In October 2019, we were approached by a book publisher to write a book about the FIRE movement and our journey to FIRE! It was serendipity, as we've always wanted to write our own book, but just hadn't found the time or the right opportunity.
We started writing the book in November 2019, as we embarked on a 10-week trip to Europe and South America, and we turned in our final manuscript in February 2020. We are currently in the editing and build-out process, which will take a few months.
We'll share more information as we go, including excerpts from the book, and ways to get special pricing. As first time authors, we're very excited!
We completed the final manuscript for our book on February 18, 2020, when COVID-19 was still in its infancy.
The editing process was going great. On March 9, our managing editor even said “There are not many edits; in fact, our DE (Developmental Editor) mentioned to me he thought the manuscript was in excellent shape, and he wished he had read this title earlier in his life (don't we all)!” Music to our ears!
But as the days moved on, the news about the virus grew worse and worse. By March 17, we were in a “shelter in place” in the SF Bay Area, and we knew this was just the tip of the iceberg. On March 18, I asked our editor if we could write a Foreword for the book to address what had happened.
It was the most difficult writing assignment we’ve ever had: In 300 words, trying to put COVID-19 and its effects (both on lives lost and global economic impact) into some sort of context with respect to FIRE and personal finances. Here is what we wrote:
We turned in the final manuscript for this book on February 18, 2020, and less than 30 days later, the entire world has been turned upside down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Dow Jones closed today at 19,898 points, 33% below its record high of 29,551 on February 12, 2020, and the number of worldwide deaths from COVID-19 is over 10,000. By the time you read this book, those numbers will likely be much worse.
We have no way of yet knowing the full impact of this pandemic, but we do know it will cost many lives and will inflict an enormous toll on the global economy. This pandemic and its effects are unique, but we have faced other major hardships in the past: the 1918 Spanish Flu, the Great Depression, World War II, September 11, and the Great Recession of 2008. For every person living through those events, it must have felt bleak and hopeless.
Allison and I personally survived potential financial ruin after September 11, the Dot-Com Bust, and the 2008-09 Great Recession, when our investments fell by 50%. At the time, we didn’t know anything about FIRE, but we survived (and later thrived) by practicing the principles we lay out in this book. We took a long-range view and never stopped contributing to our 401(k) plans. We lived frugally, invested consistently, and spent our money mindfully. We built up an emergency fund, diversified our investments, and reduced our debts.
We weren’t perfect, but we were thoughtful and steady, and we improvised when necessary. As difficult as this moment may seem, we know we will eventually get through it. It may take a year, five years, or 10 years, but those who survive and do the right thing will be happy that they set the foundation for success now!