Suze Orman Hates the FIRE Movement. Here's Why

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  • FIRE stands for Financial Independence, Retire Early. 
  • It's a movement that prioritizes cutting expenses and becoming financially independent.
  • Finance guru Suze Orman has spoken out against it, noting that those who retire so early may end up regretting it and wind up in financial trouble. 

If you're thinking of joining the FIRE movement, you may want to read Suze Orman's advice. 

The FIRE movement is an online trend and a way of life for many. It stands for Financial Independent, Retire Early. It promotes extreme saving and frugality, often involving a lot of sacrifice to reduce living expenses to bare bones. The purpose is to enable investing and reduce the cost of living so you can retire at a very young age and be financially independent.

While living frugally to retire ahead of schedule may sound like a good thing, finance expert Suze Orman has stated unequivocally that she actually hates the FIRE movement. Here's why.

Suze Orman's big problem with the FIRE movement

In a 2018 interview with Paula Pant of Afford Anything, Orman was asked what she thought of the FIRE movement. Her answer was unequivocal. "I hate it. I hate it. I hate it,” she said. 

This may seem like a surprising response to a question about a movement that promotes saving to retire early. But Orman had plenty of justifications for why she doesn't believe embracing this approach is a good idea.

The big problem with the FIRE movement, according to Orman, is that retiring at a very young age -- which most people in the movement aspire to do -- can leave you with too little money to support yourself over the course of your life. That's true even if you think you are well prepared and have plenty of funds to cover what you need. 

When you retire very early, there's a lot more time in your life for something to go wrong that drains your nest egg. And if that happens, you'll have many, many more years when you have to support yourself -- but it may be difficult to jump back into the working world after a long absence. 

“If you only have a few hundred thousand, or a million, or two million dollars, I'm here to tell you … if a catastrophe happens, if something happens, what are you going to do? You are going to burn up alive,” Orman warned. 

Orman also indicated that while many people in the FIRE movement may want to retire in their 30s, they could be left with serious regrets. "The FIRE enthusiast will retire at 35. And that's the biggest mistake a person could ever make in their life." 

Is Orman right?

Orman is absolutely right that retiring at a very young age leaves you extremely vulnerable. 

It can be hard enough for people who are in their 60s and 70s to plan for every expense they'll face over the course of their life, and ensure they have the funds even for surprise costs such as unexpected medical bills. Someone who retires in their 30s, on the other hand, could end up trying to rely on their investments for 60 or 70 years and it's almost inevitable that big surprises will happen during that time that can affect their ability to do so. 

Of course, not everyone who is in the FIRE movement actually wants to stop working so young. Some people just want the ability to do so, but will keep earning income even after achieving financial independence. While that's not necessarily a bad goal to set, if you are hoping for very early retirement, you may want to heed Orman's warning that doing so could set you up for a disaster later. 

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