What Fatty Fatty Fat FatFIRE Looks Like To Me

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What is fatFIRE? What is fatFIRE vs leanFIRE? How about some morbidly obese FIRE?!

This is a fun post where I let my mind run wild under all the different possibilities of extreme wealth. I got the idea from both Joe (Retire by 40) and Frugal Asian.

I’m assuming we have all heard of the term leanFIRE, fatFIRE and moFIRE now? While I introduced my Hippo to the general concept of FIRE and investing, it was my husband who made me aware of these sub-categories of early retirees:


LeanFIRE is the only steadfast ruled out of the 3 categories. It’s basically 25x your annual spending or a conservative withdrawal rate of 4% ($40K) with $1 million bucks invested in liquid assets such as stocks and dividends.

LeanFIRE is something I find to be very practical. It’s enough FU money to be financially free at a safe 4% withdrawal and after that, you can devote your time to work that matters to you.

I would happily leanFIRE with less than $1 million because I’m confident in the power of frugality and my resourcefulness. Plus, $1 million dollars is still quite a lot of money even these days.

The main issue would be the future landscape of healthcare and the cost of raising a family. Those were my husband’s biggest concern, that and the fact that we are towards the end of a bull run. There’s a difference between retiring with a million dollars in 2011 vs a million dollars in 2018.

FatFIRE is (at least I’ve always thought of it as) as having a return of around $100K or greater. It still has to apply to the 25x-30x rule of LeanFIRE but the net worth number is naturally bigger.

Generally, I think of the $100K threshold as a solidly “middle-class” number. A family of 4 could live comfortably, but not extravagantly, on that amount with $2.5 million invested.

Mr. Hippo (Jared is his human name) thinks that’s perfect for us. He works in big tech so there’s burn out abound. Engineers do not typically have long career spans. Big tech likes fresh young things and burns them out quick. Sometimes the salaries even go backward if they don’t reach a certain level by a certain age.

The 10 years FIRE date is based on my husband. We should land on our target of $4 million in about a decade; not sure. We seem to be at the end of a long bull run and either of us is optimistic about future returns so we’re padding that into the estimate, along with inflation.

Morbidly Obese FIRE (this name, my sides xD hahaha) is one tier ahead of the paltry $100k return per year of fatFIRE. I first heard of this term on Physicians on FIRE’s “What is fatFIRE” and I couldn’t stop laughing. I wouldn’t try to Google moFIRE right now. Even the all-knowing search engine thinks I’m asking for something…totally different.

I think this category of Financial Independence peeps just really like having lots of money or purely enjoy to keep busy with their work (high 5!) There’s absolutely nothing wrong with obese FIRE, it’s just a different tune but the same song and dance.

I don’t really know what amount quantifies as moFIRE. PoF said $200k+ in annual spending which means $5+ million. I think it should be left ambiguous as a catch-all since it’s going to be on the way out fringe of most early retirees anyways.

Is Fatty Fatty fatFIRE Possible?

For once I find the perfect image for the topic bawahahaha. #bloggerproblems

Not without us feeling very guilty at first I’ll tell you that much.

After a lifetime of frugal habits, I am sort of doubting we would surpass a personal spending of $40,000/year.

That means we can just live on my income (at my current income now) and maintain that standard since I don’t plan on “retiring.” Then we can let what we’ve built just ride.

Having been accidentally influenced by Mr. Executive in my very early 20s, he changed how I pictured my adult life. Like him, I will always be working on some scheme and building passive streams. I’ve said it over and over and over again but most people don’t really understand the nature of people like me.  It’s just not me to go on very long without making up ideas that frighten the husband.

If we play our cards according to plan over the next decade, we could reach some forms of obese FIRE goals on this list.

What Obese FIRE does not look like to me:

*Accumulation of “stuff”

*Private school


*Flashy cars/boats/etc.

*Expensive clothes/accessories/shoes (I rather thrift shop for adventure)

It just doesn’t do anything for us, to each their own?

I think I’m dead in the imagination because there’s not much I want more than all that I already have.

(Again, this list might probably not be super obese FIRE to some people much richer but there’s no clear definition of moFIRE. Since it’s my blog, I’ll just go with anything in the ballpark of whoever having more than $5+ million bucks, which sounds like a hefty, triple bypass worthy FI to me 🍔)

Wheeeeeeeeeeeee let’s go!!

1) Driverless Car

I’m still not over how cool this technology is. Hopefully, it’s more affordable in 10 years, if it rolls out by then.

Even in my wildest moFIRE dreams, I’m still thinking about a regular, mid-range, frugal version of whatever will be the Volvo versions of level 4 or 5 driverless cars.

I put this first because…I don’t know…I really want one so I can go to another city to eat famous Korean BBQ buffet without having to pay $100 for Lyft cab or mess with busing to the car lot, picking up a Zipcar, finding parking, driving back again, returning the Zipcar and taking a bus ride all the way back….when I was ready to coma-out from beef bulgogi-fest like…90 minutes ago.

Related: 5 Reasons Why We Live Car-Free (Until Driverless Cars That Is)

But seriously, driverless cars is #1 because we live in Washington and we want to stay in Washington. The rest of Mr. Hippo’s family is back in California. We love living in Washington state but being able to be near family and reaping the experience of tenured grandparents would be a huge upside.

Yesterday we almost entertained the thought of moving back to California even though there is sunshine and taxes galore. We don’t like sunshine; sunlight is…intrusive and should be blocked out by a giant round disk in the sky. Plus, California in one of the toughest states to retire in, along with New York.

Hippo and I think it’s a 1,000% nicer if we could go to sleep inside an autonomous electric vehicle, wake up in 9 hours, and find ourselves on California soil for a weekend with family. We wouldn’t have to worry about reporting back to work on Monday and we can extend our stay anytime. My in-laws and most of the family are all retired. Their house is huge now that they’re empty nesters. There are brothers and sisters all working and living around a few mile radii. We can be there for all the family celebrations and reunions, big or small. I would say fully autonomous cars makes for a big piece of the puzzle.

Hurry up science, while we’re young pleaseeeeeeee.

2) Multi-Gen Estate

European-inspired estate for rental and multi-gen dreamers. So much want.

modern-village-home3-minThere are two things I get green-eyed on: mother-in-law units and/or multi-unit rentals on a big acreage lot. You could almost see my millennial city dweller upbringing showing as I’m craving something practical, profitable but also uniquely different.

We currently live in Seattle where buildable land is rare, restrictive…and super expensive to say the least. The city clowncil and their red tapes put a damper on anything requiring a permit and dumping laws make building ridiculously expensive. If that changes then we can stay in the city, but right now, it’s not worth it.

I want to move to where there is more buildable land. Somewhere on the early stages of up-and-coming.

(The earth is effing huge, why don’t companies spread out with all these telecommunication capabilities now UGH.)

I would love to buy an acre of land, build a main 2-story Tudor brick house, no more than 2000ish square feet, and then smaller, detached units out in the style of a close-knit medieval village. I can’t find perfect examples of my ideal but the estate image above just went pending and…*someday, Lily, someday.*

We would like to stay in Washington state. Preferably, I would still like to live in or near a decent sized city, strong public schools, near a lake or river…so that narrows the land search considerably 😉

Naturally, we want to rent out the detaches and multi-gens but also try to pass something down through multiple generations. I might be coming off super concrete, but that’s because I’ve spent hours looking into these possible plans in all different parts of Washington. It’s such a fun way to blow time since it’s something that IS tangible down the road which makes it doubly exciting.

3) Wasabi Farm & Production



This was one idea my husband actually really liked from my bucket list. #JustBeingAsian

About 3 years ago, I was coming back from work and saw one of my housemates crawled out of the back of a truck carrying a jar of green goo. I didn’t know him that well but I was still like…

“WHAT THE SH*T JORGE!!! Did you just break into a truck to steal a jar?!”

(The truck was actually his so it wasn’t a total crime, but the merchandise was not.)

“Está bien, pruébalo! ;)”

*Offers me a teaspoon full of green mystery goo*


So when someone offers you stolen goods, you should say no. But according to Lily, apparently, if someone offers me stolen food – I take it without a single moral struggle. :\ I never said I was perfect.

But ladies and gentleman, that was the most surreal bite of physical food I’ve ever popped into my mouth!!

I floated down from heaven and said:

“WHERE CAN I BUY THIS? Where? I can pay you right now.”

Then Jorge starts laughing at me. His truck was just the vehicle of transport, he has no access to it.

That’s why he freakin’ looted it.

Getting real wasabi outside of Japan is hard and getting that stuff into production in the States is unheard of.

Bank financing for a vegetable? Not gonna happen.

The jar Jorge stole isn’t commercially available. They go to high-end restaurants and the restaurant serves a dollop of it on a plate of fancy for Lord knows how much. I can understand why Jorge rolled into his own truck to steal it. I would have done the same and it didn’t even have to be my truck.

Ugliest thing ever but the potential is there.

I’m glad he shared it with me because now I get to add it to my bucket list and bring it to production someday.

They keep well if harvested and stored right, there are tons of uses, and the demand is there. I only have a starter test plant and these suckers take several years to grow. They’re impossible to grow and sooooo fragile. They can only be grown on a small scale outside of Japan but (…its destiny y’all…) they grow very well in the Pacific Northwest! That’s another reason why I wanted to stay in Washington state. All the existing wasabi farms are located in Vancouver, Washington, and Oregon because we’re geared for them here.

4) Domestic Help

Now that I have given this serious thought while writing all this out…I don’t think it’s necessary to hire one specific person for one specific duty. I enjoy cooking and hubby enjoys baking so a personal chef or sommelier isn’t on top of the list even if I love to eat.

For convenience, it would be better to have a general extra hand around the house. If we wanted someone helpful to boil some mac n cheese, pick up a postal package, walk the dog, vacuum the carpet etc. while we’re in a pinch for a pair of extra hands. I am not picturing full-time help in my mind but someone who can come for a few hours, 3 days a week when we’re not down in California or traveling abroad.

I think too much help around the house might make the kids a bit too dependent and helpless. Chores are important to character building, even in the best kids.

5) Globetrotting Foods

I want to eat out anytime, anywhere in the continental United States and across the Oceans. It would be great if we were rich enough to be able to afford it instead of having to depend on travel funds by making YouTube videos that would distract us from enjoyment. It’s not a no from me in terms of documenting our journey but I shouldn’t sell it like it’s full-time, career work.

We should be able to take a few months off a year to jump around the globe for food. If we do have (biological or otherwise) kids, I want them to grow up to have a wider perception of the world. I think we’re all stuck in our own bubbles and echo chambers wayyy too much. It’s doing its own harm but no one but the weirdest people sees it.

It’s good to be able to get out there and check other customs and cultures. That in itself is a good privilege to have and it makes me happy being able to provide those experiences for kiddos.

6) Public School, Private Lessons

The private lesson thing is just to supplement in subjects that public education does not teach. If a balanced adult was to depend solely on the public education system then we would have all failed.

It’s better for our kids if they are at least bilingual (although preferably they can speak 3+ languages.) Learning Chinese, German, English and a concentration in robotics engineering is probably going to be very useful down the road. I imagine we’d be shipping our American tech talents overseas in 30 years time.

So why public school?

In my experience, public education is about a few varying degrees down in almost all aspects compared to private institutions. But then again…the strongest argument is simply kids who want to learn WILL learn.

I’m foreseeing a lot more coming struggles among the public education sector but my reasoning for them TO attend public school has nothing to do with education quality. It has to do with living in the real world. I remember being in ESL classes (English as Second Language) in middle school. There is always at least one kid per class hellbent to not learn. They stop the already gave up, tired teaching person from teaching and we all waste our time for the reprimand song and dance to end.

In an ultra-prestigious private school where children are treated with more triple the attention, care, and concession…there is less room for them to make and learn real-world mistakes.

You also don’t witness as many peer mistakes. But mistakes are good. If they’re going to make mistakes: I want them to do it early, witness disaster early and learn when they’re young.

I want them to be fearless and I don’t want to coddle them. Resilience is important. I would like to test them for resilience. I want my children to be able to break themselves out of prison if they needed to. If they’re going to be a chef, then I want them to be the best chef they can be. If they want to be professional drag queen then I want them to be the most inspiring queen.

Ultimately, I don’t want to pay more money when our tax dollars are already being used for the free alternative. They’ll get a crap ton from us when they’re fully grown, working adults, but we’ll try to be stingy bastards until then. Which leads me to…

7) Generational Wealth & Legacy

I’ve made it clear to Hippo from the beginning that leaving a legacy was not negotiable if our future was being together.

If I didn’t want to ensure legacy, we would already be FIRE and halfway to Hong Kong with a backpack full of cash.

I told Hippo if he didn’t agree with leaving a large inheritance, then it’s better if we stopped seeing each other.

The thought of losing our relationship momentarily scared him straight – now he’s after the legacy train too.

Passing down a legacy (money, real estate, x-factor, infamy) is non-negotiable. Well…barring our kids don’t turn out like spoiled shits, by which then I will just give everything away and chuck it under as “I fucking tried.” 🙂

Oh which reminds me, they also need to know that they did nothing to deserve being born financially free. You know, for humility sake.

They don’t have to be biologically ours. I’ve addressed this in the other post, however, they have to understand the possibilities from where they’re from is better than what most people ever got, and it’s best not squander or waste this blind gift.


I’m kind of running out of ideas. None of this short list is cheap though. Most of my obese FIRE ideas (rentals, commercial farm, private classes) all involve running some sort of business or putting in some form of investment. I mean…did you want me to get a regular house to live in? How does that sound like me? No! A property should generate income because…screw full price mortgage payments!!!

Related: Why The Rich Are Frugal Even When They Don’t Have To Be

But yeah, there will be plenty of tweaks but that’s the general plan. Stay in Washington, multi-gen. house, public school, globetrotting, legacy! Pieces can move and be replaced, it doesn’t matter. I did the numbers from to #1 to #6 and I think we need about $300K per year to afford everything if we brought in no additional income. Eeeeeeshhhh!!! $225K is a ton of money to blow on the non-essentials. Yikes. :\ I need to refrugal my center.

But then again, the estate was meant to be a bed & breakfast/rental and the wasabi farm would be an asset and/or profitable within 15 years. We would certainly pivot if not the case. Maybe I need to trim my fatty fat fatFIRE goals a little.

OK, this is getting weird, I’m talking about wasabi farming…wow what have I written. How was this post 3,300 words? I’m tapping out…

Item15-Year Cost
Total (yikes!)$3.36 M ($225K/year)
Autonomous Car$60K (give or take)
Estate + Rentals$1.5 M
Wasabi Farm$400K
Random Help$400K
Food & Travel$500K
Tutor & Classes$500K

WHAT’S YOUR DREAM FATTY FAT FAT FATTY FIRE? Go cray, throw something at me. Have I told you I once freelanced as a magic genie? 😉


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49 thoughts on “What Fatty Fatty Fat FatFIRE Looks Like To Me”

  • This is a pretty funny post Lily! Unfortunately I don’t dream of obesityFIRE, but I do love me some good wasabi!

    Sign me up for some of your wasabi right now. If you don’t have a list, start one. I want to be AT THE TOP.

    Seriously though, I’m kinda living a FatFIRE life right now. Probably too fat!
    Mr. Tako recently posted…Curating Filters To Become A Better Investor

  • The wasabi one was a total surprise lol Who would have thought Lily loves wasabi so much :p I can hand a little bit of it, but too much of the (fake) wasabi makes me feel like I’m going to explode!

    I’d love to have the option of having obese FIRE and then being able to choose if I want to live lean or fat FIRE lol. I want to travel the world to eat too. Whenever I watch Youtube food channels, I’ll tell Mr. FAF “I want to travel” and he’s like “Ok.” I’m pretty bad at driving, so I’d love a driverless car too. I hope it will be as affordable as a Toyota Corolla one day *grinning*
    Ms. Frugal Asian Finance recently posted…Dilemma: How Much Would You Pay For Your Spouse’s Good Sleep?

    • It’s a jam/jelly made from some wasabi, not too strong at all so I don’t think I need acres of it. I probably overstated that farm cost by $200K!!

      I second Toyota coming out with their technology!

  • Better let me know when that Wasabi plantation is up and running!

    As for driverless cars, does no-one like road trips anymore? (Driving manual is always fun too down winding roads) Fun fact, here in the UK, people around my age (20’s) and younger are less inclined to get licenses. I wonder if it’s the same in the USA?

    I can’t really imagine spending £200k/year on a consistent basis after all the basics are covered. Eventually, the old saying “more money, more problems” becomes true. 😯

    • I love roadtrips!! I totally want to drive across the US, go to the south for some BBQ 🙂 the problem is I know no one that likes to drive 10 hours+ a day. Or else I’d totally go with my doggie 🙂

      I thought it was pretty easy to blow $200k!! Lol you should try it Will, for science xD

  • If you are like us then even if you could afford obese fire lifestyle you’ll never spend that much. We could safely withdraw six figures plus but even spending all we want in retirement we barely spend my side gig income and our withdrawal rate has sat at zero for the last three years.

  • The wasabi farm, omg!!! I love this! I’ve also been thinking about what our FI would look like. It’s kind of crazy, I just keep planning it and can’t get a 9-to-5 routine out of my head. D’oh! Either way, having the time on your hands helps you sort out priorities quickly.

    You rock that wasabi, girl!
    Mrs. Picky Pincher recently posted…What A Frugal Weekend! April 29

  • You’re killin me Lily, absolutely hilarious. Do you drink before you write these posts? You’re style reminds me of a friend who could just GO after a few vodka-tonics.

    I’m like you in that I have pretty much what I want. So if I tired morbidly-obese FIRE it might just get scaled back to “bariatric surgery'” FIRE.

  • I’m surprised about the legacy. I’m indifferent with that. We’ll make sure our kid get a good education and maybe help out a bit when he starts working. But leaving a legacy, that’s not on our todo list. If there’s anything left, then he’s welcome to it. But don’t count on it. He should find his own fortune and make his way in life.

    I’d love to have an estate too, but it will be in Hawaii. The PNW is too cold and wet for us now. It’ll be more like a collection of tiny homes/huts with a central area to cook, eat, and socialize.
    Thanks for the mention!
    Joe @ Retire by 40 recently posted…April 2018 Goals and Financial Update

    • Responsible words Joe! I think our basis is the same. I want them to make it through life/adulthood on their own but I really want them to know I’ve got their backs if they wanted to pursue something that…like art or blogging that might not be profitable at all. I just want them to have no excuses on the financial side if they did have an unprofitable passion. Plus, I want them to look up at me and Jared and be proud of us/our contribution to the world in whatever silly way. I don’t know…I’m not a parent yet, I might be coming off crazy.

      Ohhhhh and you already have a legacy by the way 🙂 just like Sam! Retire by 40 is totally generational :O 😉 I would like to stay at your Hawaii rental one day, that would be so fun!!!

  • I want to travel first class everywhere. And hire people to do my yard and plant pretty ornamental gardens. Unfortunately I’m not as frugal as you so the rest of the list sounds like my actual life. (Not turning down the thermostat that much, eating out a bit each month, housekeeper). I like the idea of private school, though. My kids have learning disabilities so public school is tough. But yeah, resiliency. Private school in Chile? Hmmm…
    [email protected] recently posted…Your Complete Guide to Location Independence for Families

    • Waiiiiiiit, I did write a paragraph about an open dog rescue called Graceland…but I deleted it because this post was getting long. DARN IT – I should have put that in!!!

  • I love reading about these plans! Two things I would say:

    1. Good help is hard to find. We’re all a little crazy in some way. But hiring help is a way to let a whole different brand of crazy in the building. Be careful! I speak from experience 😊

    2. I might add a whole line item for unknown healthcare costs. I’m hoping and praying that our healthcare system can get straightened out. But it doesn’t hurt to be over prepared. I got sick over a year ago and it’s really messing with our plans. We have great insurance now. But what happens when we FIRE?

    Good luck!

    • Haha, that’s sage wisdom Nichole! 🙂 If healthcare is still a poo poo fest then I might have to kiss good help AND wasabi goodbye. My husband worries about insurance too, if there are medical issues, the RE in FIRE might not even happen. Scary…!

  • Number 6 is a gem, wrapped in a diamond, coated with gold dust. Especially loved the following:

    “I’m foreseeing a lot more coming struggles among the public education sector but my reasoning for them TO attend public school has nothing to do with education quality. It has to do with living in the real world…You also don’t witness as many peer mistakes. But mistakes are good. If they’re going to make mistakes: I want them to do it early, witness disaster early and learn when they’re young…I want them to be fearless and I don’t want to coddle them. Resilience is important.”

    Great read there. Thanks.

  • Your comment on once you have been frugal, spending is not as easy rings true. We spend like leanFIRE, but have the resources to moFIRE. It’s tough changing your ways!

    We too want to leave a legacy, but, more a tribute to parents and family no longer with us. A scholarship fund, charitable fund, sponsoring a small park with the family name.

    • “A scholarship fund, charitable fund, sponsoring a small park with the family name.”

      Yes all of that too! Great additions especially the park idea. We’re gonna…need more money!! :O darn it now the list is even longer!!! 😆😆

  • i love me some wasabi! once i cooked a pork loin wrapped in nori with some wasabi and soy. fusion! it was like a pork sushi roll. fat fired i would go to chez panise in berkeley more often.

  • Why is a legacy important to you if you feel your hypothetical kid should pay half for their college education? How about just leaving half a legacy? Wouldn’t leaving a legacy take away from their “skin in the game” in life?

    • Legacy and college are unrelated – legacy and kids are also unrelated to “skin in the game.” They’re 3 different topics that touch upon each other but doesn’t have to affect each other.

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