Financial freedom at 40
Florian Wagner, author and proponent of the FIRE movement (Financial Independence, Retire Early), wants to retire at the age of 40. How does he want to achieve this and what comes after that? Read now the pre-interview for the 18th European Trend Day.
GDI: Why do you live according to the FIRE principle?
Wagner: For me, it is desirable to be able to live my life more and more independent of the need to earn money. Becoming aware of one’s expenses and decisions helped me realise that my engineering career was no longer fulfilling me in the long run. Through the principle of frugalism, I optimised my life so that I still lived well, yet after four years of work, I had saved a financial buffer that would have covered my living expenses for seven years. I have now been self-employed for four years and work more freely on the projects that are important to me (regardless of whether they earn money directly). FIRE has opened my eyes to focusing my life on happiness rather than the pursuit of career goals or material goods.
If there were an unconditional basic income, would you still work?
Yes, I definitely would. I think we need to be active to be happy. However, I would only do the things that are important to me, with the people I value and in the amount of time that currently suits me well.
To whom would you not recommend frugalism?
The frugalism concept is not suitable for people who like to complain, love the victim role and want to be financially in a hamster wheel.
For all other people, it is an exciting concept from which you can pick the right building blocks and improve your life financially and in terms of satisfaction.
You want to retire at the age of 40. What will you do after that?
My book has the lurid title "Retire at 40", and it is also still my goal to become financially independent. But once I have achieved it, I certainly don’t want to put my feet up. Rather, I want to tackle new projects that challenge me and give me pleasure. Currently, after 40, I would like to engage with the topic of education.
I’m already doing financial education on the blog geldschnurrbart.de, but in the future I want to make it even broader. There are so many things that are important for life,
but that we don’t learn at school: happiness, satisfaction, entrepreneurship, etc.