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March 19, 2024

7 Life-Changing Benefits of Coast FIRE

Family freedom

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Investing for retirement is a smart idea, but eventually, you get to a point where you don’t need to contribute any more money to achieve your retirement goals. That’s what we call Coast FIRE. 

When that money gets freed up, some incredible life benefits become available. I learned these benefits from dozens of interviews with other Coast FIRE families nationwide.

My wife and I have experienced these perks too after achieving Coast FIRE at 40. We have $650,000 invested for our retirement today. We’re 42 years old with 18 years until retirement.

If we stop contributing and don’t touch our investments until we’re 60, we could have between $1,800,000 – $2,600,000 (including inflation). That could provide an annual income of $72,000 – $104,000. Since our family of four spends less than this annually, we feel comfortable decreasing or even stopping our contributions altogether.  

Now that you know the concept and the math behind it, here are 7 benefits of Coast FIRE.

Vacation More

When you slow down or stop your retirement contributions, you’ll have more money to vacation today.

Many people think, “Well, when I retire, I’ll travel more.” Or “When I stop working it'll be time to ramp up my adventures.”

But what if you don’t want to hike or ski anymore when you’re in your 60s or 70s? What if those trips across the country sound like more of a pain than a fun journey?

Coast FIRE allows you to take advantage of more of your money for trips and adventures with the ones you love today! 

Enjoy More Fun Money

Depriving yourself of the little joys in life gets old fast. With more money available, you can treat yourself more.

Have you been saying “no” to that dinner with friends too much lately? Make room for it in your budget now that you’re Coast FIRE.

Or have you sacrificed those self-care moments you need in your life? Swing the pendulum away from the super-saver mindset and toward the maximize family experiences mindset. 

This becomes a lot easier when you're tracking your money with a budget. Check out our list of the best budget apps for families!

Pay Off Your Mortgage

After hitting Coast FIRE, another idea that provides emotional relief and financial flexibility is to become mortgage-free. 

We paid off the mortgage on our $500,000 home in 5 years. That allowed us to lower our annual expenses by $15,000 per year. 

With lower expenses, we had more flexibility with our work and even more margin to live life fully. Combining the benefits of a paid-off house and Coast FIRE can be a recipe for family financial independence! 

Start a Business

Your budget becomes more open when you’re Coast FIRE and even mortgage-free. This can allow you to save up money to start a business!

If you’ve always dreamed of becoming a small business owner, this can be your moment to do it. With a little capital built up in a high-yield savings account, you can create a “monetary bridge” that allows you to move away from work you don’t enjoy and toward a work life you do enjoy. 

After hitting Coast FIRE and becoming mortgage-free, we piled up a sizeable chunk of change. That became our FU Money bridge which allowed me to walk away from being a full-time employee and become a part-time business owner. 

Full-Time To Part-Time Work

Let’s say you and your spouse are working full-time and enjoying life part-time. With Coast FIRE, you can flip that script and enjoy life full-time and work part-time. 

When you don’t need as much money to pay for your living expenses and retirement contributions then you don’t need to work as much. 

Perhaps you’ve been working hard for a decade or two and you’re burnt out. Luckily, you’ve been piling up money in your workplace 401k to the point where you’re Coast FIRE. If you and your spouse dial back your retirement contributions, one of you could go to part-time work depending on your annual living expenses. 

This life hack is ideal if one of the spouses wants to become a stay-at-home parent. A debt-free, Coast FIRE and mortgage-free life makes this transition a lot easier!

Spend More Time With Aging Parents

As our parents age, it's important to carve out time for them. God willing they are healthy and vibrant and get to spend time with you during these years or decades. Or they might be sick or injured and need you more than ever. 

Coast FIRE allows you to step back from working and spend time with the people who brought you into this world. Your parents may be struggling financially and need your support with getting things back on track.

My Dad and Mom are healthy and happy in their mid-70s. Since becoming Coast FIRE, I’ve made it a point to see them more often. We’re making more memories now than when I was working full-time. I’m truly grateful for these years. 

Give More

Scientific studies continue to find links between generosity and overall happiness. When we’re able to give more of our time and money, it can lead to a more fulfilling life. 

After achieving Coast FIRE, consider laddering up your giving from where it is today. This giving can be to charities and causes that call to your heart. It can be to family and friends. Or it can even be through random acts of kindness to your neighbors in need. 

One of my favorite daily generosity hacks is to always have $1 bills and $10 bills in my glove compartment. No matter who is asking, I’ll always give $1. If someone is selling something like lemonade or performing music, I’ll give them $10. 

This is just one easy way to give. It creates community, smiles and ripple effects of positivity. Practicing gratitude and generosity can expand your mind and potentially the meaning of your life. 

Final Thoughts on the Benefits of Coast FIRE

If stopping your retirement contributions sounds dangerous or scary, I completely get it. We all want to make sure we're living comfortably in our later years too. Consider decreasing your contributions instead of stopping. That could be a good starting place.

Remember, it's likely that you'll have some social security income in retirement as well. Check to see how much you might have coming your way. And even if your retirement plans require a small amount of seasonal or part-time work, there are emotional and health benefits to working in retirement

The best thing for you to do is see for yourself. Check out our new and free Coast FIRE Calculator to see how close you are to Coast FIRE. If you’ve achieved this milestone according to the calculator, consider these 7 benefits of Coast FIRE and see how adjusting your contribution level might help you realize some or all of them. 

What do you think of these benefits of Coast FIRE? Does Coast FIRE sound like a financial goal worth pursuing?

Please let me know in the comments below.

Andy Hill

Andy Hill, AFC® is the award-winning family finance coach behind Marriage Kids and Money - a platform dedicated to helping families build wealth and happiness. With millions of podcast downloads and video views, Andy’s message of family financial empowerment has resonated with listeners, readers and viewers across the world. When he's not "talking money", Andy enjoys being a Soccer Dad, singing karaoke with his wife and relaxing on his hammock.

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