How To Know If You Are Ready For Early Retirement


My FIRE Prowess Score. A Personal Finance Junkie's report card for financial independence / retire early. Learn how to calculate your own FIRE Prowess Score. A couple of months ago, The Green Swan shared a new concept that allows Personal Finance Junkies like you and I to measure our progress towards FIRE (Financial Independence / Retire Early), the Swan FIRE Prowess Gauge.

Although I don’t talk a lot about early retirement here (mainly because I love my job but also because I’m laser focused on eliminating my six figure student loan debt right now), it is a concept that I am becoming interested in as I enjoy learning about all things personal finance.

The Green Swan defines FIRE Prowess as the change in your net worth, divided by your gross income. Your FIRE Prowess score can be calculated for any given time period (which is really cool).

FIRE Prowess = Change In Net Worth / Gross Income

If you are on the FIRE path the FIRE Prowess Gauge is a brilliant way to track your progress and compare your efforts to other people with similar goals.

How The FIRE Prowess Gauge Works

The Green Swan designed the gauge to be a general measurement and independent of income level.

The metric was also designed to indicate how “efficient” your spending habits are compared to your net worth.

It differs from savings rate in that it accounts for what you do with the money that you save (i.e. investments).

Therefore, the better you are at earning, saving and investing, the better your FIRE Prowess will be.

This also gives you clear goals to work on to move towards FIRE (other than spend less than you earn).

The Green Swan recommends calculating your FIRE Prowess over a period of at least 5 years (due to the natural tendency of investments to fluctuate) to get a more accurate picture of your FIRE Prowess.

Taken straight from (here’s how to interpret your scores):

If over the last 5 years your FIRE Prowess is:

  • Negative or 0.0x– Not even on the path toward retirement, let alone FIRE. If you aren’t saving and investing any money and your net worth isn’t growing then it is time to make some changes and develop positive financial habits. It may be a change to a frugal lifestyle or getting an advance degree to take the next step in your career.
  • 0x to 0.25x– You’re conscious of your retirement and know you should plan for it, but early retirement may not be on your radar at this point.
  • .25x to 0.50x– You’ve got the ball rolling and you’re certainly trying! Keep investing wisely, perhaps add a side-hustle or few lifestyle tweaks to lower expenses and FIRE can be within your grasp.
  • .50x to 0.75x– You’re working hard toward your retirement goals! Early retirement is definitely possible. Keep working hard and that investment snowball will be rolling (compounding) in no time!
  • .75x to 1.0x– FIRE is on your mind and you are performing in overdrive right now!
  • 0x and over– You are killing it! Don’t make any stupid mistakes and FIRE will be within your grasp in no time. In this scenario, your net worth is more than your lifetime earnings which Joe at Retire By 40 recently wrote about. This is certainly a tough milestone to reach, but maybe one day I can make this claim!

One note that might be worth noting at this point is that the Swan FIRE Prowess Gauge is a tool for those still on the road to FIRE and earning a wage. The calc gets skewed once you are retired and no longer pulling in a working wage; plus your numerator will be screwy depending on how much you withdraw, etc.

How’s My FIRE Prowess?

After crunching my numbers I discovered that my FIRE Prowess is actually better than I would have guessed.

 Year FIRE Prowess
2016 0.28
2017 (YTD) 0.31
Lifetime 0.29


With a lifetime FIRE Prowess score of 29%, I am in the “you’ve got the ball rolling’” range which is a great place to be. I attribute my scores to two things: (1) my forced, automated retirement savings and (2) my focus on eliminating debt. Both of these things have helped to consistently increase my net-worth over the past few years.

What I Think About FIRE And The FIRE Prowess Gauge

Like I said before, eliminating my student loan debt is priority numero uno in my financial life right now so in order to maintain the focus that is required to crush six-figure debt I can’t even begin to think about financial independence and early retirement.

I do however appreciate the personal finance community bringing awareness to wide array of possibilities that await once I conquer the debt freedom portion of my journey.

I absolutely love the FIRE Prowess Gauge and I will continue to calculate mine.

Remember, FIRE Prowess = Change In Net Worth / Gross Income.

Part of my strategy for eliminating debt is to consistently increase my income.  Although my savings rate is pretty much non-existent at this point my net-worth will continue to increase as I eliminate debt.

So, while I’m not focused on FIRE perse, I do expect my FIRE Prowess score to increase by leaps and bounds over the next few years which will put me in a good position to begin a FIRE journey (if I chose to) once I am debt free.

Calculate your progress to FIRE (financial independence / retire early) and compare your scores to these top personal finance bloggers. The Official FIRE Prowess Score Chain:

What’s your FIRE Prowess Score?


  1. Glad to hear you’re a fan of the FIRE Prowess Gauge! And pretty good score for not even focusing on FIRE. Keep crushing debt and you’ll flip the script on your net worth soon enough. Thanks for sharing!