Fire Ladder

Achieving Financial Independence takes time, a long time. It is the most valuable journey you could go on.

“Time in the bank”: Every investment you make adds time and freedom under your control.

“The long road”: There are many steps in the Fire Ladder that can be considered achievable milestones in your journey. Focusing on just the end goal of complete Financial Independence can seem way too hard and too far into the future. A seemingly impossible goal.

Break it down into manageable chunks, each achievable in much smaller time, each with their own benefits that you will only recognise when you get there.

I hope to give you an idea of what is possible. This is not a formal list, each ladder will be unique for every journey.

Breaking it down

Here are some thoughts about Steps in the Ladder that can help you to see your successes.

Early wins: 1 month of expenses invested

It may not seem like it, but there are some very early benefits on this journey.

Having something as simple as 1 month of expenses invested doesn’t seem like much, but it means you have new-found flexibility.

Bigger picture: 6 months of expenses invested

You still don’t have Financial Independence, but you have a lot of freedom you didn’t before. At 6 months invested you can consider something a little more interesting:

You can take a small risk, if it doesn’t work out then you still have some time to find another job before you run out of money.

Getting real, but not yet: 2 years of expenses invested

Things are starting to get interesting. The freedom is real. Look back upon what you have achieved. Recognise your successes, and your mistakes. Keep learning. Don’t forget to celebrate!

Recognise that the journey isn’t over. You are in a position where you will be ok even in an economic downturn. What you are not in a position for: Stopping.

You are entering a feeling of uncertainty, a grey area… You may find it hard to talk about your success with the people you trust, because they haven’t followed the same path as you. Everyone is on their own journey.

If people know how much time you have in the bank they may start to feel jealousy, frustration, like they’re being left behind. But you don’t have enough time in the bank to share just yet. This is the grey area. You’ll start to feel like you should be able to help, but you just can’t. Any extra outgoings will slow you down. This is a hard place to be in, especially if you have people close to you who aren’t doing quite as well as you.

It is done!

Only you will know when you reach Financial Independence.

At this stage you have complete freedom to follow your dreams.

This isn’t an abundance of money, it is an abundance of time. Use it wisely.

What happens if you continue further on the journey?

Going further: “Fat FIRE”

Now things are starting to get serious. The further you can go, the more options you have. Now you can start to think about spending money not just on your expenses. Now you can think about funding new businesses, on helping others, on philantropic ventures.


From Wikipedia: Philanthropy is a form of altruism that consists of “private initiatives, for the public good, focusing on quality of life”.

If you truely have some spare money, then you can think about how you can use it to help others.

There may even be options available to you which can both help others, and create investment returns.

The further you go advance in your journey, the greater the impact you can achieve.

Dealing with negativity

This is the worst part of humanity. The many who hate the few. People who believe you have done something illegal to get to where you are, or you’re part of a conspiracy, or that you’re using your resources to create harm in this world.

People will criticise you, people will question you, people will start assuming they know better things they could do with your money.

Ignore those voices and follow what you believe to be right, what you have researched and understand. You can create the impact you believe in. Don’t let the voices of hate from those who haven’t achieved hold you back from doing good.

Drop the haters. There will be many. They will have the loudest voices. Ignore them. Move forward.

Nobody knows how hard you have worked to be where you are. If they did, they wouldn’t be jealous, they would be standing next to you while they are on their own journey.

Find people you can trust, people who believe in you, and people you believe in. Help good people create good in this world, and let good people help you achieve your good.