Forget FIRE– Let’s Get HOT

When I went to the Netherlands in November, I navigated my way through streets filled with weaving bicycles, friendly people, and best of all, shops with poffertjes in the window — mini-pancakes dusted in sugar.

After those melt-in-the-mouth magic wonders, I am ready for the next big idea coming from Northern Europe. In this case, I stumbled on a new acronym coming from a meeting of Dutch FIRE bloggers: HOT.

A photo from my November trip

Many people take issue with the “RE” of FIRE; that is, retire early. Some have said we ought to call it “retirement elective,” because, let’s face it, retirement comes with its own connotations: a new fascination with historical fiction followed by many hours playing golf.

A group of Dutch FIRE bloggers put together a new acronym to encapsulate the true meaning of financial independence. They call it HOT:

Happy, Opportunity Rich, and Time Rich

As Divnomics explains,

“It’s basically covering the real essence of what we set out to be our goals: Being able to choose what you do, whenever you want to do this, in order to have a more meaningful and happy life.”

FIRE is a radical departure from how most people live, and that doesn’t change when you venture out of the US. Even though tax laws, health insurance, and income ranges look radically different across the globe– the pursuit of a meaningful life is the same.

Happiness

Saving money isn’t about the money. It’s about being able to do what makes you happy. It’s about choosing what to say yes to. Intentionality in your life can help you make choices that fulfill you.

Woman smiling with sunglasses on

Broadening Your Opportunities

Perhaps you have always wanted to travel but can never find the time. Maybe you always wanted to be an artist, but your parents convinced you that being an accountant would be more fiscally responsible.

If you have the safety net of an emergency fund, you have the space to try out new opportunities. You can put down the spreadsheets and pick up a paintbrush. You can ditch your dreary city to move to a mountain town.

Snowboarder kicking up snow
Would you take up snowboarding if you had the opportunity?

Taking Back Time

Jobs have a tendency to tie us down. We have to be at the same place every day, with few vacation days to spare. It doesn’t feel like we are in control of our own schedules. Being financially independent means you can set your own hours, taking time into your own hands. You have the freedom to decide what to do with each hour of every day.

Hiker relaxing in hammock
What would you do if you didn’t have to rush back to the office?

If you ever struggle to explain FIRE, it might be easier to start with HOT— saving money not to be rich in cash, but to be rich in happiness, opportunities, and time.

let's get hot: happy, opportunity-rich, time-rich

If you are interested in branching out of the US-centric blogosphere, I recommend checking out these blogs (you may need Google Translate)

FIRE in Europe fascinates me because even though techniques, tax laws, and target retirement numbers may vary, the core philosophies are the same. We all strive for more autonomy and making our money work for us.

As for the acronym change, let’s be real, not that many people want to be on FIRE, but everyone wants to be HOT.

31 Comments

  1. I’m onboard! Like you said, “FIRE” doesn’t really describe my financial goals because I don’t necessarily want to retire early—what I want is the freedom to decide what to pursue and how to spend my time. Definitely going to look into this concept some more!

    1. I love that! I think the freedom and independence aspect is the most important part of “FIRE.” Continuing to work on what is fulfilling and meaningful to you shouldn’t mean you aren’t actually FIRE’d. I’m glad we have another vote, it’s getting HOT in here!

  2. I get so sick of mainstream media trying to capture the essence of FIRE. Maybe HOT will be easier to grasp.

    1. Yes it gets tiresome when everyone is hung up on the definition of “retirement”. It’s nice to have a new framework to try to express what we are trying to do here.

  3. We are not just on FIRE, we are very HOT too 😉
    Love the post mate!
    P.s. I might still occasionally write something on the blog, just nowhere near as frequent as I used to write..

    1. I’m glad! I was bummed when I checked you out, saw that post, checked Geld out, looked like they had a similar-type post, and then I thought Divnomics was out until I realized she rebranded! I thought ya’ll disappeared on me right as I figured out your secrets 😉

    1. I really enjoyed reading your experiences! I lived in Madrid for 6 months and we are thinking of moving to Spain again some day so it was awesome to read your blog.

  4. That is a HOT post, Financial Mechanic. Love the acronym as it truly describes what I get out of being on FIRE truly – always struggled with the RE bit.

    The European FIRE community is much larger than I expected. I mostly followed US blogs until recently. Financial Independence Europe podcast and Firehub.eu are good sources to learn about other European bloggers.

    1. I think millenial-revolution was the first non-US blog I followed and it made me realize that it’s easy to have a narrow money focus and forget about the way other countries and cultures handle money!

  5. I met Adine while volunteering at FinCon last year! It was interesting to hear how things are different in Ned! She also completely changed the way I think about the task of stuffing swag bags 😁 her way was waaaayyyy faster!

    1. There is so much knowledge to be had from cross-cultural exchange. Especially things like stuffing swag bags ha!

      1. We were all trying to pick up the papers/fliers one page at a time and stacking them, but some were glossy and would slip away. She used the taco method, stuffing things inside the printed agenda booklet, and it went easily 30% faster!! 😁

  6. Definitely a more interesting way to frame the FIRE movement, I think. Because a lot of people don’t retire per se so much as move into different occupations (often, it seems, blogging) so “opportunity rich” seems perhaps the most fitting description.

  7. To the HOT movement! I often find myself referring to the FIRE movement as just FI since people do experience some sort of shock at the notion of retiring early.

    1. I personally enjoy the shock of people realizing you can retire early, but FI is way easier for most people to understand. Even then, sometimes I feel the need to explain that my version of FI isn’t that “my parents don’t pay my cellphone bill anymore” but actually “I won’t need to work anymore”

    1. Yes there are some definite differences in terms of social safety nets and also income limits. I almost moved to the UK but my salary would be about 1/3 of what it is now.

  8. Super post and I most say HOT resonates with me much better than FIRE.I’m from The Netherlands so this may be why 😉

  9. This is precisely my approach toward financial freedom. I don’t need to “never work again”, I just need to be HOT! 🙂 Thank you for including the European perspective. I’ve lived and worked mostly outside of the US, and most of the PF articles on 401k and the rest of the acronyms often mean nothing to me.

    1. After living in the UK for a while, it made me realize that my understanding of money was very U.S. focused. I’m always excited to learn about how other cultures approach thing we consider central to our lives: money, food, and family. Look at all the amazing things other cultures have done with their food! We can similarly learn about how to change up our approach to money. Thanks for adding your voice to the HOT movement 🙂

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