Not everyone is pursuing financial independence for an early retirement.
H.N. (she asked that her initials be used so her employers do not know about her finances) said it's expensive to be sick. The 29-year-old has multiple disabilities and was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease last summer. "I don't want to retire," she said, "but I want to make sure my finances are in as order as much as possible. The permanent disability rate of my condition is very high."
H.N. lives in New York City, where the cost of living is high but her salary is not.
To cope, she manages her money carefully to make room for the things that are important to her. "People assume I'm living this horrible, deprived life, but I really don't think I'm deprived," she said.
To manage life on a $62,500 salary, she has a roommate, bringing her share of the total $1,690 rent to $810 a month.
Her initial goal was to save as near as possible to $100,000 by age 30, which she hit this year.
Rents are high in her area but food is good and quite cheap. Her monthly grocery bill runs between $300 and $500 a month, and she eats out infrequently, keeping it to $20, including tax and tips. That generally means going without appetizers and desserts.
While many FIRE people love to leverage credit card points to save on travel, H.N. and her partner don't spend enough money to accumulate points and miles. For a recent trip to Europe, she sprang for $3,000 business class seats. The extra rest and comfort made the cost worth it so she wouldn't arrive exhausted and possibly ill.