What is fatFIRE?

Five years ago, I didn’t know what FIRE was. I mean, I knew what fire was — something to gather ’round to drink beers, tell stories, and burn marshmallows. But I was oblivious to the acronym that has since become life changing: Financial Independence, Retire Early.

Now, four years later, you could say FIRE is my middle name. Except you’d be wrong. It’s my last name — “on” is my middle name. But that’s neither here nor there.

I learned what it meant to be financially independent. I took advantage of my FI status by working less and adventuring more. I finally put the RE in FIRE in August of 2019, retiring from medicine at the age of 43. More recently, I have realized that FIRE comes in multiple flavors.

What is fatFIRE?

First, there was FIRE. You save up at least 25 times your anticipated annual spending and you’ve got a 97% or better chance of that money lasting at least thirty years. That was based upon a typical level of spending, whatever that might be for the individual of the family.

If leanFIRE is the term for spending quite a bit less than the average, what would a sensible person call the opposite thing — spending quite a bit more than the average early retiree? fatFIRE, of course. A subreddit was created and fatFIRE officially became a thing.

– 2 Years of FIRE: Life After an Early Exit From Medicine

I don’t believe there’s a consensus or standard definition of exactly what constitutes fatFIRE, so I get to go ahead and make my own. The average American household spends somewhere between $50,000 and $60,000 in 2018. A leanFIRE budget is at most half of that. I’d say fatFIRE is somewhere in the neighborhood of double. Since we like round, even numbers, let’s call a fatFIRE budget $100,000 a year.

fatFIRE Defined

Who fatFIREs?

fatFIRE is early retirement for the entrepreneurs and high-income professionals that choose not to fully embrace frugality or give up certain creature comforts that have become customary. It’s financial independence for the well-heeled.

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