Playing with FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early): How Far Would You Go for Financial Freedom? Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
What if a happier life was only a few simple choices away?
A successful entrepreneur living in Southern California, Scott Rieckens had built a “dream life”: a happy marriage, a two-year-old daughter, a membership to a boat club, and a BMW in the driveway. But underneath the surface, Scott was creatively stifled, depressed, and overworked trying to help pay for his family’s beach-town lifestyle. Then one day, Scott listened to a podcast interview that changed everything. Five months later, he had quit his job, convinced his family to leave their home, and cut their expenses in half. Follow Scott and his family as they devote everything to FIRE (financial independence retire early), a subculture obsessed with maximizing wealth and happiness. Filled with inspiring case studies and powerful advice, Playing with FIRE is one family’s journey to acquire the one thing that money can’t buy: a simpler - and happier - life.
Based on the documentary
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|Listening Length||4 hours and 37 minutes|
|Audible.com Release Date||January 18, 2019|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #15,353 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#22 in Retirement Planning (Audible Books & Originals)
#57 in Money Management & Budgeting
#115 in Retirement Planning (Books)
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This book is supposed to be for people of all income levels. There are few good examples of lower-income FIRE people (p. 45, p.69) and the author does address: "Is Fire Only For Rich People?" (p. 6). But I just personally couldn't relate to the author at all.
At the beginning of his journey, he and his wife are in their mid-thirties, making $142,000 annually AFTER taxes (p. 8), they have gone to college, left school with minimal debt, and avoided credit card debt (p. 9), and already had $190,000 in savings (p. 54). They leased two cars, including a BMW, and belonged to a boat club. Even after they "cut back" and are on their journey to FIRE, they are still living a kind of life that I could only dream about!
In their journey to FIRE, they also seem to have a ridiculous amount of freedom. For example, they leave home and go on a yearlong trip to "see family and friends, explore new cities, and have fun" which includes stops at Spokane, Seattle, Boise, Bend, Fort Collins, and Hawaii (p. 83) They also go to Ecuador and spend $5,000 to go to a FIRE conference (p. 121)
Frankly, I can't relate to this at all. I'm not sure how many other people can, either. And the funny thing, is I'm not that different from the author. I'm in late-30's, which is comparable to, if not a little older than, the author. I live in a very similar HCOL area, also in California, like the author.
But that's where the similarities end. The author had an amazing job - "my job consisted of being flown around the West Coast to support events like the NBA and MLB All-Star games, the Sundance Film Festival, music festivals, and so on." (p. 13) On the other hand, I have a Master's degree and I am working in my chosen field, which mostly involves sitting at a desk all day behind a computer and doing a lot of paperwork. I earn 7 hours of vacation a month and I don't have the option to telework; there's no way I could just take off for a year like the author did. My after-tax income is $37,000 a year. My rent and utilities for a standard (not a luxury) one-bedroom apartment are $22,000 a year. Then there's my car payment, student loan payment, and all the usual cost of living expenses.
I love the FIRE movement, but I'm not sure it works for most people. When you can only save, at best, a few thousand dollars a year, it's hard not to get resentful at books like these. For those who are of more modest means, I recommend "How to Retire Early: Your Guide to Getting Rich Slowly and Retiring on Less" by Robert and Robin Charlton. Their book lays out some 15 and 20-year plans for retirement.
Coming from my own background as someone feverishly paying down debt after struggling in a daze for years, I found it the perfect mix of story and facts, and more than anything, both encouraging and hopeful. I don’t know where I’ll end up on my own journey, but Scott’s words definitely gave me the boost I needed as I climb out of my own financial hole to work towards something bigger, more secure, and life-giving.
Needless to say, I cannot wait for the documentary.
(From Frugal Fuyanger on IG)