In the “learn something new every day” category, I hadn’t realized that the acronym for financial independence/retire early is FIRE. But, it just reminds me why I continue to learn and continue to read. There is always something new.
I’ve been helping a friend sort out her parents’ finances the last few months. Her father is in need of assisted living and her mother passed away. Unfortunately, her mother was in control of the finances and was incredibly guarded about them, even claiming that they had “no money,” which wasn’t true. It has been difficult for my friend to get access to accounts to pay for her father’s care (he no longer has the ability to do it himself) and she has been forced to learn about different types of investment accounts. Thankfully, she has found a financial adviser that she trusts to help her navigate. But, my friend has never independently learned about retirement accounts and taxable investment accounts, so she is incredibly overwhelmed.
Unfortunately, her situation is not unique. So many people are financially illiterate. But there is so much information available! It isn’t magic, but I understand that it can feel that way. Dealing with money isn’t just math, it is emotional. For example, I still get surprised, and a little offended, when we occasionally get called “cheap.” But, I don’t feel deprived. I take more trips in a year than almost everyone else I know. And while I drive a junker, I’m totally fine with it. I have to remember that our FIRE quest is still abnormal. But I also know that is doesn’t have to be. A.most anyone can do it if they put their mind to it.