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FIRE Checklist: How to retire early

3 Min Read
FIRE Checklist: How to retire early

Dream of retiring early? In your forties or even maybe even as early as your thirties? Millions of people all over the world are following the FIRE method which is an extreme saving and investment plan.

Retirement is not all about a certain age— but a financial number that you can live on. No law states you must work until you’re 65. That’s a total myth, so why not change your life now?

FIRE investors’ main aim is to save as much of their annual income as possible in working years, thus hoping to attain financial independence and maintain that for the rest of their life—aka retirement.

Some many different ways and ideas can help reduce your expected retirement age.

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What does FIRE stand for?

So what does FIRE stand for? Well it is an acronym 

FIRE – Financial Independence, Retire Early 

It is a way of life with the main goal is to save and invest aggressively, keeping expenses extremely low and identifying different ways to raise additional income.

What is the Fire movement?

Fire method is a lifestyle movement with the sole aim of gaining financial independence and aiming to be able to retire early. The term retirement can mean different things to each person. It’s not always about laying on a beach doing nothing all day but a choice as to whether you have to work full-time or not.

The central aim is to generate a constant income through passive investments to fund a lifestyle retirement.

The fire movement was inspired by the book Your Money or Your Life, by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez back in 1992 about getting financial independence.

It has gained more appeal in the last few years during the pandemic with many of the younger generations setting early retirement as their new financial goal and aim in life.

Where to start with FIRE early retirement planning?

You don’t need to earn a fortune to start working towards this start with budgeting. Know where your money is going and create a budget and stick to it.

Saving a few pounds here and there can really add up over time and make a difference.

Your income shouldn’t discourage you from building your wealth—anyone can do it.

You don’t need a high-paying job to build wealth just invest and save. Here is a FIRE checklist to help you get started working towards your dream.

FIRE Checklist

The sole aim of gaining financial independence and aiming being able to retire early

Find ways to keep expenses as low as possible. Living exceptionally frugally lifestyle. This is the first and most important step in the FIRE checklist.

Frugality is about being sparing, thrifty, not wasteful. Careful use of money in the most minimal way, food, clothes, living cost etc. Enabling savings to be built up faster.

Extreme budgeting is how to save money.

Example of Frugality

  • Create a meal plan, batch cook and freeze.
  • Use up leftovers
  • Unplug small appliances
  • Ride a bike
  • Turn off lights when not needed
Extreme Saving

Save as much money as possible (from 50% up to 70%)

You must save at least half of your income

Paying off Debt

Get out of debt. Pay off all your consumer debt as first priority. Chop up credit cards and attack your debt!

Become debt-free first then start investing for retirement.

Work through each debt starting with the one with the highest interest rate. Then after repaying that start using the money saved from the previous debt to start paying off the next highest interest rate debt etc

Boost Income

If you want financial independence and to retire early try and boost your income —you must find creative ways to make more cash.

  • Side hustle -Creating a small business at night and at weekends.
  • Evening job – Delivering pizzas for example
  • Investment Property -Buy a rental property to give you a constant income.

Additional income source plays a huge role in the FIRE movement working towards you dream of financial freedom and potential early retirement.


Investment is core to FIRE financial freedom and retirement plan it is about throwing huge chunks of income towards achieving the overall goal.

Remember poorly performing savings account can see your savings eroded due to inflation you need to invest it instead. Give savings the best chance of growth.

Dont be overly reliant on one source of income but have a mix of investments rather than everything in one pot which is not a good idea.

Spend Wisely

Think carefully before buying anything. Avoid buying luxury items.

Never impulsively buy something.

Think before getting a takeaway, a cup of coffee or even that pre packed sandwich. All these can add up and are a luxury.

Save money don’t spend it, think whether this is a luxury you can do without.

FIRE Movement Example

You must know what you want from your perfect life. This FIRE checklist is great but if you don’t know what you are aiming for why bother? Well here is some examples of why its worth it…

Many dreams of travelling the World in a campervan as van life has become a more common occurrence over the years. People can make money from being a YouTuber but if that is not your thing get a job that allows you to work remotely (WFH) and your living costs are extremely low allowing you to save and invest while on an adventure.

Invest in stocks and shares that can give you a constant income but also be aware that this can fluctuate dependent on the market. 

Buy a rental property as everyone needs somewhere to live so generally a stable investment even if the markets fluctuate. This can give you an income while you are doing what you really want to do but also a backup plan if circumstances change. 

Create a number of small side hassle businesses like a SaaS (software as a service) or do consultancy work in between surfing. 

Travelling is many peoples dream and the cost of living in other countries can be much lower so you can benefit even more.

Start actioning you FIRE checklist to make the dream come true.

Retirement Planning

The FIRE movement has made younger people start to think about retirement planning and what retirement and financial freedoms means to them.

Can you really retire in your 30’s or 40’s? Yes, but you need to be incredibly disciplined and make huge sacrifices early on which can be difficult. It also helps if you have a well-paid job to build your savings pot faster.

So much do you need to save for early retirement?

Aim towards 25 times your estimated annual spending. From this retirement pot, you should only withdraw a maximum 4%  each year.

FIRE Checklist start planning your perfect future

This FIRE checklist is the basics you need to start thinking about and start planning for your future. You don’t need to work your whole life but be clever with your financial planning.

Save and invest – make good financial sense.

FIRE movement isn’t the answer if you just hate your job because you need to be happy to make these sacrifices for the bigger picture. 

Define what you would like your retirement to be like and start making a plan to get there!

We hope this FIRE checklist has inspired you to plan for your future adventures.

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