What is Your FIRE Number?

What is Your FIRE Number?

In the title of this post some of you may not know what FIRE stands for. FIRE stands for Financial Independence, Retire Early. Well in the personal finance blogosphere one of the big things is determining when you can achieve financial independence (e.g. what date, what amount you need, etc). Since I began writing this blog just over 2 1/2 years ago I said that I had three goals:

  1. To track my debt repayment progress.
  2. To hold myself accountable to reaching financial independence
  3. To help others with money issues, if they have any.

Over this time I hope that I have achieved some of those goals. However, I haven’t revealed very much about my investments. I have told you what I invest in. I do need to update that a bit because of some changes that were made (not by me, but by retirement service provider). However, I have never really talked about how much we have in assets and the like.

Part of that reason is because Mrs. ROB prefers to have that stuff remain quiet. And I am still going to respect her wishes. That said, I am going to reveal what I think our/my FI number is. In other words, how much money do I need to have in investments in order to feel financially independent.

How Do I Determine the Number?

Before I get to the big reveal (and it really isn’t that big) there are some guidelines I use to determine what makes me FI. Financial independence, for me, is not necessarily about being “rich.” The number I think about is what I need to have in investments so I could basically say that I didn’t need to work anymore. I would have enough money to pay our bills and we would be fine. Ultimately, to achieve FU Money.

There are a few metrics I use to determine that figure.

  1. I need to be student loan/personal debt free (including Mrs. ROB)
  2. I would like to have the mortgage paid off/nearly paid off
  3. The amount would be 25 times my expenses, not income, but expenses

The 3rd one is probably the most important because of the 4% rule. A number of studies have demonstrated over and over again that if you withdraw 4% from your nest egg each year when you retire that it should last at least 30 years of your retirement even longer.

So if I pay off all of our student loan debt (which will hopefully happen through Public Student Loan Forgiveness….I have 8 years to go) and most of my mortgage is gone I figure that I/we need about…..drumroll (or eyeroll please).




That is my FI number. 1.25 million.

How do I arrive at 1.25 million? Well, it takes about $4000 a month in spending at my house to pay for expenses. My basic budget looks something like this:

$1300 (Mortgage)

$700 (insurance and real estate taxes)

$250 (utilities)

$250 (cable/phone)

$50 (water/sewer)

$250 (gas/vehicle maintenance)

$1200–food/entertainment/slush fund.

That is my basic budget now. When/if we pay off the mortgage this could go down, but I might need to replace that mortgage with funds for kids and the like. So it comes out to about 4k a month in spending or about 50k a year.

I still have a ways to get there and will be working for at least another decade (probably) because I don’t think I will retire early. I like my work too much. However, I have my target. I hope the markets are good to me over the next decade because at the rate we are going I should be able to hit it and then some.

4 thoughts on “What is Your FIRE Number?

    1. Totally understand. I have learned so much from the FI blogosphere I still think I am totally dumb when it comes to this stuff. Getting to 25x would be nice….the sooner it happens the better. That way if we need to retire to somewhere abroad….no problem.

  1. The number is nice to have a general idea of where you want and need to be. I think it’s important to revisit after major milestones and see if those numbers and goals are all still part of the plan. Cheers to you for putting it out there!

    1. I think you are right about that. I mean this could change greatly because the Mrs. and I are planning on having a family. So my FI number would have to go up, but by then we also should be out of student loan debt and mortgage free. So we just replace one cost with another.

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