FIRE Movement Philippines: Financial Independence & Retire Early - The Thrifty Pinay

FIRE Movement in the Philippines: Financial Independence & Retire Early

When I first heard about the FIRE Movement in the Philippines (Financial Independence Retire Early), I was so intrigued, but I wasn’t ready to jump on board. I was in awe knowing that a handful of fellow Pinoys have retired in their early 30s and 40s and I undoubtedly knew that that is one of the things I sought for.

But still, I couldn’t fathom myself in the FIRE narrative. Some points are just too vague and confusing. Consequently, when I started hearing about different types of FIRE, I focused on my personal financial standing to see what was possible. Only then did I decide to jump on the bandwagon.

I agree that having different types of financial independence can be confusing. This is why I’m writing this post so I can provide you with examples of different approaches to FIRE.

FIRE MOVEMENT in the Philippines

1. What is Financial Independence (FI)?

Financial Independence is when you have sufficient passive income that can cover your full expenses.

Admit it, most of us want or need to retire. But the truth is, expenses are neverending even if we are no longer able to work anymore. This is where passive income comes to the rescue. If you achieve FI earlier, you have an option to quit working or use your financial freedom in another way. 

1.1 2 main approaches in achieving FIRE in the Philippines:

a. Investing in the Stocks

  • Dividends – You can buy stocks that provide dividend payouts. Before people reach FI, they will often reinvest these dividends. After FI, they can withdraw them to cover their expenses.
  • Selling shares – You get profit when you sell shares. A lot of adherents suggest the 4% rule of thumb that says that for a retirement of 30 years, you can withdraw 4% of your portfolio each year without running out of money. Studies show that the market will grow by approximately that rate or more each year, so you will typically be withdrawing the gains.

Note: An alternative to stocks is Investing in Index funds which are a diversified, hassle-free, no-fuss, and low-cost means of investing in the Stock market. When you invest in INDEX FUNDS, you are automatically invested in the Philippines’ TOP 30 Companies whose shares are being traded in the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE).

Its main goal is to “mirror” the PSE index (PSEi)

b. Generating passive cash flow

  • Real Estate Investing: Adherents can invest in a rental properties and receive passive income from renters.
  • Create digital products to sell online: The great thing about creating a digital product is that you can continue to sell it online for the rest of your life. Some things you can sell are books and ebooks, templates, courses, audiobooks, etc. A little reminder though as this strategy typically requires a lot of upfront work before becoming successful. Some people also sell physical products through dropshipping wherein the products and shipping are taken care of by a fulfillment company – making it a semi-passive stream of income. 
FIRE Movement in the Philippines: Financial Independence & Retire Early

As for my husband and I, we are a hybrid of both. We currently have our own stock portfolios as we invest consistently for the long term. He gravitates more towards real estate investing while I work on digital products such as my book and my blog.

Having multiple sources of income to boost more income is a must for us while we keep our lifestyle the same or even lower so we can accelerate our way to reach the FI Crossover point.

2. What is Financial Independence Retire Early (FIRE)?

Some adherents might say they have already “FIREd” when they have reached financial independence and then subsequently decided to retire early.

There are numerous takes on what early retirement actually means. For some, it could be choosing to never earn another centavo ever again. For others, it could mean choosing to do only things they truly want to do – an added bonus if they can generate income from it too. Or perhaps to others, it may mean quitting their job at age 35 and never working again for the rest of your life.

3. Different types of FIRE Movement in the Philippines

There are so many different kinds of FIRE that it’s hard to keep them all straight. 

I can understand that this may be so confusing, especially for those who are new to learning about FIRE. But, I actually find it pretty cool that there are so many different “flavors” of it since not one singular path can resonate with everyone. 

Traditional FIRE

The FIRE Movement Philippines’ initial goal was to save as much money as possible for retirement. However, this goal has now evolved. People need to change their life or discover new methods to generate money to enhance their savings.

Lean FIRE

This is for super thrifty people who have very lean expenses, typically living on less than what the average Filipino family spends yearly. Most retirees are thrifty and wish to stay that way throughout their golden years. In addition, they incorporate minimalism thus reducing the need for substantial savings. As a result of fewer expenditures, investing money is easy.

Fat FIRE

The opposite of Lean Fire. This is for those who are building much larger nest eggs ( sum of money saved for the future) to support a more luxurious lifestyle with higher spending come retirement.

For this reason, a greater retirement fund is necessary.

Barista FIRE

It’s kind of like a semi-retirement. It’s when you take a part-time job that you enjoy that can provide you with a paycheck, health insurance, or other benefits. The term “Barista FI” was originally derived from Starbucks who offers benefits to part-time workers.

To achieve this level of financial independence, you’ll need a portfolio to cover some of your expenses and part-time employment to cover the rest.

Do note that you don’t need to literally get a job as a barista to fall under Barista FIRE. Any type of job that you enjoy could put you in this category of semi-retirement. 

Coast FIRE

Coast FIRE’s goal is to make as much money as possible soon so it can develop. This is when you’ve reached a point where you no longer need to contribute any more to your retirement account whilst letting compound interest naturally bring you to financial independence over time.

FIRE Movement in the Philippines: Financial Independence & Retire Early

4. Create Your Own Path to achieve FIRE

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to pursuing FIRE. As you work towards financial freedom, you get to decide what you uniquely want to do with your life.

You can:

  • Retire as early as you can
  • Work less
  • Become self-employed
  • Find a job you enjoy more
  • Quit your job and find one you enjoy more
  • Start your own business
  • Take a career break
  • Negotiate full-time remote work

And so much more. The FIRE movement in the Philippines (or worldwide though) also integrates psychology and philosophical concepts meaning when you build up your financial freedom, it’s important to explore other options so you can design a life you truly love.

5. Final Thoughts about FIRE Movement in the Philippines

Today there are thousands of Filipinos documenting their FIRE journey on Instagram and Facebook and I can’t help but feel motivated to work on mine too.


We are fortunate to live in such a remarkable time as it has never been easier in history to make loads of money while designing a life you love – which is what the FIRE movement in the Philippines is all about.

There’s a growing movement of Filipinos choosing to live life on their own terms. I’m definitely part of it and I hope you are too.

By Ameena Rey-Franc

Recognized as one of the Top Finance Blogs in the PH. Ameena Rey-Franc (founder of TTP) is a former Banker and BS Accountancy graduate turned Blogger, Keynote Speaker, and entrepreneur. Currently an RFP delegate, she is also the Author of a book about Financial Resilience and has held seminars for reputable companies like GrabFoodPH, Pru Life UK, VISA, JPMorgan Chase& Co., Paypal, Fundline, Moneymax, and many more. The Thrifty Pinay's mission is to empower women to LEARN, EARN, and be FINANCIALLY-INDEPENDENT no matter what life stage they are in.