I have a secret — every remote worker can reach financial independence and retire early (FIRE) in five years or less, before turning 30, 40, or 50. How? By working multiple remote jobs at once. Like the FIRE concept, OE (Overemployed) is a ‘radical’ new way to think about achieving financial freedom.
In this post, I’ll explain why OE is a smarter way to reach FIRE, and how you can become financially independent in less time and with more satisfaction.
FIRE herd mentality – too much scrimping, not enough earning
If you break down the biggest barriers to achieving FIRE, it comes down to how much money you earn sustainably over the years. But the FIRE herd mentality is to shame people into spending less and saving more, a lot more. No, you can’t buy that latte you wanted.
The FIRE herd’s assumption is 1 job, 1 median income, and it’s not possible to 2-3x your income. But it’s just so unappealing to cheapskate your way to FIRE.
Rather than following the herd, you can earn your way to FIRE (imagine that!). Hear me out. You don’t need to eat rice and beans and bike while your friends drive. Stop annoying your friends, get OE instead.
After reading The Magic of Thinking Big, I realized the solution to my FIRE misery is right in front of my face—get another remote job and don’t quit my other job (J1). That’s how I ended up doubling and then tripling my income and living the OE lifestyle. This step function change will enable you to reach FIRE in five years or less and make the journey more fun and fulfilling.
OE is uber taboo and controversial ‘excusitis’
When Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez wrote and published “Your Money or Your Life” in 1992, it sparked a new way of thinking about life and money. The book, unsurprisingly, got lambasted for its unconventional thinking. “Early financial freedom, impossible,” the skeptics cried.
At the time, Joe and Vicki had reached Lean FIRE, and the rest was history. Today, FIRE is mainstream because people, when given enough bite-size evidence, are allowed to change their minds!
The same will happen with OE. While many OE critics today claim OE is unethical or is considered wage ‘theft’, over time the same cognitive bias—the tendency for the human brain to simplify information through pre-existing experiences—will dissipate and minds will change.
Instead of me trying to convince you OE is the way, all I’ll say for now is, if you haven’t tried OE, how would you know? Life is hard enough as-is, so I’d rather not play this game of life on hard mode. Get OE, and live a happier life.
OE is the most efficient way to reach Fat or Coast FIRE, if financial independence retiring early is what you want
Now think of yourself as a startup, You Inc. Startups usually burn a lot of cash to generate +100% revenue growth year-over-year. So what’s You Inc.’s best strategy to generate +100% incremental income growth?
Strategy #1: Climb the vertical career ladder (traditional, a bit worn out)
We are all guilty of having tried this strategy—it’s what we were taught in school. Work hard, get ahead. Wrong! This strategy might have worked for some, but others like yours truly also drew the short end of the stick. It’s a risky strategy because you’re depending on a single source of income and the good graces of the boss and the boss’s boss. Timing and luck also play a role, like not getting hit by a recession and layoffs.
But despite the risks, you’ve made it to become a big-shot VP or C-level. But how many nights and weekends did you work to get there? My point is that everything has a price. Like startup investing, the price is money burned to acquire customers. For the vertical career climber, the price is time. How much time did you trade to get promoted again and again to reach Fat FIRE of $10M-plus net worth? Did you even get there? The beauty of OE is the certainty of the numbers.
Strategy #2: Start a side hustle or buy a small business
Similar to #1, the initial upfront investment is high, since acquiring new customers and getting the word out is, quite frankly, time-consuming and expensive. Invariably, this semi-traditional route also leads to overworking and burnout.
Strategy #3: Interview for another full-time remote job, aka OE
Admittedly, I’ve tried #1 and #2 with minor successes. Learn from my trial and error, go with #3 OE which is the most efficient and risk-adjusted way to reach FIRE. Just step up to the plate and interview for a job like you’d always done. Get a new job, ‘forget’ to quit J1, and 2x your income. It’s that simple. Now, how about that J3?
OE math and how you’re guaranteed to reach Coast or Fat FIRE
As a FIRE practitioner, I’ve worked multiple jobs for years. My system is to treat myself and spend all of my J1 (Job #1) income while saving the rest from J2 and J3. I’d then invest all my savings into income-producing and appreciating assets, e.g. index funds, stocks, and real estate.
Over time, these assets begin to produce meaningful passive income, and soon you’re in this virtuous OE cycle turbo-boosting your time to reach FI (financial independence).
By following this “live within J1 income and save and invest the rest” method, the math guarantees you’ll reach some form of FI in 5 to 7 years.
Below I’ll share an example with real numbers.
Sidenote: I assume you’re starting with no debt except a mortgage. But even if you’re in deep debt, OE can help you save aggressively and pay off debt fast in one year or less. Just ask those who have achieved this feat in our Discord community.
A hypothetical example for those still on the fence about OE FIRE
Let’s assume you save 50% of your J1 income today and your total OE income is the same across J1, J2, and J3 at $100,000 a piece.
So, without OE, you’re saving $50K with J1 each year. Over a 20-year period, without any compounding from investing, you’d have saved $1M.
Note: for simplicity’s sake, we’re leaving out taxes which is another topic itself.
But now with OE, you can spend all the J1 income and save $200K per year from J2 and J3 following our “live within J1 income and save and invest J2+” method. OE allows you to 3x your annual savings. Instead of hitting $1M in 20 years, you can now reach $1M in 5 years. OE significantly shortens your time to Coast FIRE.
The numbers just don’t lie. With OE, you can reach Coast FIRE in less than 5 years and Fat OE FIRE in 7 to 10 years, depending on variables like total income, expenses, and investing performance (though the latter has a smaller impact due to the short time horizon).
Lean or Barista FIRE is purgatory, OE gets you out to Coast or Fat FIRE
We might not have FU money, but our bosses better be careful in how they talk to us.Anonymous OE Discord member
The problem with Lean or Barista FIRE is, again, a reduced income and quality of life relative to the time and effort to OE and get to Coast or Fat FIRE fast.
Moreover, with OE, you get to enjoy life a bit more with your whole J1 income – which by the way also comes with healthcare, 401K, and other benefits like a Barista FIRE would. Think of all the things you’ve always wanted to do but can’t or won’t because it’d derail your FIRE plan. Now you can go do them with OE-to-FIRE.
Now I’m not saying don’t be frugal. You 100% should get the best value for your money. I’m just saying, you don’t need to deprive yourself of the finer things in life just to get to the end destination of FIRE. With OE, you can have your cake and eat it too. Forget about Lean or Barista FIRE.
Your future financially independent retired early self will thank you
The Pandemic and full-remote work experiment has changed our view of the meaning of work, life, and money. We realized life can be short, and that achieving financial independence retire early might not be the most important goal, but rather we want to live a good and purposeful life every day. Smell the roses along the way, as my father once told me. OE allows you to do both.
We know it’s a bit counterintuitive, but having multiple remote jobs gives you options. You can choose to dial up and down your Js and stress levels as they suit your life situation. Draw boundaries. No more overworking. No more night meetings, No more crazy working hours. Spend more time with family and kids. Isn’t that the good life everyone wants?
Along the way, you’ll become financially independent and retire early in no time.