no room for the $10,000 idea.

        I’ve seen smart companies create space for the $10,000 ideas even in task based work. Starbucks let’s employees experiment with creating drinks and make as many as they want for free. Baristas can submit any and all great ideas via the website for consideration. That is how the found the idea for the frappacino. One creative, talented barista who worked the front line had time to come up with it, and the company created a space to listen and consider the idea. But it wasn’t a $10,000 idea. Millions and millions of dollars of profit have come from that 1 idea. Who knows how long it would have taken for corporate to figure that out themselves. Or how many millions of dollars of profit lost. Or what if the baristas were so busy being “productive” that they were never allowed to make new creative drinks for themselves?

        So one one hand, I totally agree with you. Things need to get done and companies need to make money. I just don’t think the way most companies go about it is actually reaching that goal.

  4. I tend to agree with both 4Pillar and RB40 – we’ll make an impact on society (4Pillar), but we’re too small a niche to change company policy (RB40). Maybe I’m cynical after 3 decades in Corporate America, but it’s unlikely a small niche will change the policy for everyone else.

    Best to get yourself in a place where you’re independent, then see what you can leverage if you decide you want to stay in the workforce (instead of contributing to society in the charity domain). For me, when I’m done, I plan on being done. Extra vacation won’t keep me around, since I’ll have worked hard to build a life of unlimited vacation.

    • I think the movement is growing faster than we might realize. Look at how many FIRE blogs there were 15 years ago. Or how many book dealing with early retirement/4 hour work week/lifestyle design there were 15 years ago. I can think of about 3 and 1. Now? 500 blogs that deal with pf and creating more financial freedom? Add that with the upcoming millennial work force. If a company is crap, they will just leave. Or not even apply there. Once they figure out their money to the point they don’t need the highest paying job, they will pick the best job. Smart companies will adapt or go with out the kind of talent that drives innovation.

      But I totally agree that until then getting to the place where you are closer to FI gives a good amount of leverage. I think we have seen that over and over in the pf community. People scoring sabbaticals, remote work, part time work, contracting work, or other flexible options that the employer will make an exception for because they are so valuable to the company.

      And like I said, if companies don’t want to change, oh well. We can custom create our own meaningful life without them. =) And our society will be better for it.

  5. Great post…! I would be happy to run the Montana Money Adventures Belgium Branch. My pay would have holidays aligned with the needs of my kids. In exchange, I will be very motivated the other days as my basic needs are met! I might even work evenings, do extra recruitment activities and teach FIRE to all the MMABB employees!

    • Ha! Love it. As soon as I open an office there, I’m calling you! =)

      But I think this touches on an important point. A lot of the people in the FIRE crowd want to give their very best work away to a company. All their best ideas, best creating, biggest impact. Give it all away. But the company doesn’t really seem to want it. They would rather us sit in pointless meetings and let our best work go to waste. Just a basic acknowledgment that this isn’t our entire life. Give us time to do what we need to do in other areas of our life and we will give you our very best in our working hours.

      There is already a shift in the economy towards production vs hours logged with all the freelance work. I’ll pay you x for this outcome, and I don’t really care if it took you 2 hours or 10. Very bold companies might catch that wave.

  6. I think a really important consideration (and one I try to bring up on my blog/on Twitter) is the public service sector. People spend A LOT of time convincing me to FIRE (not just FI). Do you really want to advocate for teachers, firefighters, etc., to leave? The good ones? The bad ones? The in between ones? Maybe yes, maybe no. It’s definitely an intriguing thought puzzle. Perhaps my time would be best spent elsewhere.

      • “Those are also the jobs that can’t be done remotely and get left out of the conversation o flexibility.” Mr. Mt had a very hands on/ on site job once but it gave him a 4 day weekend once a month. That might not sound like a lot but it was AMAZING! We would travel or do a house project or get caught up on life/appointments. Just that little tiny bit of flex made such a difference in our work/life balance. I think it would be a perfect start for most public service jobs.

    • I think the public service sector needs to take a really serious look at this issue. With teaching there is some built in flex with summer/winter/spring breaks, but it’s still a heavy work load even with that time off. Other sectors need to find a more similar balance in order to hold on to the best and brightest, because the burn out rate is high. Mr. Mt’s last job was impossibly demanding. If they would have even been a little more flexible with the work arrangement, he might have stayed. But we felt called to adopt special need kids, and 45+ hours a week wearing too many hats wasn’t going to work. I think those organizations would be really smart to try to meet people half way. He caught a little flack for walking away because he has an amazing skill set and talent for the work, but at the end of the day his health (physical and mental), our marriage and our kids well being was more important.

      Where 99% of my post are written to my readers, this one is meant for companies and organizations to consider. After people hit FI, the job will have to offer something more than a paycheck. If bigger companies lead the way, it might trickle down to social service organizations. But as long as they are funded with tax dollars and donations, they will be the last to benefit unfortunately. Which is sad, because you are right, we really need the best and brightest there!

      • Sadly, teacher burnout is higher than it’s ever been. Between summer school and all the optional (but not really) committees I was on, I had two weeks off last summer. When I first started teaching, it was so cutthroat to try to land a job because there just weren’t any. Now, you hear stories of states that are doing away with licensing requirements just to get warm bodies in the rooms.

        As much as I’d like to say schools aren’t companies and organizers, they definitely are, albeit, they have different challenges.

        Regardless, I enjoyed this post! There’s lots of food for thought for ALL sectors.

        • The nice things about education vs areas like law enforcement, is there are so many great areas to leverage that skill set, passion and talent outside of the public school system. I have a friend who runs an amazing after school program for about 100 kids from immigrant families. The public system is failing, but they are effectively filling the gap with real relationships, mentoring, and reading skills. Another friend help found a publicly funded charter school in Chicago. They take all kids in a drawing basis (not test scores or income) and are having tons of impact. Just transforming these kids lives. FI at least gives you the choice to find the best use of your skill and talent if the current organization becomes completely ineffective or know that you are choosing to stay because of the kids, not because you need the money to pay the bills.

        • Hey, Penny. I think our public schools are missing out on a wonderful opportunity and it’s all because of the teachers’ union. And that wonderful opportunity is the adjunct model used by higher education. Think about it. Wouldn’t it be great if a retired doctor could teach a single high school biology class for a year or two? How about a retired engineer teaching a robotics class? Or a retired Google programmer teaching a programming class? The possibilities are endless. There are tons of people would love to give back to our schools and communities by teaching one hour a day. And many of these people would do it for free. But would the teachers’ union allow our public schools to adopt the adjunct model?

          • We have that option in Montana for the trades. If a person has 10,000 hours in a skilled trade they can apply to teach it (I think the process takes a few months for paperwork.) But that is how most trades are taught in HS. Things like electrical, wood working, welding, car maintenance classes, ect. But they don’t offer it for classes like writing, music or even cooking.

  7. “No ones keeps expenses low, rapidly grows their income, and invests all the difference in order to watch Netflix 10 hours a day during their “early retirement.”

    Speak for yourself, Ms. MT! 😀 If the entertainment industry managed to produce an endless supply of high quality content, I’d absolutely power through it. 😀

    I’m excited to not be working during the upcoming March madness…I haven’t been able to watch the daytime games during the week before.

    i probably spent a solid 7 hours per day watching TV as a kid, so it wouldn’t shock me if I end up back there in retirement. Here in ABQ, I’ve had fun doing some sightseeing with lots of walking, but also just relaxing…think I will go lay in the hammock. 😀

    • Oh TJ, you crack me up! I do think most people leave jobs with high levels of burnout. It took me a month of hiking and resting after I quite my job just to find a baseline. It took me another 6 months to get caught up on life. But I think the high performers, after 1-3 years of rest will most often find themselves becoming high performers again. So binge watch Netflix for 6 months, then we can chat. =)

  8. I totally agree. I really hope that this cultural shift begins to take hold. If the dawn of the internet age could not extricate us from our desks, the only hope is for a new generation of people who simply refuse, en masse, to agree to a life of endless business hours, for everyone’s benefit but their own. It certainly hasn’t worked out that way for my generation, for the most part. Maybe change that great just takes more time. I hope by the time my children enter the workforce this idea has begun to take hold…

    • Things are changing, and various movements are swelling that all lead the same outcome. If you look at very popular books in the last 5-10 years. Minimalism, Existentialism, The One Thing, 4 hour Work Week, plus the huge rise in freelance work, and pf blogs. Cutting edge companies are leading the way and shifting to things like unlimited time off. As this new generation of workers (who are reading all of these ideas!) gains more financial freedom, they can leverage that for the good of everyone. Smart companies will quickly pivot, others will fail to adapt and get left behind.

      Bob Dillon saw it, and with the internet, we can make it happen. =)

  9. Thought provoking read. My employer is very generous with vacation days (roughly 22 days), sick days (12 days), and holidays (13). On top of this, I have the opportunity to spend 5-10 working days at conferences (often in fun places) that I really, really enjoy. This is the first time I’ve added up all this time away from the office, but I’m mostly content with this away time. I seldom feel burnt out and love my job.

    That being said, I’m working to generate more passive income and achieve financial independence in case I want to walk away from an 8-5 job. For the time being, though, my work fascinates me and I make a significant impact at my organization.

    I feel bad for the folks who only get 2 weeks of vacation and sick time combined. That sounds miserable to me.

    • That sounds like an amazing set up! I think a good work environment, interesting work, and enough time away makes a huge difference. I think it’s still smart to pursue FI, so that you have the options. I think the more companies that move closer to that model, the more profitable they will be because they can actually hold on to good talent.

  10. Great idea!

    However, the job market remains such that companies tend to maintain a lot of leverage, so I’m not optimistic about many companies jumping aboard that ship. Or maybe I’m just part of the cynical FIRE crowd…

    • Opps, I didn’t mean the cynical comment as a criticism. I think there is just something about aggressively perusing FIRE that means a person doesn’t feel the 9-5 can be fixed. I reached out to a few other bloggers after I wrote the PDF and got responses like, “Corporations would NEVER adopt something like this because they are soul sucking machines who want to keep us in debt and enslaved!!!” Oh, Snap! Those are some strong feelings. =)

  11. I totally agree with you that if companies would create more flexible vacation policies, many workers wouldn’t leave their jobs for FIRE. I also believe there are always up and coming best-and-brightest individuals to take their place. So I don’t think anyone needs to worry about his negative effect on society if he chooses to leave the workforce early. There are benefits to society too – i.e. early retirees are no longer commuting and using up resources.

    • I worry less about the tax base, because yes, everyone will just bump up the ladder. And I think early retirees will have a far greater impact on society than they perhaps ever could in their 9-5, so a win for us!

      I think that smart companies would benefit twice over from more generous leave policies. 1. They will get better work from everyone, FIRE or not. Plus 2. The true game changers will be drawn to the company and stay longer.

      Plus I think there is so much benefit from the disruption that comes from people flowing in and out of a work space. We saw it all the time in the military where everyone moves every 3 years. Every office was a constant state of flux. New ideas, passions, vision coming in and old ones going out. People having to cover new roles and bringing fresh perspective while filling the gaps. More work sharing. It would be much, much more affordable for the military to keep people in the same job, same base for 20 years. A HUGE cost goes into the constant movement of personnel. Because it’s because they see the benefit.

  12. No ones keeps expenses low, rapidly grows their income, and invests all the difference in order to watch Netflix 10 hours a day during their “early retirement.”

    This is a great quote. A lot of people have this general idea of retirement as sitting on your ass doing nothing. As you say, for the FIRE community it’s just the opposite. We’re driven and need something to constantly shoot for. Our talents will be taken elsewhere as early retirees have the security to take on new challenges as we no longer have to chase a paycheck.

    I also agree with others who said it’s a moot point since the FIRE community is an incredibly small niche. The impact is pretty much nil so there’s no reason to change.

    Additionally, as RB40 said, it’s more about the working culture and the work your actually doing. We want to have control over our lives. That’s why we chose the FIRE path in the first place. I’m lucky enough to have that in my current job as my company is a true meritocracy. We are rewarded and recognized based on the value we create for the company, and have the ability to take control of our own careers. There is no auto promotion after 2 years or standard 3% raise that isn’t tied to anything. It’s all based on the individual, and in my experience leads to a lot more job satisfaction.

    • I think that freedom in work often produces the very best work for the FIRE crowd. And that is part of the appeal of FIRE. We are free to choose our very best. Best work hours, best location, best projects, best leverage, best ideas, ect.

      I think we are seeing a convergence of ideas and movements that could create impact and change. There are a whole bunch of seemingly unrelated things brewing, and smart companies will take notice. (FIRE, minimalism, existentialism, tiny house movement, self employment, 4 hour work week, side hustle, sharing economy, off grid living, ect)

  13. You are so right. Bean bag chairs and free food won’t keep motivated early retirees around for long. I tagged James Altucher when I shared this post, so I hope he reads it. I’m super excited to see what the next 20 years brings for the FIRE community and what kind of change we can make happen!

    • Me too! On both fronts. =) I think there is a huge shift happening, not just in ideas but the technology to facilitate it. If a person has an internet connection, the information and tools available create so many option that were never there before.

  14. Anecdote: A friend recently tried to get 1 month of unpaid leave for travel at a MegaCorp. After they denied his request, he used all his saved vacation and then put in his two weeks notice when he got back. I really doubt hiring a replacement was cheaper than just paying his health insurance for an extra month… I really don’t understand how his employer thought that was a smart move on their part.

    • We had one company agree to a 4 week break, if we used all the vacation days, then took unpaid leave. We didn’t have insurance there, so maybe that helped. They were accommodating, but were very clear it would be the last time it ever happened. =/

  15. One of our companies currently already does this – not as generously, 6 weeks every 5 years, but that’s still something they’re onto that builds a great deal of loyalty in addition to their vacation time, sick leave, PAID parental leave, and other amazing benefits and still competitive compensation. And you can take it in whole or in part, it’s up to you. You better believe we don’t have any need to leave this company any time soon.

    To speak to Joe’s point about leaving companies for the reason that work itself became intolerable – I absolutely agree that even 3 months of vacation every 2 year wouldn’t be sufficient to make up for the BS that ruled at previous jobs. My answer to that has been to find a company where my absolute refusal to have more than 5 hours of meetings per week hasn’t been challenged in years. We all value our time to work and get things done and still manage to communicate well enough to innovate and create. We put in a lot more time than at the other company but the absolute flexibility and high productivity means we’re a lot happier anyway. When that changes, we’ll walk away.

    FIRE-level security would give us the ability to say that we’ll only work with companies that give us respect and autonomy to do amazing work, and compensates fairly with good vacation options but we know that’s hard to find in today’s economy of jobs.

    • I think 5 hours of meetings a week is a great rule! The reality is most people working the 9-5 want to get things done and be really productive, extra time in meetings just does’t equal producing quality work.

  16. Haha! I’d love to see corporate America and our government squirm.But what’s the critical mass for a FIRE revolution? Ten percent of all adults under 50 financially independent? Twenty percent? If that’s the case, I’m afraid we’re a long ways off. But perhaps we’ll be there in one or two generations.

    • I think some companies are already started to squirm. Especially the ones that are trying to attract and retain Millennial talent. The FIRE crowd is just one piece to a larger puzzle. =) It might take a generation, but with the easy of telecommuting, starting businesses online, ect smart companies will adapt.

  17. I love this concept. I might go even further and say 6 months off every 2 years for 25% less? It’s innovative ideas like this that will help our economy ease into the automation revolution. Great stuff, as always, Montana!

    • Mr. Mt would go for that! He actually tried to go part time with his last employer. Offering to work 17-30 hours a week depending on their work load with the same hourly rate and no benefits. Financially it would have made a lot of sense for them. But they are phasing out all the part time workers. We might not have taken a year off if they had accepted. So it all worked out in the end. =)

  18. I would need a lot more than 3 months vacation after 2.5 years, to work at a company if I was already FIRED. Give me half a year, and then I would probably say ok. But I just don’t see employers agreeing to that. At my current employer, which is a beverage copacker, it’s all about productivity. How hard and fast can employees work? They’ll replace you at the drop of a hat if you’re not what they want. If you can’t help them produce the numbers they’re looking for, there’s the door. It’s sad, really. Unfortunately, I think more companies are like that than not.

    • I think that is why more alternative forms of working/earning income will continue to grow. Half a year is a nice break. At some point I could see us taking 2 4 week breaks a year. In this season of life, that would be a great balance for us. June and December off each year. =)

  19. Hi, thank you for sharing this article. I think FIRE will not ruin our economy because companies will not stop hiring young ones that are more aggressive when it comes to work. Also, every person has the option to work or retire early. It is still up to the workers and our economy will still go on.

    • There will always be new people to fill spots, that is for sure. I wonder more about the people who have the ability to really move the needle leaving because of unreasonable work environments. Some places need warm bodies, but some companies need amazing ideas. Those are harder to replace.