July 18, 2022

ADHD and the FIRE Movement

ADHD and the FIRE Movement

The 'FIRE movement' is a concept that stands for ‘financial independence, retire early,’ where your investments provide all of your income to support your lifestyle. Hence, you no longer need to work. Sounds pretty good, right? The next obvious question then is how do you achieve this?

Frugal Does Not Mean Deprivation

To retire early, you have to save aggressively in the market until you reach a specific dollar amount you've defined as retirement, where you can stop working and live off your investments for the rest of your life. The idea of frugal living does not mean deprivation. It means being resourceful, optimizing, being savvy with your money, and making decisions moving you towards what you want: independence and freedom.

What if you still want to work and have the option to know you don't have to? You still want the income, so maybe the amount you need to save is less because you're still going to have some income, but you have the pure freedom to do whatever you want. If you're a high earner, you can achieve this by making a few modest lifestyle changes and being very smart and efficient about saving.

FIRE examples for ADHD Brains

If you're not a high earner, that's okay. You can still get there with a few more focused lifestyle changes and embracing the actions of being frugal.

For example, let's say you are 30 years old, earn $200,000 per year, and have determined that you can comfortably live the life you want on $100,000 a year. To be financially independent, you need to save $2.5 million in investments. You get to this number by multiplying the money you need for annual expenses by 25.

Factoring in the stock market, the average long-term return on the stock market is around 7- 8%. The rule of thumb in the FIRE movement is to take 4% of your investments yearly. 4% of $2.5 million is $100,000, which is why the standard rule is 25 times expenses.

You’ve decided you would like to do the FIRE movement. You believe you can cut your expenses, save $70,000 per year, max out your 401k, and put the remaining savings into a taxable brokerage account. Getting to the needed $2.5 million would take 17 years. So at age 47, you could live off your investments for the rest of your life.

The Power of the FIRE Movement

The power of the FIRE movement is there's a tangible result that's exciting and life-changing. It comes down to what your values are and what you want. Do you like what it can give you more than you want the next shiny object or more than you want to buy more clothes or whatever it is that gets in your way? The FIRE movement provides the freedom to live exactly how you want and realize that consumerism is unimportant.


The main challenge for those of us with ADHD embracing the FIRE movement is we impulsively spend too much and struggle with the idea of being frugal. ADHDers love extremes and do crazy things like skydiving, which is liberating, just not in the right way!

Taking control of our money is a powerful thing, and that feeling of security gives us:

  • Freedom
  • Options
  • Financial Security
  • Creates More Life Experiences
  • Helps You Give Your Family More
  • Enables You Give

Keep the concept of FIRE in the back of your mind as you start out on a smaller scale. Begin tracking your spending and saving habits and work on increasing that gap where you're spending less and saving more.

After two years, how do you feel? Do you feel more accessible and less stressed? I already know what your answer will be.

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