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I want to be a woman who finds out what she wants, like financial independence, retire early (FIRE), and goes after it like a kid chasing down an ice cream truck. Instead, I turned into a fat cat trying to squeeze through a tiny door hole.

The struggle was real and awkward.

Kindling Possibilities

FIRE is the catchy term for a community that uses extreme savings and investing to shave decades off the traditional retirement age of 65.

I started playing with FIRE when I was trying to save more and figure out ways to stretch my budget. I had fancy trips and adventures to pay for.

Somethings haven’t changed.

As I continued my FIRE pursuit, I started reading about young people (like 20s and early 30s) retiring early. That is crazy early. I didn’t realize that people were retiring so early outside of the ooper rich. Their version of retirement was dumping a sucky job to gain a more fulfilling job.

I thought I knew all about that as I happily bump along on my ideal career path.

Frustration Smoldering

But, something kept nagging me. It could have been self-inflicted with my constant exposure to FIRE. Or it could have been my inner rebel getting fired up, I do enjoy pushing against societal norms and hearing things like, you are too young and female to be a veteran.  

Either way, I said lofty things like, “I am happy to retire at the traditional age because I love my job.” But my inner dialogue kept watching the 30-year commitment and wondering if I could do better.

After an inner battle that was so intense I don’t remember it, I decided to pursue FIRE.

Now, I frequently tell people that I am kicking sand on the traditional retirement age.

Bonfire to Freedom

The change occurred, when I found out that because of my military experience, I can retire with 16 years of federal employment and receive a stipend. There are caveats I need to figure out like, does my position qualify for early retirement?

Which reminds me, I need to start poking and prodding the HR department. It took five months before my military buyback was figured out, this could take longer.

Other things that are fueling the FIRE include getting the house paid off in 15 years. We refinanced to 2.25%, make bi-monthly payments, and add an extra $100 per installment. This sets us up for accomplishing our 15-year goal. We are already free from credit card, car, and student loan debt.

The rest of my money is thrown into investment and travel accounts. After all, I need enough money to survive from 51 to whenever I decide to pull from my traditional retirement accounts.

It’s all whittled down to, can this fat cat take retirement classes now?

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