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Thursday, January 17, 2019

How much do you need to have for FAT FIRE

To answer this question, we first have to define what is "FAT FIRE".  
No. Not that kind of FAT FIRE.

There is no simple numerical benchmark for determining whether one has reached FAT FIRE (FF). Presumably, FF in New York is likely to demand a lot more than FF in Thailand.

Even in the same country, what is FF for one person may be lean FIRE for another. A lot depends on what you consider "intractable luxuries".

However, with some broad assumptions of costs, we may be able to determine (imagine?) what a FF lifestyle might entail:

(Conservative) Fixed monthly costs:

Mortgage/Rent: 2,500 (2BR condo not in Core Central Region)
Car plus use costs:  2,000 (sorry not Z4 or GTR, more like Mercedes A180)
Medical Insurance: 150
Parent Maintenance: 1,000 (I know not all folks are required to support their parents)
Utilities/Internet/Phone: 400
Food/Shopping/Entertainment: 4,000
Travel and Holiday: 1,333 (assume 2 holidays per year, each costing 8k)

TOTAL: $11,383 
Annual Expense: $136,596 

In other words, for a very basic FAT FIRE lifestyle, one's portfolio must be able to fund an annual expense of $136,596.

If you consistently generate a return of investment of 6% (which is respectable), your portfolio needs to be at least $2.277 M.  However, one should always include a buffer for expenses (to survive during lean years or prolonged bear markets), say, around 30%. Including the 30% buffer, you should return at least $177,570 annually on your portfolio. If your annual expense falls below that, the excess should be ideally re-invested to boost the portfolio returns and resilience.

Using this magical 177K benchmark, assuming 6% returns, one may conclude that a portfolio of $3M is minimally required to achieve FAT FIRE.

How long does one need to work to hit FAT FIRE levels? 

Is it worthwhile to achieve FAT FIRE after 50 years old when your best years are already behind you?

Should one aim for regular FIRE (or gasp, lean FIRE) so that one may stop working in their late 30s or 40s?

These are deeply personal questions, which i have yet to figure out myself.  Too bad i was not the winner of the 9M toto draw, which going by the above calculations, could potentially provide FAT FIRE for three persons. Sigh.  Enough with the day dreaming.  Back to slogging towards that elusive $3M.

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