This documentary is a wonderful introduction to FIRE. The film portrays two normal people on their path to change their life in pursuit of financial independence. Watch the trailer here.
Playing with fire follows 35 year old Scott Rieckens, his wife Taylor, and their toddler Jovie as they embark on a year-long journey to understand the rules of this sub-culture and test their willingness to reject the standard narrative of adult life, which says: “Go to college”, take out tons of student loans, buy a new car, take on a mortgage, buy another car and lots more stuff you don’t need, then work for 40+ years to pay for it all. If you’re lucky you might be able to retire at 65 and not have to live on rice and beans.
Is this for real?
Could you actually save enough money to leave your job? Wake up weekday mornings choosing what you want to do rather than suffering through yet another workday uninspired? Becoming financially independent isn’t complicated. In fact, the math is shockingly simple. Watch the movie Playing with FIRE here. You can also read the book or listen to it here.
In this documentary “Playing with Fire” the concepts are simple. The part that is difficult is the psychology and the emotion behind why we spend money. You have to really look deep into yourself and figure out what’s important. Gaining your time back or looking FANCY? It’s a choice and anyone can work towards this.
You become financially independent by drastically Increasing your saving rate and Investing the difference. Once you start saving money, the next step toward financial independence is to invest. Thanks to inflation, money sitting in your savings account is going to be worth even less next year than it is today. People who are striving for financial independence know this and they know that the only way to be financially free is to have their money earn more through investing.
The Snowball Effect
Investing your money creates a snowball effect. Start with a small snowball of money and let it pick up more snow as it goes. This is the power of compounding interest. Small consistent actions add up over time. Let your snowball roll down the hill long enough and you’ll end up with some serious wealth. Investing doesn’t need to be complicated or time-consuming. Many in the FIRE community utilize low-cost index funds. Others invest in real estate and build a portfolio of rental homes that provide income to live off of in retirement. Investing helps you turn the money that you save into even more money. Eventually, the money that is invested will earn enough money to support you.
Pursue your passion
Keep in mind retiring does not mean sit on a beach and do nothing. It just means you have time to do what matters to you and not be a prisoner to your 9-5. Reaching financial independence is a journey but it’s a good journey to help you start living the life you want.
Your WHY Matters
One of the main things to understand and keep at the forefront of your mind is this. You need to know exactly WHY you want to be financially independent. For most people, becoming financially independent requires a massive change to both their money and their mindset. Your journey to financial independence can last years, and it’s not easy. The one thing that will keep you focused on FIRE is knowing WHY you want to be financially independent. Are you doing this to spend more time with your kids? To travel the world while you’re still young enough to enjoy it? Whatever your reason, it’s valid, but you have to be clear on your WHY. When you’re ditching some useless memberships to save $120 a month you can think about how many afternoons with your kids this will buy you.
Keeping up with the Jones
Here’s what derails us. Keeping up with the Joneses, social pressure and convenience (think ATM fees). Only you know what derails you. Is it worth it? More importantly what are we teaching our kids if this is our value system?
One of the best first places to start your journey is to understand what makes you happy. Does your BMW bring you more joy than seeking your kids grow up. Too often we fall into the trap of buying the things we think will make us happier. Going after the big house and fancy cars.
What really makes you happy
Studies show that none of that makes you happy. What actually makes you happy is prioritizing more time over more money, spending on experiences rather than things, exercising, and spending time in nature each and every day.
Let us know what you think about this FIRE movement and if you are considering making some small changes to your lifestyle.