# Financial independence for 7 years. You earn more and can spend less, and that can fund a secure retirement

Ready to do your own thing?

Those who are on track to be "financially independent and retiring early" -- or "FIRE" -- are. You'd need to be fired up to sock away enough money to quit your job and retire in just five years. But it's not impossible.

### Outside the Box

They almost never eat out, have no cable subscriptions and even dramatically downsized their home. While that's probably too much sacrifice for most people, see if you're on track to make it to financial freedom in 10, 15 or 20 years.

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Being financially independent means that income from your investments alone is enough to cover all your expenses. So how do you get there? The sunshine that makes most retirement funds grow is compound interest.

And it takes time to grow. But if you plan to retire early, you might not have as much time as someone targeting a traditional retirement.

As a result, the most important accelerant when working to be on "FIRE" is your savings rate. Most people targeting FIRE are living well below their means and saving more than half their income.

### To retire 5 years from now

Identifying the percentage of your after-tax income that you're saving to get to your retirement target is key. In order to make simplified calculation, we'll start with your after-tax income.

We'll also assume you have nothing saved right now. You're starting from zero.

You can also use an early retirement calculator like the one at Networthify to fill in your own numbers. But given our assumptions, here are your target savings rates and a simplified financial picture of what it would take to retire in 5, 10, 15 and 20 years.

### The Financial Independence Formula

Yes, that's for the whole year. No matter your income, this savings rate is going to be possible only for those people with virtually no debts.

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That's why many people working toward FIRE start by paying off their mortgage first, or live a car-free life. To retire 10 years from now If you want to give yourself a little more breathing room and still become financially independent 10 years from now, you're going to need to boost your savings rate financial independence for 7 years Again, housing costs will cut significantly into that money. But if you have incredibly low-cost or subsidized housing, you may be able make this work.

To retire 15 years from now You're up for saving hard to be financially independent, but maybe you have other debts you're carrying or aren't willing to make the extreme adjustments needed to save at a higher rate.

Financial independence 15 years from now may be a reasonable goal. You're still saving over half your income, but only just.

Resize icon iStockphoto Everyone knows they should start saving for retirement as soon as possible. According to AARPnearly half of American households headed by someone age 55 or older have no retirement savings. What is someone far behind on retirement savings to do? Can they learn anything from the FIRE financial independence, retire early community? The math is identical if you start saving in your 50s to reach financial independence at traditional retirement age.

Your savings rate is This may be the most manageable savings rate of these options, but even this plan, if started early enough will put you on FIRE. Are you working toward FIRE? Already there?

Once you reach Financial Independence, you no longer need to work for a living. In fact, just a few simple calculations can give you a rough estimate of how many years it should take you to get there, based on your current rate of spending and saving. Basically, the Financial Independence Formula has two parts.

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