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Playing with FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early)

How Far Would You Go for Financial Freedom?
Narrated by: Scott Rieckens
Length: 4 hrs and 37 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (163 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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

©2019 Scott Rieckens (P)2019 Scott Rieckens

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Unrelatable and nauseatingly privileged

Do you make 120k after taxes, have a $300 boat club membership every month, never had any debt, drive two leased new cars and have family that let's you crash at their place rent free for months at a time? Me neither.

The book is about a couple, rather impulsively jumping into fire without stopping to ask why or whether it would work for them (they do on a surface level, but they don't seem to derive conviction from these questions). After jumping headlong into decreasing exorbitant expenses such as spending hundreds of dollars having drinks with friends in a single night, or leasing sports cars that "were a great deal", they falter and crumble anytime a friend or family member questions their decision. In fact, after they've moved into her parent's basement (can it get more privileged millennial?) they have an existential crisis about whether they've ruined their lives (at this point they have several hundred thousand dollars in net worth if I remember correctly). And it goes on, and on.

This book teaches almost nothing about what FIRE is. Go read MrMoneyMustache or Early Retirement Extreme (Especially the book), Walden, Your Money or Your Life, or A Simple Path to Wealth. All of these dive into the how, why, and what of FIRE. Skip this book if you want to learn how to apply FIRE principles to your life.

I'm actually looking forward to the documentary because I desperately want to relate to anything about these people. I hope that the people they interview give a much stronger message of the principles of FIRE and the why of the movement than the author did.

19 of 20 people found this review helpful

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Missed the point completely

I was interested to be inspired by a family embracing the fire movement. I think the author missed the point completely. Furthermore there is little relatable information. You are sucked in by the struggles of the family and so hopefully to learn about effective strategies and relatable hardships but in the end there is about a paragraph of relatable information. I wish there had been a better story about a more relatable family who lives and are an example of the fire movement.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Covers the basics

Overall a great intro to FIRE. If people are just starting out this is a good place as it talks about some of the mental struggles of living a frugal life to attain financial independence and the basic steps involved.

It IS a story of their journey thus far. It is NOT a guide for how to implement FIRE in one's life.

I'm looking forward to the movie.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • A
  • 04-10-19

Great personal story on path to Financial Independence

I highly recommend this story of a family who awakes from Consumerism and realizes they can retire 20 years earlier if they live differently.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Lisa
  • BALTIMORE, MD, United States
  • 06-14-19

Amazing!

Book is about a family changing their lives to be financially independent sooner. Great story & great delivery. Really relatable. Love that it was read by the author. Loved hearing about their journey & also the end when he shared the journey of others, including less privileged journeys.

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FIRE up

Exhiliratingly Calming. Daily living on your terms not what everybody else says. Couldn't put down.

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Good Book about fi

Author does a good job in explaining FI and on starting the process to FI
It’s simple and sweet

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Same details about FIRE; different context

I liked hearing Scott's story and hearing how he made the documentary. If you have followed FIRE you'll quickly hear the same old details, but what's different is Scott and Taylor's story.

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Good book that goes over the basics

I thought this was a good book, well written and shows that FIRE is subjective. I am excited to watch the documentary.

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Excellent

I am going to start FIRE...Single FIRE Starter that will be me. Excellent story and relatable

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  • Mads Jensen
  • 04-27-19

Hot air

This is a book about one man's (and his wife's) worries about what other people think of him.
The most telling point is when the main couple's frugal friends don't fall over backwards with admiration for the main couple's enthusiasm for FIRE. The frugal friends ask how exactly you become independent by being dependent on living rent free with your parents. Rather than address this legitimate question, the author and his wife agree that maybe they should just hang out with people who are like them. Classic millenial preferring the echo chamber to real discussion.
My favorite FIRE book by far is still The Simple Path to Wealth.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • slipperychimp
  • 05-01-19

Good intro to FIRE

I heard about FIRE on a random Podcast and thought I would check it out. It was a great introduction, although I laughed when I just saw the other review, because yes, it is a book about how Scott and his wife worry about what other people think of them. However, it's highlighting situations that you may also encounter on your 'fire journey'. I got a lot from it since it was the first book I'd listened to on the subject, I especially liked the practical formulas, so you know how much as a percentage of your earnings you should be targeting to save or invest. You know how much you need before you can 'retire'. You know what this translates to in terms of years left working your b*llshit job.