From the New York Times:
Fed up with the bro-heavy archetype of the FIRE trend (“financial independence, retire early”), women are carving out their own niche in the frugal-living movement.
“There’s this mind-set in FIRE discussions that you have to cut out everything that’s not essential, but what’s essential to a white male is very different from what’s essential to me,” the blogger Kiersten Saunders says.
By Charlotte Cowles
June 7, 2019
Kiersten Saunders stumbled upon the FIRE movement — an acronym for “financial independence, retire early” — the way most people do: by reading about it online. But also like most people, she couldn’t relate to its membership, which seemed largely white, male and based in Silicon Valley.
“When I first started looking at the FIRE blogs, it was a bit of a culture shock,” says Mrs. Saunders, 34, a marketing director in Atlanta. “As a black American and as a woman, I knew that I wouldn’t be able to replicate exactly what they did.”
FIRE disciples have a reputation as overworked millennials, usually with the word “software” in their job titles, who stockpile 50 percent or more of their six-figure paychecks so that they can quit cubicle life in their 30s. While hyper-frugality is hardly new, the concept recently acquired its catchy name and a cult following on Reddit forums and popular personal finance blogs like Mr. Money Mustache and Early Retirement Dude, both of which are written by white men. Many adherents get competitive, posting monthly spending reports online as they race to hit their FIRE number — a chunk of assets that will theoretically generate enough income through dividends and interest to support them for the rest of their lives.
A central tenet of the movement is that with enough grit, financial savvy, and willingness to eat rice and beans, “anyone” can do it. But that’s simply not true. …
“There’s this mind-set in FIRE discussions that you have to cut out everything that’s not essential, but what’s essential to a white male is very different from what’s essential to me,” says Mrs. Saunders, who plans to hit her FIRE number (which she calculated using the 4 percent rule, a popular tactic in which retirees withdraw no more than 4 percent of their total savings each year) in 2021.
“There’s a cost to maintaining this Afro,” she adds.