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How the pandemic forged new FIRE followers, with a difference

The stock market is also more attractive than ever, which made a rapid comeback after its first pandemic dive and flourished even as the economy continued to collapse. Suddenly investing your money seemed like the smartest (and safest) thing to do with it, even if you didn’t have much. And with the growing popularity of retail investment platforms like Robinhood, many newbie investors have become curious.

“A lot of people started asking me about cryptocurrency, and I was like, ‘Okay, we can talk about this, but let’s talk about index funds first,’” Ms. Souffrant said. “I think you should master the basics first before you get into things like crypto. Do you know what a Roth IRA is? Are you investing your 401 (k)? “

For Kayla Marshall, a 28-year-old finance executive for a private university in Florida, the last year brought a daunting new set of responsibilities when she left her mother’s house and bought her first home in Brevard County. , in Florida.

“I needed to feel that everything would be fine if everything fell under me,” Ms. Marshall said. As a single mother of a 5 year old, she also had a specific set of financial needs that were often not covered in many traditional personal finance blogs or books. She eventually got answers by joining Facebook groups with women discussing FIRE and financial independence.

A year later, she may not be on track to retire early, but her financial situation is better than ever.

“I learned to find the pleasures of life more modestly,” she says. “I still love to travel, but now we go camping instead of spending money on a hotel room or an amusement park. I realized that my son is just as happy to go for a walk on the beach as he is at Disney World. The reduction in travel and other discretionary expenses has allowed him to repay approximately $ 10,000 in debt since 2020.

Financial preparedness hasn’t completely inoculated anyone with the trials of the pandemic – but it certainly helped. Jess Fickett, 34, who lives in Denver and co-runs personal finance website Bitches Get Riches, was fired from her book publishing job in mid-2020.

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