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‘FatFIRE’ is the anti-‘quiet quitting’ — here’s how it works

(NEXSTAR) – At least 50% of the U.S. workforce is currently made up of “quiet quitters,” according to a recent Gallup data — meaning workers do just enough to keep jobs they’re unsatisfied with. But a new “anti-quiet quitting” workplace trend is now gaining attention online. It’s called “FatFIRE.”

Unlike quiet quitting and its encouragement of disengagement, the concept of FatFIRE (which includes an acronym standing for “Financial Independence, Retire Early”) encourages workers to engage harder with jobs they may not necessarily like, to earn as much money as possible before “retiring” with an investment nest egg. Essentially, just grin and bear the job, stash as much money into stock options (like index funds) as you can, and then live off of the money.

The /FatFIRE subreddit, which currently boasts over 328,000 members, explains that there isn’t a set amount of money one must amass, but members of the group are generally considered “on the path” if they have enough to cover anticipated living expenses of at least $150,000 per year. This is known as the “FIRE number.”

The group’s subreddit even includes the concept’s mantra, “Retire with a fat stash” — hence the “fat” part in the name.

It’s important to note the concept is likely much harder for people in some industries to accomplish than others. Additionally, because FatFIRE aims for retiring “at an overabundant or luxurious level,” nest eggs needed to do it are dependent upon your area and living situations.

According to Forbes, someone pursuing a FatFIRE endeavor would need around $2.5 million in a portfolio to eventually have around $100,000, per year, to live off during retirement. FatFIRE goals may include being able to pay your bills but also having excess money to live in areas with higher costs, or to travel frequently — in addition to eventual costs of aging, as Time reports.

In addition to the challenges of stashing away enough for a nest egg, Forbes senior contributor Jack Kelly explains there are some significant downsides to FatFIREing, including potential major stock market disruptions, expensive personal catastrophes, and the possibility of needing to re-enter the job market after years away.

So even though FatFIRE presents an alternative to quiet quitting — albeit one that only a certain segment of the workforce can hope to achieve — the actual concept doesn’t remedy job satisfaction, which Gallup data shows is steadily declining. Gallup found the percentage of workers under age 35 who felt engaged with their jobs dropped 6 percentage points from 2019 to 2022. Meanwhile, the percentage of remote or hybrid employees (under age 35) who said they felt supported at work dropped 12 percentage points.

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