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How to Calculate Your FIRE Number

Financial independence: retire early (FIRE) is a movement focused on extreme savings and investment that allows people to bed far earlier than traditional budgets and retirement plans would allow. A core component of the FIRE plan is knowing your “FIRE number,” the amount of money you need to retire comfortably and sustain your lifestyle without needing to work. In this post, we will guide you through the process of how to calculate your FIRE number, with real-world examples to illustrate the concept.

Understanding the FIRE Number

Your FIRE number is the money you need in your investment accounts to retire while maintaining your current lifestyle. This number is crucial as it acts as a target for your savings and investment plan. The rule is that your FIRE number should be 25 times your annual expenses, based on the 4% safe withdrawal rate. This means you can withdraw 4% of your retirement savings each year without running out of money.

Example 1: Calculating Basic FIRE Number

Let’s consider John, a software engineer earning $100,000 annually. His annual expenses amount to $40,000. Using the 25x rule:

  • Annual Expenses: $40,000
  • FIRE Number: $40,000 * 25 = $1,000,000

John must save $1,000,000 to achieve financial independence under the FIRE model.

Example 2: Adjusting for Lifestyle Changes

Now, let’s take Sarah, who plans to travel more extensively after retiring. Her current annual expenses are $50,000, but she estimates an additional $10,000 per year for travel in retirement.

  • Current Annual Expenses: $50,000
  • Additional Retirement Expenses: $10,000
  • Total Annual Retirement Expenses: $60,000
  • FIRE Number: $60,000 * 25 = $1,500,000

Sarah needs $1,500,000 to retire and sustain her desired lifestyle.

Factors Influencing Your FIRE Number

Several factors can influence your FIRE number:

  1. Lifestyle Expectations: Your expected lifestyle in retirement will significantly impact your FIRE number. More luxurious lifestyles require a higher FIRE number.
  2. Inflation: The value of money decreases over time due to inflation. Inflation factor to ensure your FIRE number is realistic for the future.
  3. Investment Returns: The performance of your investments can either shorten or lengthen the time to reach your FIRE number.
  4. Unexpected Expenses: Life is unpredictable. Having a buffer for unforeseen expenses is prudent.

Strategies to Reach Your FIRE Number

Reaching your FIRE number requires a mix of saving, investing, and lifestyle adjustments:

  1. Maximize Savings: Increase your savings by reducing expenses and increasing income.
  2. Invest Wisely: Invest your savings in a diversified portfolio to grow your wealth over time.
  3. Tax Efficiency: Utilize tax-advantaged accounts like 401(k)s and IRAs.
  4. Lifestyle Changes: Consider downsizing or adopting a more frugal lifestyle to reduce expenses.

Tools and Resources

Several online tools can help you calculate and track your progress towards your FIRE number. Some popular options include:

  1. Personal Capital: Offers comprehensive wealth management tools.
  2. Mint: Great for budgeting and expense tracking.
  3. FIRECalc: A retirement calculator specifically for the FIRE community.


Calculating your FIRE number is critical in achieving financial independence and retiring early. It requires a clear understanding of your current and future financial needs and a commitment to saving and investing. Following the steps outlined in this guide and adjusting your strategy to fit your circumstances, you can set a realistic FIRE number and work towards achieving it.

Remember, your FIRE journey is unique, and your FIRE number should reflect your personal goals and lifestyle choices. Stay informed, plan meticulously, and adjust as needed to ensure a comfortable and secure retirement.

Additional Reading

To dive deeper into the FIRE movement and financial planning, consider exploring these resources:

  1. Mr. Money Mustache: A blog that discusses frugal living and early retirement.
  2. The Simple Path to Wealth: A series of blog posts by JL Collins about investing and financial independence.
  3. ChooseFI: A resource for information on financial independence and early retirement.

Remember, knowledge is power, especially when it comes to financial independence. Happy planning!





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