coast fi

Coast FI: The better way to retire early


Coast FI your way to freedom

Subject: Coast FI

I’ve been seeing a meme circulate recently on a couple of the ‘investing’ or ‘financial motivation’ instagram accounts I follow.  Despite the broken English on a few of them, there’s sometimes some tidbits.

This particular post includes Charlie Munger and more famously known, Warren Buffet.  The two billionaire dinosaurs are sharing a laugh together and the bottom exclaims how you need to reach your first $100,000 in net worth.  After that you can ease off the pressure, but you need to do absolutely everything that’s necessary to get $100K.

How to make 6 figures?

Now to many people, $100,000 is a huge sum of cash.  Heck, I wager 90% of the world won’t ever see that much in their lifetimes.  To others – albeit a very small minority – it’s a monthly take home.  Crazy. 

$100,000 means drastically different things to different people, as shown above.  What is so special about that number, sure it’s another digit on your net-worth, which is absolutely something to be proud of and work towards.  But what does it really signify for an individual.

Before I come to my own conclusion, and make an – unfortunately larger – adjustment to your goal number when you can take your foot of the gas in terms of striving for wealth. Let me share some FIRE community concepts with you.

FIRE Financial Independence and Retire Early

FIRE, which is an acronym for Financial Independence, Retire Early.  Is a movement where people aim to save and invest as much money as possible in a shorter amount of time to be financially free and retire decades sooner than the norm of 65-70.  Taking control of your life and buying your freedom sooner than later is the idea.

Now in the community, there are many ways you can go about reaching FIRE of various forms of it.  Some people reduce their life to extreme minimalism and reach a number of a few hundred thousand to which their invests might cover there $15,000 annual budget.  Good for some, unlikely good for many.

How to reach the 1%

Others are able to make ridiculous amounts of sacrifices and retire with a million or two in under 10 years.  This is obviously not available to a majority of people as this requires professional salaries, privilege and luck.  Even if you are making $100,000 per year.  The sacrifices, extra work and consistency of struggle and perseverance for 10 long years would make someones hair prematurely grey – trust me.

You would not be alone if you fit into neither of these above two categories.  I didn’t even touch on FatFire. Due to the above being unavailable or unattractive to most, a new concept is becoming more popular in the FIRE world.

It’s the concept of Coast FI.  Short for; Coast Financial Independence.  


Coast FI: retire early without all the sacrifice

You can likely guess the meaning.  Basically the idea is, you put the work in up front to get to a certain number; say $100,000.  And once you have that amount, you can ease up and technically don’t need to invest ever again.  As that number should reach your financial freedom number in a certain amount of years.

$100,000 dollars invested in a total market index (which has shown to yield about 7% over the long term) would grow to just over a million dollars in 31 years.  And investing $600 a month could get you to $100,000 in ten years.  So a 20 year old who started investing could retire a millionaire at 60 hypothetically. Pretty cool.

That’s 40 years to become a millionaire.  40 years to punch the clock to reach the light at the end of the tunnel once your grey and past your prime.  Technically, yes.  But CoastFI looks at this in a different way.

Make $100,000 in 2021

Sure you might have to do some shitty work up front to get that $100,000 to invest while you are still trying to live.  But once you get to that magical number, you can technically stop investing. There you just need to work on surviving to maintain whatever lifestyle you prefer.  Maybe you want a big house, fancy car and expensive clothing and you don’t mind working the hours and handling the stress to do it.  Maybe you love your job.  

Or maybe you want to live on the beach, surf and play guitar.  Don’t need much to live in Thailand.  I’ve never seen more smiles than in Southeast Asia.

Coast FI helps you live the life you were born to

The point is, you can do whatever you want, because you already have your future secured.  One year you could do nothing but travel.  The next you could work 60 hours a week towards something meaningful to you.  The next you could work part time while you write a book.  You could even come to China to teach English for life experience – shameless plug!

Once you hit your coast number, you’re just coasting.  You don’t need to wait to enjoy life at retirement.  And you’ve got yourself covered.  Of course situations can change and the future is unknown but this is a pretty conservative strategy.

Can you become a TEFL millionaire teaching ESL?

For myself and my situation personally, the idea of having to work for 40 years to earn money to live sounds horrible.  And I am willing to work myself grey to get this all done sooner.  Teaching ESL in China has also made this a reality for me.

I’ve written in the past, on how you could work 7 days a week, +60 hours a week for 10 years or less, starting from 0 and make a million dollars.  And I would be happy to show you how to do it.  

I was on track for this.  But by year 4, the hair on my head, face and chest is greying.  It’s been over a year since I’ve seen my friends and family.  I’ve missed weddings, and births.  Whats the point of all the money, if you miss out on life.  Whats the point on retiring at 40 if you have no one left to live the rest of your life with.

Get a grip on your money and your life

But I’m still hell bent on retiring early and buying my freedom as soon as possible.  So Coast FI has really resonated with me lately.  And I’ve realized I don’t ever want to stop working.  I just want to work on my own terms and reasonable hours that allows me to live normally.  But I want to have my future covered and never worry about money.  This requires the up front grind, and a bit of coast afterwards.

So for almost anyone willing to work and make a few sacrifices in the western world.  I recommend $100,000 being your coast FI number.  

Coast FI number for the ambitious ones

For those in privileged situations with high earning jobs or an unhealthy willingness to work overtime, I suggest your coastFI number being $250,000.  It might sound like a lot, but for less than $1,400 a month invested, in 10 years you can reach this.  And once you have a quarter million dollars. In 20 years you will have 7 digits.  One million dollars.  That same 20 year old can retire at 50.  Wild.

I’ve made many assumptions along the way; that the future will continue to provide a 7% return over the long term.  That you need 1 million dollars to retire.  That many people can even find a way to put away $600 a month in an investment.  This concept won’t work for everyone.  Whether it’s over or under for your personal situation matters less than having a goal and working towards it.  At the end of the day, having any money saved up and no debt makes you ahead.  I just want to help get you there. Coast FI is one way to do it.

Stop struggling, start winning at life by teaching ESL in China

If Coast FI, retiring early and travel is part of your life plans and what you’re doing right now isn’t getting you there, let me show you how you can earn enough to save +$6,000 per month teaching English in China. 

Contact me for more details.

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  • Currently located in China, teaching English and working towards Financial Freedom. I write about money, travel, personal development and more!


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