Coast FIRE as Early Retirement Strategy
Are you tired of the rat race, but complete financial independence seems out of reach? There’s a hidden gem of a Coast FIRE strategy that can accelerate your escape.
Coast FIRE provides a hybrid path to early retirement, combining the best of both worlds. You get the benefits of supercharged savings and investing early on. Later, you coast on autopilot to financial freedom with less effort.
Sound intriguing? Read on to learn if Coast FIRE is right for you.
What Is Coast FIRE?
Coast FIRE takes a phased approach:
– Accumulation Phase: Max out savings and aggressively invest in your 20s through 40s.
– Coast Phase: Reduce savings and let compound growth do the work as you approach FI.
– Retirement Phase: Reach financial independence earlier than traditional methods.
The key is front-loading the effort in your early career to build the nest egg quickly. Once your portfolio is large enough, you can cruise along at a regular savings rate until it compounds to your target FI number.
Coast FIRE in Action
Let’s bring this concept to life with a real-world example:
Meet Daniela, a 30-year-old marketing professional with a passion for travel and a desire for financial independence. She calculates her Coast FIRE number, which is $500,000, enough to support her retirement by age 65.
Daniela diligently saves and invests in her retirement accounts while maintaining her career. By age 45, her investments have grown to $500,000, even though she’s scaled back to a part-time consulting role.
Now, Daniela enjoys her newfound freedom. Furthermore, she travels the world, spends quality time with her family, and explores new interests—all while her investments continue to grow. By the time she reaches 65, her Coast FIRE has transitioned into full FIRE, providing her with a comfortable retirement.
The work could be more perfectly distributed, but the overall effort is less than slogging away for decades.
Who Is Coast FIRE Good For?
Coast FIRE is ideal for those who:
– Want to retire early but find extreme saving rates unsustainable
– Are willing to hustle hard in their 20s and 30s to front-load effort
– Desire flexibility to relax and spend more as they age
– Would enjoy dialing down work before fully retiring
It provides flexibility missing from the traditional FIRE approach. You escape the drudgery decades sooner without having to keep saving aggressively until the very end.
Coast FIRE 101
Here’s a step-by-step guide to implementing Coast FIRE:
1. Calculate Your FI Number
First, determine your FIRE number – the amount needed save to cover yearly retirement expenses. Multiply this by 25-33x to find your Coast FI number.
For example, $40k expenses x 25 = $1M Coast FI number.
2. Increase Savings Rate Early On
In your 20s and 30s, crank the savings rate to 50-70% to front-load retirement account contributions. Limit expenses and find extra income to grow the portfolio fast.
3. Aggressively Invest Early
Invest heavily in stocks for growth. Endure more volatility early when time is on your side. Rebalance to more conservative assets as Coast FI approaches.
4. Project Your Coast FI Date
Use calculators to determine when you’ll hit your Coast FI number based on savings, market returns, etc.
5. Coast from 30-50% Savings
Once your portfolio hits the target, relax! Drop your savings rate to 30-50% while still investing consistently. Let compounding cruise you to full FI.
6. Re-Evaluate Along the Way
Life changes. Recalibrate your FIRE number, investment strategy, and timeline as needed. Stay flexible.
The Power of Compounding
The key to Coast FIRE is leveraging compound returns. Here’s how it can accelerate your early retirement timeline:
– More years growing: Front-loading savings means more years for your money to compound.
– Higher rate of return: Riskier investing early on means higher average annual returns.
– Less needed to save: Coasting phase requires smaller contributions to reach FI thanks to compound growth.
– Time does the work: At a 10% return, $100k turns into over $700k in 20 years without any additional savings needed.
Give your investments as much runway as possible to grow exponentially.
Benefits of Coast FIRE
Why choose Coast FIRE over traditional FIRE? Here are some of the most significant advantages:
Less Need for Extreme Frugality : Shoveling every possible penny into savings for decades is unrealistic. Coast FIRE lets you relax and enjoy life more once your portfolio hits critical mass.
Increased Flexibility: You aren’t locked into an extreme FIRE plan if life priorities change. Coasting gives you wiggle room.
Potential to Retire Even Earlier: A bull market or increased savings may grow your portfolio fast enough to retire before your original FIRE date.
Balance Today vs Tomorrow: You reap the rewards of your hard work sooner to enjoy life more now, not just in retirement.
Less Burnout: Hitting your Coast number provides substantial mental relief. The final lap to FI is a victory lap.
Risks and Mitigation Strategies
However, Coast FIRE isn’t without risks. Here are some potential pitfalls and how to avoid them:
Complacency During the Coast Phase: Sticking to the savings plan takes discipline after hitting the Coast FI number. Automate investments so contributions continue on autopilot.
Underperformance of Investments: A bear market, high inflation, or a sequence of return risk could slow portfolio growth. Keep some funds in cash bonds and diversify assets.
Changing Life Priorities : Evolving family needs or unexpected costs may require altering your FIRE goals. Run scenarios and have contingency funds.
Costs Rising Faster Than Expected: Re-evaluate your FIRE number periodically based on actual spending. Increase your Coast FI number if needed.
With preparation, these risks can be managed. The key is flexibility within your original framework.
Who Should Avoid Coast FIRE?
Coast FIRE isn’t a universal strategy. It may not be best for:
– Those without the discipline to save aggressively early on
– Those who want simple, passive investing until FI
– Those who need the forced frugality of traditional FIRE
– Those avec disasters who need to redraw the plan
Know yourself before committing to the Coast FIRE path. Make sure you can handle both phases.
Ready to Coast to Financial Freedom?
Coast FIRE provides a powerful hybrid strategy for the right person to escape the rat race faster. Additionally, you buy years of flexibility when you need it most in your 40s and 50s by front-loading the hard work.
Coast FIRE won’t appeal to the hardcore FIRE purists. But for those seeking balance, it offers the best of both worlds. You can grow your net worth faster without foregoing life’s joys along the journey.
If maximizing youthful energy and leveraging compound interest resonates with you, give Coast FIRE a look. It could be the express lane to the early retirement you’ve been dreaming of. A little hustle now pays off with decades of freedom later.