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Playing with FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early)

How Far Would You Go for Financial Freedom?

By Scott Rieckens
10-minute read
Audio available
Playing with FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early): How Far Would You Go for Financial Freedom? by Scott Rieckens

Playing with FIRE (2019) takes a look at the growing movement known as FIRE, or Financial Independence, Retire Early. With a detailed account of the author’s own life-changing journey and examples of diverse FIRE devotees, it reveals ways in which you can change your spending and investing habits to pursue your passions and live a more meaningful life.

  • Anyone interested in early retirement
  • Finance buffs
  • Amazon addicts living from paycheck to paycheck

Scott Rieckens is an Emmy-nominated producer, author, and entrepreneur. Before pursuing FIRE, he produced films and videos for the likes of WIRED, Facebook, and NBC. He recently completed a documentary about his experience in the FIRE movement called Playing with FIRE.

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Playing with FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early)

How Far Would You Go for Financial Freedom?

By Scott Rieckens
  • Read in 10 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 6 key ideas
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Playing with FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early): How Far Would You Go for Financial Freedom? by Scott Rieckens
Synopsis

Playing with FIRE (2019) takes a look at the growing movement known as FIRE, or Financial Independence, Retire Early. With a detailed account of the author’s own life-changing journey and examples of diverse FIRE devotees, it reveals ways in which you can change your spending and investing habits to pursue your passions and live a more meaningful life.

Key idea 1 of 6

Scott Rieckens felt trapped by his unsustainable lifestyle, until he discovered FIRE.

Most people work until their mid-sixties. They see it as the normal thing to do, because without the security of a full pension, early retirement may be an inconceivable notion. But when you take a look at what people are working for, something doesn’t add up.

Whereas consumer culture demands that people overwork themselves for unnecessary luxuries, FIRE advocates a frugal lifestyle, freeing up valuable time for focusing on the important things in life.

In 2016, the author, Scott Rieckens, took a job as a creative director to bolster his family’s “perfect” beachtown lifestyle in Coronado, California. At the same time, he and his wife Taylor felt they needed luxuries like their expensive Vitamix blender or eating out on a nightly basis.

With a combined annual income of $142,000 after taxes, the couple felt that they were doing well enough financially that they could afford these luxuries. And besides, weren’t they contributing to their 401k retirement accounts all the while as well?

However, there were other major expenses looming in their future. The couple wanted to buy a house and start saving for their newborn daughter’s college fund. As the author realized how insufficient their $10,000 in annual savings really was, he began to despair. Would he have to stick to his new salaried position for the rest of his career just to afford these necessities? This would also mean foregoing his entrepreneurial dreams. With no plan, he and his wife would need a big break if they wanted to change their situation.

Driving to work one February morning in 2017, Rieckens heard an interview with Mr. Money Mustache on his favorite podcast, The Tim Ferriss Show. Mr. Money Mustache, a Canadian blogger whose real name is Pete Adeney, retired near Boulder, Colorado when he was just thirty. Since then, he has developed a cult following of people looking to make financially savvy lifestyle choices so they too could retire decades early.

These “Mustachians” are part of a growing movement called FIRE, which stands for Financial Independence, Retire Early. Using a simple online retirement calculator, Scott Rieckens found that if he and his wife cut their expenses in half and invested their savings, they would actually be able to retire in just 10 years.

That day, he realized that he didn’t need a big break; he needed to change his lifestyle.

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