Last month, the New York Times published an article titled For These Women, a FIRE That Burns Too Male and Too White.
The thesis is that the FIRE movement (Financial Independence, Retire Early) centers white male voices—especially white men who got their start in the tech industry—and focuses on strategies that aren’t as applicable to everyone else.
“When I first started looking at the FIRE blogs, it was a bit of a culture shock,” says Mrs. Saunders, 34, a marketing director in Atlanta. “As a black American and as a woman, I knew that I wouldn’t be able to replicate exactly what they did.”
Kristy Shen and Bryce Leung’s new book, Quit Like a Millionaire: No Gimmicks, Luck, or Trust Fund Required provides a much-needed non-white-male perspective on financial independence. As Shen explains, in the book’s introduction:
Growing up, I was told that because I was born poor, didn’t speak English, and had the wrong skin color, the opportunities open to other kids weren’t open to me. I wanted to get rich, travel the world, and write books for a living. Those dreams simply would never come true, the haters said.
The haters were wrong.
In addition to her own story, Shen highlights other individuals who built financial stability out of difficult circumstances (such as spending ten years in prison). One of the book’s goals is to make financial independence possible for people who don’t feel like they can replicate the typical FI narrative.
That said, the practical steps of achieving financial independence are essentially identical to what’s presented in every FI book: build your skills, increase your earnings, manage your spending, invest in low-cost index funds, get excited about tax optimization. (Quit Like a Millionaire has some of the best writing on tax optimization I’ve found, and I’d recommend the book for those chapters alone.)
It’s the framework—and the intended audience—that’s different this time around, and that’s what’s important.
I received an advance copy of Quit Like a Millionaire and would highly recommend it to anyone interested in financial independence. If you want to learn more about Kristy Shen and Bryce Leung, you can check out their work at Millennial Revolution, where they have a whole section of the site devoted to “can I FI with kids,” “can I FI on a low income,” “can I FI and still get healthcare,” etc.
Because there’s more than one kind of FI story out there, and we need to be sharing as many of those stories as possible. ❤️