• For 11 months straight, over 4 million Americans have quit their jobs each month.
  • Some workers are taking the FILE approach, which stands for Financial Independence, Live Early.
  • These workers, like some in The Great Resignation, are prioritizing personal fulfillment over money.

Many people look forward to retirement — but some workers don't want to have to wait decades to be able to enjoy their day-to-day life, even if that means scaling back in some areas and working longer.

That's where the so-called FILE approach, which stands for Financial Independence, Live Early, comes in. It's a growing contender to the popular FIRE movement, which stands for Financial Independence, Retire Early.

Coined by Live, Learn, Plan and Childfree Wealth founder Jay Zigmont, the FILE approach is about having financial independence, and being able to balance work with the life one expects to have after retirement. 

"FIRE is like an on-off switch for work, but FILE is a dimmer switch," Zigmont said. "It's about having that right amount of work, not 'I want to bust my butt for 25 years, get the watch, and retire.'"

Zigmont said he came up with the FILE approach after a growing number of his clients, most of whom neither have children nor plan to have children, said they had no plans to retire. 

"I have people in their 20s and 30s talking about, how do they change their jobs in their life, rather than waiting until their sixties to retire," Zigmont said. 

For these people, Zigmont said FILE is a better approach, because it's not all focused on retirement and what happens after.

"The core of it, is finding work that's meaningful, or meaning in life," Zigmont said. "For example, if somebody wants to quit their job and go start a cupcake shop, they can do that."

Workers wanting to find more meaning in life and work is not a new narrative. For a year now, millions of Americans have quit their jobs each month — either in pursuit of better jobs, or because they realized passion is more important than a paycheck.

The latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that 4.4 million Americans quit their jobs in April 2022 — marking an 11-month streak of over 4 million people leaving their jobs each month.

The wave of resignations may not end soon either. According to a report from the research firm Gartner, annual employee turnover "is likely to jump nearly 20% this year." Before the pandemic, the annual average of people quitting their jobs was 31.9 million. In 2022, that number is expected to be 37.4 million.

Like a job resignation, taking the FILE approach can come with its challenges. Zigmont also pointed out that the FILE approach is not applicable to everyone, like people who have children.

"I haven't seen parents in their 30s going, 'I can live the FILE lifestyle,'" Zigmont said about his few clients that are parents. "But it may be later on in life."

While the FILE approach looks different for everyone, it's about finding the right combination between making enough money to be comfortable, and enjoying what one does everyday, Zigmont said.

"If you decide, 'Hey, I want to live my life early,' you might be sacrificing what could have been a more comfortable retirement," Zigmont said. "The other thing that is implicit in that FILE concept is, you might be giving up career progression a little bit, but for a better life."

Read the original article on Business Insider